Flexible working is the path forward

With the average cost of data breaches reaching a high of £2.53 million in 2016 and 86% of firms fearful GDPR fines will have a major impact on their business*, companies cannot afford to ignore any potential cause of information loss.

However, with increasing numbers of employees working remotely across multiple devices, an unexpected threat has emerged: remote workers not recognising the importance of, or caring for, information they carry.

>See also: Rise in flexible working coincides with the rise of robots

To combat this insider threat, firms now need to implement a comprehensive security strategy and education programme to make sure all employees take responsible for the data they access.

New research of 1,000 employees by Maintel, unified communications specialists, today revealed the results of flexible working preferences in the UK. The study polled 1,000 employed adults in the UK, ages 18 and over.

The study revealed that today’s multi-generational workforce, unsurprisingly, prefers flexible working to traditional office hours and location. Flexible work policies were perceived as an important workplace benefit, with 73% of respondents citing the company they work for has good flexible work policies in place. Indeed, 64% of remote workers don’t feel micromanaged, and 58% would take the opportunity to spend even less time in an office, if it were available.

>See also: Does flexible working really spell the end of the office?

In addition, the survey found that 60% of respondents believe technology can replace in-person interaction in the workplace. Yet there remain challenges with flexible work, including indifference regarding the security of company data (66%) and distractions at home (31%).

“Employee expectations for when, where, and how they work continue to evolve. This means businesses’ management, policies, and IT systems must do the same,” said Rufus Grig, CTO at Maintel. “The real trailblazers put their employees’ working styles first, and use technology to back that up. For some companies this still requires a culture shift, judging employees on outcomes rather than attendance.”

“Equipping employees with the right solutions to successfully work remotely and keep company data safe is critical. This enables effective employee performance, recruitment and retention, delivering a good ROI in technology investments.”

Flexible work is the future

Disruption, to an extent, is leading the flexible working charge. To entice skilled employees to more established companies – rather than millennial start-ups – employers need to embrace this growing flexible working trend. Indeed, those between the ages of 25 – 44 and working outside of London were mostly likely to feel comfortable asking their manager for flexible work options.

>See also: The answer to flexible working: technology

The report suggested that employers are embracing this requirement from their future workforce, as 66% of respondents revealing they would feel comfortable asking their manager if they could work more flexibly.

Key to the success of flexible working is productivity. There is no point working from home – or wherever – if this aspect suffers. So, in order to maintain – if not increase – productivity, organisations will have to adjust business models to cater to the era of flexible working.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...