New IDC research commissioned by networking specialist Bailey Telecom found that 51% of firms have not made any formal attempts to understand the effects of flexible working on productivity.
In addition, businesses have only earmarked an average 2% of their IT budgets for investment in remote-access technologies over the coming year.
The survey also found that employees generally believe remote working is only for senior managers.
Over half the sample had never worked remotely and almost two in five were reticent about doing so. Nearly three-quarters of the sample also said they would be unlikely to use wireless hotspots because of security concerns.
In a statement, Graham Iliff, Bailey’s technology and marketing director, said: ‘There is a lot of hype about wireless and flexible working, and the benefits are universally agreed, but there are still many cultural barriers that need to be overcome before we can really see it change our working lives.’
The survey also found the public sector was more open to change than private businesses.
A fifth of public-sector staff work remotely every day – twice the level found in private-sector firms.
The discrepancy is perhaps not surprising given the government’s efforts to promote the benefits of both flexible working and new technology through initiatives such as last April’s Flexible Working Directive.
‘The private sector is usually perceived as being more innovative but it seems that the public sector has been quicker to exploit the benefits gained from the huge investments in IT the government is making,’ Iliff told VNU News Centre.
He added: ‘Flexible working options can help business attract and retain top-calibre employees. Many people are looking to improve their work-life balance and a more contented workforce is a more productive one. There are also many cost savings to made in terms of reduced absenteeism, real estate and operating costs.’
The survey was conducted among 100 decision-makers and 100 workers from organisations representing a wide range of sectors and sizes.
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