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        Flexible working under threat from economic downturn

        Flexible working under threat from economic downturn

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          More companies are having to insist staff work from the office, despite many employees finding mobile working aids productivity, due to the current economic situation.

          Companies are also finding it harder to compete as markets are so uncertain, according to research carried out by O2.

          Due to the current climate 41 per cent of staff who were surveyed said they felt a level of pressure to be visible in the office.

          A physical presence in the office does not, however, mean a member of staff is actually being more productive than if they were at home or in a third place getting on with work.

          Attitudes towards flexible and mobile working continue to differ from the perspectives of staff and employees.

          With 52 per cent of staff recognising that flexible working actually boosts productivity, 27 per cent thought their bosses prevented it and 31 per cent believed they took a narrow view of it.

          Benefits for companies include reduced costs and a better ability to compete with other companies, but some managers seem to miss the advantages the trend can bring.

          Offices can also downsize as flexible working can mean hot desking, allowing workers to share the resources which they would all normally need individually in traditional working practices.

          The need for a review of appraisal systems in order to bring them in line with changing working practices is apparent, as 27 per cent of staff believe mobile working is not taken into consideration in these processes.

          Far from just meaning working from home, flexible working can be anything from flexi-time agreements to jobshares or compressed hours and can be used in different ways to suit the specific needs of workers.

          David Plumb, general manager for enterprise at O2, said: “We have found that flexible working has different mindsets depending on if you are the employee or the employer, and that employees spending more time at their desks because they believe they have to is not going to contribute to driving UK business forward.”

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