According to new research by productivity experts Teleware, two thirds (66%) of workers say they are more productive when they work flexibly – yet many are being held back because technology is not optimised

The top reason flexible working saves workers time is not having to travel into the office, with the average worker spending 55 minutes per day commuting. Other reasons include fewer interruptions (50%), not needing to dress formally (36%), the ability to turn off distractions (34%) and not needing to answer the office phone (24%).

Steve Haworth, CEO, Teleware Group, comments: “The future of work is happening now. In August, Microsoft trialled a four-day working week in Japan. And this month Finland’s new Prime Minister Sanna Marin called for discussion of a flexible working schedule for her country. None of this would be possible without technology and significant investments are being made to keep workers connected – wherever they choose to work from.”


Many companies are still failing to make tech work for everyone

Teleware’s research – carried out among 2,016 UK flexible workers – revealed that companies are still not getting some basic technology configurations right. In fact, nearly one in five (17%) employees still experience connectivity issues when working remotely.

Part of the problem is that employees have been overloaded with technology they have not yet fully adopted or mastered. This includes instant messaging (67%), shared documents (61%), cloud-based collaboration tools (48%), video conferencing (40%) and audio conferencing (36%)​.

Haworth continues: “Digital transformation is key to encouraging productivity, engagement and collaboration. However, many companies have still not got to grips with their IT investment. Just 1% of UK businesses have productivity above 1%. Optimised technology could improve productivity, profitability and employee engagement.”


Creating a happier and more productive workforce

The research revealed just four in ten (43%) employees have received additional training or support on technologies to work more flexibly.

However, employees which have had sufficient training on flexible working technologies are five times happier (56%) at work than those who are not offered any support (11%). Trained workers are also more than twice as likely (45% compared to 18%) to say that they get more work done in the same amount of time when working flexibly.

Haworth concludes: “Setting employees up with the right tools to carry out their role is not enough. They need to feel confident using them. Companies should be prepared to deliver and embed technology change in a people-first way. Helping everyone in the organisation to fully embrace change.”