Flexible working is damaging the office environment, according to research by a facilities firm.
Direct365 said almost one in three UK workers believe the growing number of flexible work options is having a detrimental affect on the atmosphere in their office. The survey of 500 workers said 31% are concerned that “traditional office culture” is in danger of being lost because fewer people are in the office at any one time.
Workers over 55 seem most wedded to the traditional office environment and were most likely to claim that flexible working is damaging team spirit. By contrast, the 18-24 year old and 25-34 year old groups were among the biggest supporters of remote working.
Direct365 said employers need to strike the right balance when tailoring remote working policies, adding that it could be making it harder for professionals to switch off and relax.
Emma Gilroy, brand development manager at Direct365, said: “This isn’t an attack on flexible working by any means. Such policies, when implemented sensibly, can be mutually beneficial for employers and employees alike. However, a lot of businesses are clearly struggling to find the right balance.
“It’s not uncommon for somebody to be sat at their desk all on their own for an entire day because the rest of their team are either working from home or have been given permission to switch their hours. Technological advancements have made communication easy, but you really shouldn’t underestimate the importance of face-to-face contact.”
She added that companies should factor this into their decisions about whether to allow staff to work flexibly. “Although companies are legally obliged to consider flexible working requests from staff, they shouldn’t lose sight of how these arrangements will impact the wider team. It’s arguably far harder to build a bond and strong team ethos if everybody is working in different locations. We’re in danger of losing good old-fashioned ‘watercooler talk’”
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chocobolate/