Last updated: 20.11.13

Flexible working 'central' to productivity and wellbeing

Technology plays an important part in driving forward flexible working among employees in the UK.

This is according to a new study of more than 2,500 staff carried out by Opinion Matters for ADP, which found that more than one in five (21 per cent) think being able to work from home or at a different location away from their headquarters as a result of technology has helped them to achieve a better work-life balance.

Respondents who had the right equipment for flexible learning were also more likely to hold a positive opinion of their employer, with 83 per cent of workers who were provided with a laptop, tablet or smartphone describing their company as "dynamic".

This compares to 58 per cent of all people questioned who said the same thing.

Professor Stephen Bevan from the Work Foundation claimed flexible working is essential to motivating employees and ensuring they are productive.

He was quoted by Workplace Savings and Benefits as saying:  "With a focus on developing 'good work', which can include flexible work practices, technology and training and a more strategic outlook on workplace health, there is a greater opportunity to develop strong employment relationships and employee engagement."

However, the research also revealed that while staff are increasingly being offered access to flexible working through online learning platforms and other digital resources, nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) are forced to work in a fixed location.

Meanwhile, 17 per cent of employees surveyed stated they work in multiple locations, 13 per cent work from home and only seven per cent are allowed to divide their time between their house and headquarters.

This shows how there is still some way to go before all companies are taking advantage of the positive impact technology can have on morale and productivity.

Employees prefer to have control over their work and if they feel restricted, this could dampen their attitude and cause them to feel undervalued.