Technological change, globalisation and changes in employee expectations mean that over two-thirds of global employees now work remotely every week, and over half do so for at least half of the week. Though it must be said this is according to a new study from IWG, which is the parent group of workspace companies including Regus and Spaces, the study found that every week 70 percent of employees are working at least one day a week somewhere other than the office. More than half (53 percent) work remotely for half of the week or more, whilst more than one in 10 (11 percent) people work outside of their company’s main office location five times a week. The survey adds also that flexible working and the use of shared workspaces are no longer the preserve of start-ups. The world’s most successful businesses – including varied companies such as Etihad Airways, Diesel, GSK, Mastercard, Microsoft, Oracle and Uber – are already adopting a flexible workspace approach.
Mark Dixon, founder and CEO of IWG, said: “People from Seattle to Singapore, London to Lagos no longer need to spend so much time in a particular office.
“We are entering the era of the mobile workforce and it is hugely exciting. Not just for individual employees, but for businesses too. This is a huge shift in the workspace landscape globally, and businesses are now looking closely at what this means for their corporate real estate portfolios.”
The study by IWG also found that businesses recognised that offering flexible working strategies to their employees provided them with significant benefits:
- Business growth (89 percent – up from 67 percent in 2016)
- Competitiveness (87 percent up from only 59 percent in 2014)
- Productivity (82 percent up from 75 percent in 2013)
- Attracting and retaining top talent (80 percent – up from 64 percent in 2016)
- Profit maximisation (83 percent)
The move to flexible workspaces reflects the changing demands and expectations of the workforce. 80 percent of those surveyed agree that flexible working helps them retain top talent whilst 64 percent are now offering this to help them recruit. Over half (58 percent) agreed that offering flexible working improves job satisfaction, demonstrating the need for businesses to provide working environments suited to today’s employees to maintain a first-class workforce.
The benefits businesses are experiencing are clear: a resounding 91 percent said that flexible workspaces enable employees to be more productive while on the move.
Ian Hallett, IWG Group Managing Director and Global Head of Brands and Ventures, said: “New technologies mean many of us can now work anytime, anywhere. The challenge for businesses is how to optimise this new landscape. Companies are realising the benefits of flexible working and its ability to increase productivity, job satisfaction and business performance.”
Dixon added: “Changes in technology and digitalisation have led to a growing use of on-demand services generally in business, with organisations of all sizes wanting to increasingly outsource non-core activities.
“Flexible working, supported by a professional on-demand workspace network, is now being discussed by senior leaders across functions in companies including risk management, business development, human resources, marketing and strategy.
“One day soon, flexible working could simply be known as ‘working’. We are reaching the tipping point.”
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