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Avaya Research Uncovers new Digital Divide: Mobile Elite Emerges as Ruling Class in Business

• UK is one of Europe’s leading flexible working providers
• 93% of employees want flexible working – but just 22% of companies extend the privilege to all
• 31% “ready to quit” if they don’t get access to flexible working practices

Guildford, UK, 9 June 2008 – The UK may be ahead of most of Europe when it comes to the universal provision of flexible working, but still barely a fifth (22%) of companies have made provisions for all of their employees to work flexibly on a daily basis. This is an ever-increasing risk in a country where nearly a third (31%) of employees say they would definitely change jobs to get access to flexible working conditions, all other factors remaining equal.

The findings come from a new independent research report commissioned by Avaya. “Flexible Working in Europe and Russia” reflects the attitudes of more than 3,000 workers across France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK.

On average across Europe, only 17 percent of companies make flexible working options available to all. According to this new Avaya data, European businesses risk missing out not only on huge competitive advantage but on fulfilled and productive employees as they unconsciously create a digital divide within their workforces that alienates the non-privileged majority.

In fact, more than three-quarters (78%) of Europe’s workforce would consider changing companies in exchange for flexible working practices and technologies, and 94 percent said they want their employer to provide them.

It’s not just family men and women that want the advantages of flexible working either: 78 percent of those surveyed indicated they would be prepared to work on for their employer after retirement if the flexible option were open to them. This could potentially create a vast, extremely knowledgeable potential workforce to help plug the “skills gap” and more effectively manage the business issue of the aging workforce.

"The digital divide used to be constructed of those who had access to technology and those who did not,” said Nick Roullier, UK Country Manager for Avaya. "What this report shows is a new digital divide: those companies that have unlocked the ability to truly gain workforce productivity and efficiency while retaining their best workers – and those who are putting their businesses at risk because they don’t have the technology to support what their workers are asking for.”

Other findings of the report include:

• 30 percent of senior managers think flexible working policies and technologies would allow their companies to compete more successfully on the global stage

• SMEs are considerably less likely (57%) to offer flexible working conditions than larger companies (74%)

• Nearly half (44%) of employees think a company that lacks flexible working options betrays out-of-date working policies

• More than a third (35%) of those who work in companies that do not offer flexible working believe their employer has the technology to do so but has chosen not to use it

“Simple, scalable unified communications solutions can help companies deal with their workers’ expectations swiftly and cost-effectively, while increasing overall business productivity. It’s a win-win for everyone – and when British companies implement this, it’s a win for UK Plc,” concluded Roullier.

For the purposes of this survey, flexible working was defined as a situation in which employees are not expected to work during set hours or from their desks but are instead able to set their own flexible working hours and to work from the location they choose.

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About Avaya

Avaya delivers Intelligent Communications solutions that help companies transform their businesses to achieve marketplace advantage. More than one million businesses worldwide, including more than 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®, use Avaya solutions for IP telephony, unified communications, contact centers and communications-enabled business processes. Avaya Global Services provide comprehensive service and support for companies, small to large.

For more information, visit the Avaya Web site at http://www.avaya.com.

Editors: Survey data is available upon request.

Contact:

James Hafseth
Avaya Media Relations
Tel: +44 (0) 207 395 7044
Email: avayauk@fleishman.com

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