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The flexible work debate continues

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The issue of remote working continues to provoke debate, with many firms still opposed to offering this style of conducting business to employees.

However, with improved technology and a greater uptake of portable devices among companies and staff, having employees working from outside shared office spaces is more viable now than ever before, according to HR Magazine.

The website outlines a number of studies and research into flexible working, which prove how beneficial this can be for businesses of all sizes.

For example, a study by Plantronics revealed that seven in ten employees say they are more productive when given the opportunity to work flexibly and 82 per cent feel so strongly about the advantages that they believe the government should do more to implement this across all UK firms.

Reasons for wanting to work remotely are numerous, but two of the most common are to save time and money on commuting costs and spend more time with a children. The State of Flexible Working report conducted by One Poll showed that out of the 2,000 people questioned, 52 per cent say they would have more time and finances if they didn’t have to travel to work.

In addition, 48 per cent would like the chance to work from home so they can spend more time with family. Yet only 36 per cent feel their company has the appropriate tools to allow them to work away from the office.

According to Donna Miller, European human resources director for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, one of the main challenges to employers is providing enough support to staff who are not in the office every day.

“Ensuring there are reasons and opportunities for them to come to the office and spend time working with the people who support them is really important. Keep them engaged in the business through formal meetings and informal social events,” she explained.

Technology means it is now easier than ever to keep in touch with staff while they are out of the office. At the same time, smartphones and tablets let them access email and edit documents while they are on the move.