Lack of training to manage remote workers prevents flexible working

Half of small business managers struggle to control home or remote workers’ performance, research has revealed.

Findings from the IT Skills for Flexibe Working report by communications giant BT revealed that 88% of managers have also never received formal training in how to manage home workers.

The report comes as the government review on extending the right to request flexible working, conducted by Sainsbury’s HR director Imelda Walsh, is due to be published soon.

BT managing director Bill Murphy said: “There is a worrying lack of both management and IT skills for 21st century flexible working, despite the growth in home working among small businesses.”

BT has convened a panel of business and management experts, including Peter Thomson, director of Future Work Forum at Henley Management College, and Caroline Walters, director of people and policy at BT Group, to publish a remote managers’ toolkit for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Meanwhile research from Mother@Work, an online magazine for women at work, found that half of the 300 SMEs it interviewed were in favour of the government’s plan to extend the right to request flexible working.

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