Negative Attitudes Towards Remote Working are Holding Back UK Businesses

Negative Attitudes Towards Remote Working are Holding Back UK Businesses says Sanjay Parekh of WebExpenses.comThere’s no doubt that our lives are getting busier. In fact, we often find ourselves in an ongoing battle to fit everything into our hectic day – whether its aspects of our work or home life.  Luckily, huge advances in cloud technology now mean that many of us can gain a greater work/life balance by working remotely.

Cloud computing gives employees the option of working from home instead of forking out excessive amounts for season tickets and wasting hours on the daily commute. Also, when you consider that introducing remote working can significantly reduce overhead costs, you ask – why aren’t more managers using it?

However, despite the benefits there is still a stigma in many businesses attached to remote or virtual working. What’s more, I believe that these negative attitudes could in fact be holding back the UK PLC, and that a simple change of culture is needed in offices across the nation.

Having recently conducted our own survey on remote working, we found that a quarter of UK bosses admitted their organisation viewed employees who ask to work from home negatively. This might not sound like a large proportion to some, but in an age when technology allows each of us to be in constant touch with each other, this statistic seems quite worrying.  Just as surprising is the fact that a third of employees are actually worried that their boss will see them in a bad light if they ask to work remotely.

Interestingly, nearly 40% of bosses in our survey actually said that mobile working has a positive impact on their bottom line. Also nearly a third (33%) of employees felt they actually do more work at home than in the office with a further 49% saying that they would achieve a greater work/life balance if they were allowed to work from the comfort of their own home. With this in mind, it begs to be asked why there is still negativity towards mobile working on the part of some of the UK’s businesses.

What is needed is a break from the traditions of the normal working day and the confines of the orthodox office space. With all of this said, I do however appreciate that some managers are nervous at the thought of embracing remote working styles for their organisation. However, by firstly educating themselves as to technologies like cloud computing, they can quickly discover the real business advantages they are missing out on.

There are a huge number of cloud-based products and services out there that can help to release these benefits. In fact, it was exactly for these reasons that webexpenses recently developed an app for smartphones and tablet devices to make it easier for businesses to make savings via its web based expenses platform.

What’s more, I believe the adoption of mobile working in any organisation comes down to trust.  In fact, this question is something that we looked at in our survey.  The results showed that a huge 77.4% of bosses said that they would actually trust their employees when it comes to out of office working. The fact that there is a strong degree of trust between employers and their workforce shows the great potential that exists for more mobile working in UK businesses.

Perhaps you’re thinking that it’s all very well and good for me to be eulogising about the benefits of mobile working for UK businesses. However, webexpenses has been reaping the business benefits of it since 2007 when we decided to close our London office.  With this in mind, we very much practice what we preach on a daily basis.

As well as saving ourselves huge business overheads in the form of rent for costly office space (a 15% saving to be exact), we have also developed a company which has a great attitude to work/life culture. In fact this has helped us to become more productive and has even enabled us to continually grow at a time when many companies have found the going tough as the result of economic conditions.

It’s fair to say that our own leap into the world of 100% mobile working via cloud technology is certainly not something we would expect every company to introduce. However, there are some distinct advantages to working via the cloud, which every UK company can utilize aspects of. In fact, I’m a firm believer that cloud technology can be used by all businesses in some shape or form to help them move forward, especially at a time when the UK is coming out of a period of unprecedented economic change. Even if you don’t take mobile working as far as we have, you can easily draw on elements of it to improve the flexibility, and happiness of your current staff.

Sanjay Parekh is the Managing Director of WebExpenses.

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