Mobile work setback as staff shun flexibility to be seen to be working

Mobile working is on the decline, despite allowing almost 100 million extra working days each year, two surveys have found.

A survey of UK office workers commissioned by Microsoft Windows Mobile found the number of employers offering mobile working had fallen by 10% to under half all firms surveyed, despite results from a report by the Future Foundation that found the practice would allow the UK’s workforce to put in the equivalent of an extra 99 million working days each year.

“With fears over jobs and the economy, more workers – especially middle managers and below – are shunning mobile working, preferring to be seen in the office regardless of whether that is the best location for them to work,” said Microsoft spokesperson James McCarthy.

Senior managers are three times more likely to be able to work remotely than other employees, which reinforces the belief that flexible working is still seen as a ‘senior perk’ rather than a way to increase productivity and employee satisfaction, says McCarthy.

A quarter of senior managers would leave their job within six months if they could not work remotely, while one in four UK businesses have lost staff as a result of not being able to offer mobile working.

The most productive means of transport in London remains the Underground, with nearly a third saying that advances in technology had allowed them to work while on the way into the office.

An earlier study by Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts found that three-quarters of employees now working an additional three hours each day as a result of mobile devices.

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