The future of work was promised to provide workers with a flexible digital work environment that did not require a physical office. So why aren’t more companies allowing their employees to work from anywhere?
A recent survey found that 58% of the UK’s workforce do not have any flexible offerings at their workplace. That figure might even be underestimated as many companies that have flexible work options only offer it to parents or those with long commutes. Still, three quarters of the UK workforce said they would prefer flexible work.
While the demand is there, managers are worried that employees working remotely won’t get their work done. This fear is unfounded, as a study with the U.S. Patent Office found that experienced employees that were allowed to work from anywhere increased output by 4.4%.
“The main constraints are a combination of the need for face-to-face interactions, and the traditions of the workplace,” said Nicholas Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford Business School. “The modern workplace evolved from the original factories in the 1800s, where workers had regular daily shifts, and has changed little since.”
While the inclusion of technology and the internet would be assumed to nurture flexible working, research has found that white-collar workers are exceeding 40-hour work weeks.
However, with new communication tools such as Slack and Zoom, along with the increasing demand from workers, companies might be more inclined to adopt a flexible work option that works for all employees.