Business survey shows staff satisfaction with remote employment

A new survey has shown how the business world has changed over the decades, with staff taking advantage of technological advances which mean they can work from any location.

The research, carried out by workspace provider Regus and involving 4,000 business participants, even predicts that workers who are constantly based in the same office will soon be in the minority.

Some staff work from home to better fit in with childcare arrangements, while some opt to work in a professional environment like a local business centre.

The benefits to the employer are widespread, such as improved morale among workers, the ability to employ the best staff no matter where they live, and better opportunities to boost trade links abroad.

Indeed, most employers say they have seen improved productivity, better staff retention and lower operating costs since allowing staff to work remotely if they wish.

Among the workers who took part in the survey, 42% said they now work remotely for at least half their working week, an increase from 39% last year.

More than a third said they feel junior members of staff become more responsible about their jobs if they work remotely, while three in 10 feel remote management improves professional relationships.

But the research found that employers themselves have difficulty in managing staff remotely. Half the managers questioned said they do not trust remote workers to remain focused on the job, while only a quarter of companies have a system in place to monitor efficiency among remote workers - a third use video calls.

John Spencer, the head of Regus in the UK, said: "Workforces are becoming ever more 'distributed', with staff in multiple locations. It is perfectly possible for remote teams to collaborate effectively, but it does require managers to focus less on control and more on motivation and teamwork.

"The full benefits of remote working are unlikely to be achieved if employers assume people want to work from home. Most people don't want work to encroach on their home lives and are more productive in a professional environment, closer to home, such as a local business centre."

Copyright Press Association 2013