By Daniel Hunter

A quarter (25%) of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK suffer a drop in productivity between May and September each year, as they struggle to cover the holidays of key staff. This was one of the main findings of a global YouGov survey undertaken on behalf of Citrix, which looked at how SMEs are responding to growing pressures to introduce flexible working.

“This perennial problem is particularly damaging for smaller businesses with fewer back-up resources,” said Andrew Millard, senior director marketing, EMEA, online services division at Citrix. “It emphasises the need to find ways to improve operational efficiency. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel for these businesses, as 24% believe that flexible working reduces these unwanted ‘summertime blues’.”

The adoption of mobile work styles can help maintain and improve productivity. For example:

· Web conferencing tools in high definition mean that staff no longer need to miss important meetings, simply because they are not in the office
· Similarly, in the BYOD era, staff no longer need to be chained to their desks in order to be able to securely access and action important documents on the company network.

Clive Longbottom, industry analyst as Quocirca, says: “Video-conferencing, online meetings, web application-sharing and other tools can enable a holidaying employee to resolve any problems quickly and effectively early on and return to their break, benefitting them and their employer.”

“Now that the sun has arrived, the temptation is there for staff to get out and enjoy the warm weather rather than sweat it out in the office,” says Millard. “If businesses were to embrace flexible working, our survey has shown that there is no need to suffer any loss of productivity.”

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