Flexible and remote working will fully take off in 2017

Working from anywhere will become the rule, not the exception

Mobile working

2017 will be the tipping point for flexible working in this country, when more businesses adopt the practice than don't, according to a new piece of research.

The 'Working anywhere: A winning formula for good work?' report, produced by The Work Foundation and funded by Citrix, found that more than 50% of businesses in the UK will adopt flexible and remote working practices come the end of next year.

And when we get to the close of the decade, that percentage should increase to 70%, so the study guesstimates.

The proliferation of faster internet connections (fixed and mobile) will obviously help spur this trend on, as will the positive points of flexible/mobile working that the study highlights – including increased productivity and the ability to be able to cut office-related costs.

Trust issues

Of course, there are potential bugbears too, and trust is a key issue for employers – although if trust is shown to staff members, that could have a positive impact on the company overall.

As Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School, notes: "By enabling a culture whereby working anywhere is the rule – rather than the exception – employers immediately put trust at the heart of their company ethos – a key to providing a happier and more fulfilling relationship with its staff."

Key concerns flagged up by the research include the fact that 75% of respondents believed that flexible working will put a greater load on HR. 22% of the managers questioned also worried that remote working means they feel disconnected from the team, which is an obvious concern.

Of course, there are swings and roundabouts there, as being away from the team can also mean better productivity due to less distractions from colleagues. Doubtless there is a balance to strike in terms of the amount of time spent working away from the desk in the office, and it will likely be a matter of experimentation for the individual business to pitch this right.

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