Remote working gains ground
But employers need to address the management challenges, says Regus
Professionals who are chained to the office desk will soon be the minority, according to a new 4000-strong business poll commissioned by Regus, the global workspace provider. 42% now work remotely for at least half their working week, up from 39% last year.
Employers cite greater productivity, improved staff retention and lower operating costs as the main benefits. Over a third of respondents believe that junior employees become more responsible through remote working, and three in ten think that remote management helps maintain a more professional relationship.
Yet the research suggests that many firms are slow to address the challenges of managing staff at a distance, with half of those polled saying that managers do not trust remote workers to remain focused on work tasks.
Only a quarter of firms have a specific system in place for managers to monitor efficiency in remote teams, and a third of managers use video calls.
Over the last year Regus has seen a sharp rise in enquiries for co-working space at its 220 centres across the UK, from professionals working remotely and also from employers seeking flexible, part-time workspace to offer their staff.The diminishing importance of geographical location also makes it easier for UK firms to trade overseas.
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
Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces, with products and services ranging from fully equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the world’s largest network of video communication studios. Regus enables people to work their way, whether it’s from home, on the road or from an office. Customers such as Google, GlaxoSmithKline, and Nokia join hundreds of thousands of growing small and medium businesses that benefit from outsourcing their office and workplace needs to Regus, allowing them to focus on their core activities.
More than 1.3 million customers a day benefit from Regus facilities spread across a global footprint of more than 1,500 locations in 600 cities and 99 countries, which allow individuals and companies to work wherever, however and whenever they want to. Regus was founded in Brussels, Belgium in 1989, is headquartered in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange.