By Daniel Hunter

Businesses are struggling to break through the challenges of flexible working, according to workplace solutions company, Steelcase.

Despite advances in technology, office workers are still complaining about dysfunctional technology when trying with work colleagues based elsewhere.

Recent research from Steelcase, the world leader in the provision of high performance workplace solutions, found that one of the consistent problems distributed teams face is presence disparity.

Bostjan Ljubic, vice president Steelcase UK and Ireland said: “We all know what it is like to be physically present at a meeting. But when we work remotely we don’t have the same experience as the people who are in the room together. Not only is the experience different when we are remote, sometimes it is just plain bad. Presence disparity is more than just an annoyance, as it can undermine the benefits of having a diverse, distributed team as well as hurt productivity.”

The research showed that 71% have experienced one or more problems when working remotely. Nearly three in 10 (29%) of workers who regularly use phone and video conferencing say they have intentionally or unintentionally left out a colleague.
More than half (56%) reported at least one or more of these distractions.

Meanwhile, as the pace of work has intensified, people often find themselves in a “mixed presence” work mode–they are physically present in one conversation, while being virtually present in another often texting, emailing and posting etc. Distractions abound, workflow gets bottlenecked and misunderstandings, misinterpretations and conflicts escalate, Steelcase said. As chaos and frustration ensue, progress slows or gets totally derailed.

Bostjan Ljubic, continues: “Businesses need to offer workers a level of technology that the smart phone generation has become used to but in a corporate setting.