Staff encouraged to work flexibly

A large proportion of people are working away from their office during the week, according to new research, and now more are being encouraged to do so.

Office space firm Regus found that two in five employees are spending at least half of the working week away from their desk.

But just half of managers encourage flexible working, which means more than a third are sacrificing sleep to fit in work and personal commitments.

The research comes at the start of Work Wise Week from May 12 to 18, with this Friday being "National Work From Home Day". It is encouraging people to work remotely, even in coffee shops, and have more "virtual meetings" rather than travelling to the office.

"There is growing recognition that working closer to home - rather than at home - is often the best way to improve wellbeing and remain productive," said Steve Purdy, managing director of Regus.

"In fact, one of the main reasons people use our centres today is to bridge this gap between the traditional office and the home office."

Of the 3,000 UK workers polled, half admitted they would be happier and more productive if they could work in different locations depending on what they were doing.

As many as 84% said that having a say in where they work would improve loyalty to their employer, while just under three-quarters said their manager is likely to view people who arrive early and leave late as the most hard-working.

From next year, employers will have to deal with all flexible working requests "in a responsible manner".

This requirement is to replace the statutory procedure for considering flexible working requests, while a draft Acas code on the extended right to request flexible working has been produced to help employers understand how they should consider such requests.

Copyright Press Association 2013