BT Business and Nortel have revealed new independent research* statistics showing that less than one in ten (8%) of the UK's businesses trust their employees to work out of the office - despite the 42% of workers who are confident that they could do a better job remotely.
The data shows managers are reluctant to move their people away from their outdated, desk-based working models. This is regardless of their employees, who say they could be more productive on the road, working with a customer or from home if they were given the technology to manage and support them.
John Wright, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said "This boils down to a matter of trust. In the current climate, small firms need to be operating at full stretch. Last week's bad weather demonstrated the need for British businesses to enable their employees to be productive, wherever they are."
Despite dramatic changes in the UK workforce since the 1970s, the research points to outdated working practices - such as 'presenteeism' where it is thought that if employees are not at their desks, they are not working . The new research suggests that businesses can put such practices to bed by unifying their communications.
Unified communications integrates voice, data, fixed and wireless business channels, allowing teams to work together, answer calls and customer queries whether in or out of the office. Managers can check productivity - down to even the number of calls and emails that are made and answered. Costs and duplicate work are reduced because all customer, supplier and partner contact is reduced to a single communications system.
John Dovey, IT services director at BT Business said: "BT's 70,000 flexible workers have saved us £500m in building costs and 100,000 tonnes of CO2. We can effectively manage our employees and have seen a 30% rise in productivity. By unifying communications systems our business customers can be more responsive to new opportunities and customer enquiries wherever they are. Faster reaction and fulfilment times are a positive way to increase customer satisfaction, increase loyalty and encourage growth. These technologies can also help to attract and retain staff through flexible working."
Barry Bonnett, president, Enterprise Solutions, EMEA, Nortel, said "As lifestyles change, so must management's attitudes towards employees. Unified communications can help managers, but ultimately change depends on trust."
BT Business understands the challenges that businesses face in the current climate, and supports cost control, improved productivity and winning business through product collections including business broadband & internet, domains & web hosting, data & voice networks, IT solutions and mobile services.
Notes to Editors
* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 3473 workers in organisations with less than 500 employees and employed for at least 3 months. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd - 8th December 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have not been weighted.
BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
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