Flexible working hits the mainstream

The Governments push[1] towards a more flexible working nation is paying off with news that 90% of the UKs leading businesses now see flexible working as an established, accepted way of working. New Citrix Systems research launched as part of its inaugural Flexible Working Week[2], assessed employee and board director attitudes towards flexible working and mobile technologies.

The research revealed that a positive attitude is filtering down to staff from the boardroom. 25% of workers are actually mobile and this percentage is on the increase according to the world leader in access infrastructure.

60% of both employees and senior directors when questioned claimed that mobile technologies have been critical to the transformation of their working culture. 70% also feel mobile tools and technologies could make a significant difference to the performance and profitability of the company.

The Access UK research was carried out by independent research company Coleman Parkes on behalf of Citrix in October 2004.

Minority action
While support for mobile working is unanimous, it is very much a point solution for the lucky few rather than a strategic application for the whole workforce:
Three quarters of large organisations say pure mobile workers represent less than 20% of the workforce
50% of senior directors have now embraced mobile working and rely on mobile devices like laptops and PDAs

Meanwhile, according to board directors questioned for the research, who make decisions about strategy, the issues holding back the widespread implementation of mobile working are:
Cost (55% of respondents)
Keeping pace with new technology (52% of respondents)
Education of staff in the use of relevant technology (48% of respondents)

Applications accessed on the move
The main sources of information mobile workers currently have access to are:
1. Nearly all (95%) mobile workers have access to company email
2. Eight out of ten have access to company databases
3. 59% enjoy access to corporate file sharing systems
4. 50% can use their digital calendars
5. And one quarter can access financial applications
6. Finally, 14% said they even had access to research tools

Putting theory into practice is often the issue for most businesses when it comes to mobile working, but this research highlights a significant step forward in both the adoption of, and confidence in, flexible working, said Lewis Gee, MD of Citrix UK and Ireland. Its even more reassuring that both employees and members of the board share the same positive views about its benefits. And, while its fair to say this is still a luxury for the few and an aspiration for the masses, with innovative solutions being introduced to allow mobile working cultures and practices to develop, this will change fast.

[1] The Government introduced its Flexible Working Legislation on April 6, 2003
[2] Flexible Working Week, running for a week from November 8, 2004, aims to encourage businesses to engage with flexible working in a strategic way to benefit the business.

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