Vodafone survey reveals the rapid adoption and benefits of flexible working
In their report Flexible: Friend or Foe? Businesses from all over the world overwhelmingly believed performance had been enhanced through the adoption of flexible working.
Performing one of the largest global businesses surveys, Vodafone polled over 8000 companies worldwide the sheer scale of flexible working acceptance was astonishing with adoption sparking benefits across multiple aspects of the business.
A staggering 83% reported an improvement in productivity, with 61% having seen their companies profits increase since implementing flexible working within their business. Flexible working was also seen as a positive image enforcer with 58% believing that having a flexible work policy added positively to their organisations reputation.
Flexible working has been a topic of hot contention amongst businesses with the UK Government legislating the employee's right to request flexible working as early as 2014. Adoption had been slow however Vodafone attributes the "rapid adoption of high-speed mobile data services, fixed-line broadband and cloud services is playing an integral role in this workplace revolution". With 24% using a mobile data connection via a device or dongle for work applications this adoption has been powered not only through the business sector but predominantly through consumer products, with 61% of respondents using their home broadband connection.
The remaining companies (20%) that had failed to implement a flexible working strategy showed that there generally were no technological barriers to adopting a flexible working scheme but rather one of attitude, culture and beliefs with
- 33% saying they believed it would not suit the culture of their organisation;
- 30% concerned about friction between employees working flexibly and those who did not do so;
- 25% believing that work would be unfairly distributed between flexible and non-flexible groups of employees; and
- 22% believing employees would not work as hard if allowed to adopt flexible working patterns and technologies.
These attitudes persisted it seemed despite full acknowledgement of the benefits that would come with such schemes, with 55% agreeing that the employee morale would improve, 44% believing productivity would improve and a staggering 30% believing even profits would increase. There was a strong generational division between the attitudes towards flexible working with 18-24-year-olds believing flexible working would improve the quality of their work against only 38% of over 55's.
Vodafone Group Enterprise Chief Executive Nick Jeffery said: "Vodafone's research reveals a profound and rapid shift in the modern workplace. Employers are telling us that flexible working boosts profits while their employees tell us they're more productive. Central to all of this are the new technologies that are reshaping every sector, from high-speed mobile data networks and fixed-line broadband to the latest collaborative cloud services. We truly are in an era when work is what you do, not where you go."