• 81% of UK small business owners say flexible hours are key to business success, followed by online working (46%)
• 39% of UK small business owners would allow employees to work remotely if they asked for the option
• Flexible hours tops list of benefits small business owners believe will attract the best talent
• 1 in 5 UK employees would take a pay cut in favour of flexible working
Amersham, UK - 14th May 2009: A new study published today, “Worldwide Workplace: The Web Commuting Imperative”, reveals how UK small business owners are recognising the role of flexible working practices in business, with almost two-thirds (62%) actively supporting remote working. The independent research, commissioned by Citrix Online, also shows 84% believe offering flexible hours is essential to running a successful business, with 46% stating flexible hours as the key to attracting and retaining the best talent.
The study, available at www.workshifting.com , also shows that 39% of small business owners would allow employees to work away from the office if they requested the option, which bodes well for the additional 4.5m parents who now have the right to apply for flexible working following the introduction of new government legislation on 6th April.
Small business owners are keen to adopt flexible working and Web Commuting – using the internet to work from anywhere - personally, with 62% stating they would like the opportunity to work remotely, with the top benefit being the ability to have more control over their day, according to 43% of respondents. They also recognised the benefits of Web Commuting for their employees, identifying greater job satisfaction as the key overall benefit, with 67% agreeing that Web Commuting would appeal to their employees.
The study reveals small business owners are keen to pass on these benefits, with 39% saying they will allow employees to web commute if they requested it. Other occasions included family emergencies (46%), personal illness (45%) and bad weather (39%). Of those small business owners who required employees to travel, 63% are willing to allow employees to participate in online meetings, rather than travel for in-person meetings, recognising increased productivity (26%) and reduced expenses (19%) as the single most important benefit.
The appeal of Web Commuting among the surveyed workers is also evident, with 61% stating they would like the ability to work remotely, away from the office, in their current or next job. One out of five respondents also said they would take a pay cut in order to work remotely and more flexibly.
When questioned on the best thing about working remotely, work-life balance topped the survey with 35% of workers saying having more control over their day was a top priority, followed by 21% who stated saving money on travel was the key benefit. Two thirds (66%) agree that easy access to their office computer, from any location, would be very valuable; with 55% saying they would benefit from a way to meet with people online
“Flexible working driven by Web Commuting can give businesses an edge ― especially in this difficult economic environment ― since employees can be productive working from anywhere at any time. It also enables them to retain the best talent, improve staff morale, and meet work-life balance needs of their workers,” said Brett Caine, general manager of Citrix Online. “It’s especially encouraging that small business owners are demonstrating a forward-looking approach to flexible working, considering they make up 99% of UK businesses.”
“Enabling a remote workforce to help drive efficiencies in the workplace doesn’t have to be expensive,” continued Caine. “With Web-based access and collaboration technologies, businesses of any size can quickly, easily and very cost effectively mobilise a remote workforce, without the need for expensive and complex on-premise infrastructure requirements.”
“It makes eminent sense to fully utilise Web Commuting,” said Amanda Alexander from Coaching Mums and a World Wide Workplace Council Member. “The more we can demonstrate the benefits, the more we can build momentum for its uptake. The government talks about flexible working and having time off for parents with children under a certain age: if the government promotes Web Commuting as an integral part of their flexible working initiative, this can only improve the retention of skilled employees and benefit companies’ bottom lines. Company culture has to change in line with this so that individuals are encouraged to take responsibility in creating their own flexible working environment, driving that change from the top and the bottom.”
The study questioned 500 UK workers and a further 230 UK small business owners employing 100 people or less, on issues relating to ‘Web Commuting’ - the practice of using the internet in order to work at any time, from anywhere.
Worldwide Workplace: The Web Commuting Imperative provides an executive summary of the global survey and insights from some of the world’s leading Web Commuting advocates. The full report can be downloaded at no charge at www.workshifting.com .
Notes to Editors
The study is based on 202 interviews taken by an independent research house in April-May 2007 with Heads of HR in a representative cross-section of British businesses. In smaller companies, where there was no specialist HR/Personnel department, interviews were taken with the Managing Director. The study covered private sector companies only and did not cover the public and not-for-profit sector. Sole traders were excluded but apart from this companies of all sizes, from the very smallest to the very largest, were eligible for interview.
About Citrix Online
Citrix Online provides secure, easy-to-use online solutions that enable people to work from anywhere with anyone. Whether using GoToMyPC® to access and work on a remote PC, GoToAssist® to support customers, GoToMeeting® to hold online meetings or GoToWebinar® for large online events, our customers are increasing productivity, decreasing travel costs and improving sales, training and service on a global basis. We have more than 35,000 small and medium-sized businesses using our products, and hundreds of thousands of individual professionals as customers. A division of Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS), Citrix Online is based in Santa Barbara, California, with satellite offices and data centres throughout the world. For more information, visit www.citrixonline.com or call 805-690-6400.
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