By Claire West

Companies are losing an annual average of 24 days of extra working hours by not allowing employees to work from home, according to the latest research by video conferencing service provider UCi2i. The claim, based on a poll of 1,000 office employees in the UK, highlights the benefits to individuals of having a flexible working environment and the ‘overtime’ they put in as a result.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study also finds that colleagues back in the office struggle with the lack of transparency with 1 in 4 believing those who do work from home ‘cheat the system’. Overall, 84% of those surveyed said they were uncomfortable with their colleagues not working alongside them, highlighting that better forms of communication between working locations is vital for a productive and happy workforce.

To address this, UCi2i is today launching a simple and easy-to-use personal video collaboration tool for business-quality video communications, called ‘V-Book’. The platform allows instant face-to-face communication and collaboration with colleagues and customers at the click of a button regardless of location or the device they are using.

As a result of the research, UCi2i has found that as many as 94 per cent of UK office workers work better when they work from home despite stating they were not equipped with the appropriate technology to communicate with fellow colleagues (85 per cent).

When asked why working from home is so successful, reasons that were given included: peace and quiet for productivity (26%), spending the time they would be travelling to the office, working (18%) and allowing the ideal work/life balance (13%).

Michael Grant, Group Managing Director of UCi2i, said, “These results highlight the need for companies, across all sectors, to seriously consider investing in video conferencing that support flexible working and allow instant face-to-face communication among colleagues, customers and partners at any time, wherever they are.

“Investing in easy to use software and encouraging employees to work from home can significantly improve businesses productivity and profit. V-Book allows for any employee, whether at work, in the office, or on the move, to collaborate with one another instantly and effortlessly, in high-definition.”

V-Book has been specifically designed with non-technical users in mind, making video conferencing easier than ever before. A customisable interface allows users to search and manage their contacts, connect via video to anyone with a single click, plan and manage their Virtual Meeting Rooms for multi-party conferences, and track their video usage in real-time. Furthermore, V-Book can be accessed from anywhere on any device, and is interoperable, connecting to multiple manufacturers video systems seamlessly.

The study also highlighted a series of ‘over-workers’, who added more to their companies by working over 5 hours more per week. These individuals were most commonly from industries such as finance (35.71%), manufacturing (36%) professional services (35%) and travel and transport (40%).

The survey, conducted in June 2013 by Censuswide, shows an increasing desire in office workers to be equipped with suitable communication technology to allow them to work from home.