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O2 survey shows disconnect on flexible working

Man working at home
O2 says you get more done without the commute
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O2 has claimed that businesses are failing to grasp the advantages of allowing employees to work flexibly using mobile technology.

The mobile operator has published the results of a survey of more than 400 businesses and 2,000 employees, carried out by ResearchBods, that shows staff are ready to work remotely but companies are holding them back.

O2 says that 75% of employees say they are most productive when they can change when and where they work, and 11% even rate this as more important their holiday allowance and salary.

But only 19% say their company encourages them to work flexibly, even though 77% of employers claim that flexible working is actively encouraged.

Several elements of the survey show that employers and staff have different perceptions of how well business is supporting flexible working. For example, 56% of companies say they have a clear policy on the issue, but just 30% of employees agree.

On whether staff are given the tools to work remotely, 54% of employers say this is the case, but only a third of employees agree. Also, 70% of managers say they set an example by frequently working from home or changing working hours, but only 18% of staff agree.

O2 Business Director, Ben Dowd, says: "Just six months since Britain's biggest flexible working opportunity, the Olympics, it's shocking that less than one fifth of people feel they are encouraged to work flexibly.

"Businesses must sit up and take notice of this critical evolution in employee behaviour and create a business culture equipped to support it. Talking about it simply isn't enough. To create a truly flexible working culture, actions speak louder than words."

O2 says that more than 40% of its own staff flexi-work more than one day a week, and this saves 100,000 miles of travel, 30 tonnes of CO2 and £20,000 of fuel per month. Also, it has helped to double productivity.