Earlier this year, the publication of the Modern Family Index by the Working Families charity revealed 60 per cent of new dads don’t have the confidence to request flexible working. In today’s digital age, when modern families require flexible working, it should be business as usual. Employees are told by government they can request flexible working, but this research suggests that almost 60 per cent of dads alone don’t have the confidence and feel uncomfortable to ask their bosses. This raises a wider point, and a more pressing issue: why don’t more employers grant their teams the freedom to work from a more convenient location?

Many employers have been reluctant to give their workforce increased flexibility for fear of people being less productive. There are outdated perceptions that working remotely decreases productivity. But the rise of mobility has resulted in employees having an “always on” work ethic which challenges the status-quo of outdated bosses.

Office workers today are tech savvy. While they might be highly mobile and consumerised in their own lives, they expect the same standard of technology to help them make their jobs and lives easier. This includes flexible collaboration with colleagues in different post-codes and countries. This attitude is only set to increase as more Millennials enter the workforce. We’re already seeing a definitive, permanent shift to a more mobile, connected and collaborative work environment.

Employers should make the move towards increased mobile working. They need to embrace an ‘easy collaboration’ culture and consider the following key points:

  • Trust your employees: Employees will be more productive when working from home. A recent study conducted by Stanford University found that when employees left the discipline of the company’s space, they would conduct 13.5 per cent more calls than the employees in the office – in other words the company got almost an extra workday a week out of them. Additionally people working from home reported to be more satisfied with their work and lives.
  • Collaboration is key: Businesses will need to embrace and implement technologies that enable fast and reliable on-the-go work, and mobile meetings. This trend will be supported by the latest technologies, especially by bring your own app (BYOA), where employees find their own apps (e.g. join.me, Evernote, Office365, Gmail, Slack) and begin to use them at the work place.
  • Enhance productivity: Allowing workers to use the tool of their choice will enhance personal productivity. It’s important to ensure these platforms integrate with each other, to provide an easy, seamless work experience. Choose platforms that are optimised for most smart devices – it’s a good indicator the platform will continue to be compatible with smart devices that haven’t been invented yet.
  • Think beyond bricks-and mortar office space: To accommodate flexible schedules, consider turning any space with WiFi into a potential work location.
  • You will save money: With your employees working from home, business could save money on furniture, space and business rates.
So, if you’re still sceptical and can’t get to grip with your employees working from home, then why not use severe weather conditions or public transport strikes to pilot a new scheme? Any condition that prevents employees from easily getting to the office is a good opportunity to measure how productive employees can be while working remotely. This might also help the most hesitant and unconfident employees to approach their managers and discuss remote working, which will allow you to take steps to accommodate their needs.

By Stephen Duigan, VP of Marketing at LogMeIn