Don't be afraid to embrace remote working

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Many firms are missing out on the benefits that remote working can provide

Remote working practices have come to the fore in recent years, but in many instances, smaller companies are being left behind in leveraging the advantages that this flexible approach to staffing can deliver.

Indeed, new research published by workplace solutions provider Steelcase has revealed only half (50 per cent) of UK firms currently accommodate this form of flexible working, meaning there are thousands of companies out there that are not giving this welcome freedom to their employees.

One reason could be a lack of trust between managers and workers, as some believe that unless staff members are physically working in the office then they cannot be sure they are pulling their weight.

However, this type of thinking could be costing companies dearly, as Steelcase's research predicted the UK could be missing out on additional combined revenues of up to £11.5 billion per year by failing to invest in remote applications for staff.

UK & Ireland vice president at Steelcase Bostjan Ljubic commented: "Our research has shown that the most engaged workers are those who have more control over their work experience, including the ability to work in the office, at home, or elsewhere - depending on their task, personality and work style.

"Yet, without the necessary tools to do so, employees can feel constrained, lacking the mobility and flexibility they need to do their best work."

At present, just 39 per cent of UK workers are provided with a laptop by their employer for work purposes. Conversely, 77 per cent receive a standard desktop computer. The problem here is that desktops do not easily facilitate a system of flexible working.

Indeed, almost one-third (29 per cent) of British workers currently feel that the equipment provided for them by their employer is outdated and not up to scratch in terms of allowing them to fuflil their daily responsibilities as easily as they could.

However, the majority of companies have placed a moratorium on BYOD - the practise of utilising personal devices for work purposes - due to the potential risks that this can pose to data security and confidentiality.

Pushing for an increase in technologies that could enable more people to work remotely is therefore something that could produce a considerable benefit for many UK firms in the coming months and years; although as yet, it's not clear if all companies grasp the true advantages that remote working can provide.

"With the array of innovative technology on the market today, it's surprising that so many workers are still tied to their desk," Mr Ljubic concluded.