The report by Jabra UK found that 55% of office workers think home working breeds mistrust, with 31% believing those working from home undertake personal tasks; 13% saying they did not work as hard; and 11% citing ‘negative gossip’ as a concern.
The authors said remote working is not always experienced positively, and the role of verbal and face to face communication is generally undervalued.
“Home-working has an image problem,” said the report, “perhaps because it has not yet become ingrained in our culture in spite of the many benefits it brings in terms of employee satisfaction, productivity and retention. Overall just 14% of the people we interviewed said that remote working is widely accepted, undertaken in their organisation and seen as being productive.”
Despite this, 7 out of 10 workers either work from home or have a colleague who does and 24% want to work from home more often.
The report also claimed 75% of UK workers suffer from significant work-related stress or anxiety, feeling undervalued, having poor interpersonal relationships, being exhausted or isolated. It said the value workers place on work-life balance and well-being was not reflected in practice: 40% of people are regularly checking email outside of work hours, (up significantly from the 19% in last year’s study).
Crucially, the report found that respondents said 74% of employers fail to offer flexible working policies. As the right to request flexible working is a legal requirement, this illustrates a perception among workers that flexible working is not a realistic option despite legislation.
Andrew Doyle is UK and Ireland managing director for Jabra Business Solutions. He said employers should wake up to the transforming business landscape. “There is a hunger for more flexible and home working practices amongst workers. If companies are to retain the best staff this is something they cannot afford to ignore,” he said.