How Many SMEs Support Flexible and Remote Working?

A survey released by Interactive Intelligence this week has revealed that 50% of enterprise level businesses positively encourage flexible and remote working and claim to have a well-developed technology platform in place to support it. Yet whilst more than half of the c-level IT decision maker respondents say that they have policies in place, only 18% are moving towards a fully integrated technology offering.

The new findings reinforce the prediction made earlier in the year by the analyst firm Gartner, which believes that by 2012, 20% of businesses will own no IT assets, a trend that is in part being driven by the fact that more and more employees are operating personal desktops and notebook systems on corporate networks.

The survey, which was carried out for Interactive Intelligence by independent specialists Vanson Bourne, also showed that 43% of organisations recognise higher productivity as the key benefit to flexible working policies. Other advantages include retention of key staff and the ability to attract new and well-qualified employees (34%), reduced office costs (8%) and even faster, more responsive customer services (8%).

“The findigs confirm our belief that remote working shold be a part of every business’s long-term strategy,”

says Dave Paulding, Regional Sales Director EMEA, Interactive Intelligence.

“Flexible working is good for business, good for staff and good for the environment.”

When asked about the perceived disadvantages of a flexible working system, only 16% of organisations saw the requirement to invest in new technologies as a barrier to implementing a flexible working solution. Other perceived disadvantages of flexible and remote working included:

  • 62% felt it created limited interaction between key workers
  • 59% recognised a lack of management control over employees
  • 55% were concerned about security and confidentiality of information
  • 33% worried that employees would have concerns surrounding a lack of visibility and the impact that may have on their promotion prospects

In total, 35% of the enterprise organisations surveyed have invested in unified communications to meet employee’s IT needs wherever they are working. Yet 42% felt that while VPN and mobile phone solutions provide suitable access to data, they do not give any other significant functionality.

“There is no doubt that in order to address some of these concerns and reap the benefits, an effective technology solution is required to offer a fully integrated flexible working strategy,” concludes Paulding.

“Interactive Intelligence can provide unified communications over a single connection which link workers, wherever they are. Security can be also be layered onto the connection without impairing performance for total confidence. We even have clients working on sensitive military projects, for example.”

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