Don’t be a stranger, remote managers urged

Rise of flexible working means managers need special training, says Regus survey

Flexible working is gaining support from senior level managers. In a new survey of 4000 UK professionals carried out by the world’s largest flexible workspace provider, Regus, 80% believe their senior management support the idea.

However, 68% of respondents say that managers require specific training in order manage their remote team members successfully. In particular, maintaining close contact is key. Over three quarters (85%) believe managers should speak to remote staff several times a week, and a similar proportion (84%) think monthly face-to-face meetings are important.

When it comes to measuring the performance of remote workers, opinion is more divided. Just over half believe remote workers should accept the use of IT systems that track and measure levels of work activity (54%) and productivity (56%). But there is more agreement on how workers should be measured; 83% believe outcomes should be used to assess and reward performance rather than time spent working.

Although it’s recognised that managers might need extra training to accommodate flexible working practices, the vast majority of workers believe the effort is worth it. 75% say their sector is increasing the availability of remote working in order to attract and retain top talent.

Michael Millward, Managing Director at Leeds-based employee management services company Abeceder Ltd, comments: “We trade internationally and have a network of associates across the globe who I manage on a day-to-day basis.

“Regular communication is vital and although most of the contact I have with them is virtual, we make sure to schedule regular video calls. This allows us to operate as effectively as if they were on the doorstep.” ”

Michael agrees that remote management can be beneficial for businesses, improving the quality of the relationship between manager and staff. “In a way the distance has been an advantage because I trust them to be independent”, he says. “This has inspired a greater sense of responsibility and made them highly valuable assets to the team.”

When face-to-face contact is necessary, such as for important new business or team meetings, Michael adopts a cost-conscious approach, using on-demand workspace at local Regus centres.

“Flexible workspace, whether in Leeds or Lagos, has allowed us to operate a very cost effective, virtual business model and only pay for workspace when we need it. This slimmed down business model allows us to keep our prices highly competitive.”

Richard Morris, UK CEO Regus comments: “With its benefits to employers and workers, it’s no wonder that businesses are increasingly offering remote working options to staff. However, the research findings emphasise the need for regular contact between managers and their team members, and the importance of measuring success by output.

“For managers concerned about maintaining productivity, offering staff the opportunity to work from a professional environment, with minimal distractions, close to home can help to allay their fears. Indeed, our customers tell us that using flexible workspace translates directly into productivity gains. It helps to reduce time spent travelling to the office and in ad hoc meetings but also eliminates the inconvenience and isolation of having to work from home.”


Regus is the global workplace provider.

Its network of more than 2,300 business centres in 105 countries provides convenient, high-quality, fully serviced spaces for people to work, whether for a few minutes or a few years. Companies like Google, Toshiba and GlaxoSmithKline choose Regus so that they can work flexibly and make their businesses more successful.

The key to flexible working is convenience and so Regus is opening wherever its 2.1million members want support – city centres, suburban districts, shopping centres and retail outlets, railway stations, motorway service stations and even community centres.

Founded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1989, Regus is based in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, please visit