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February 20, 2007

UK employees prefer home working

A study conducted in November 2007 by Affiniti, a communications integrator, and ICM Research, involving 1,000 workers across the UK, sought to identify the top employee issues in the workplace and the factors that will transform the way organizations operate. The survey found that remote working and environmental policies look set to move UK staff from the office into the home.

By CBR Staff Writer

The research discovered that two thirds of UK employees expect to be able to work from home within the next five to 10 years, with 37% indicating that they will only consider new jobs that offer remote working, and 31% of workers feeling that being at home ranks above other possible benefits.

This highlights the importance with which this capability should be taken by organizations when hiring new employees. Unfortunately, three quarters of UK organizations appear to be slow on the uptake, having no home working policy in place. Staff would also like a better work/life balance, with 68% indicating that this was the main reason for wanting home working, along with increased productivity, reduced commuting time, and reduced travel congestion.

In addition, the research also brought into focus how being environmentally friendly is considered critical by UK workers. Three quarters consider it important, with 20% believing that the environment will be the number one issue for organizations in the future. Again, enterprises are lagging behind employee beliefs, with one third of companies not having an environmental policy in place, and 53% intimated that being green is only ‘sometimes’ seen as a business issue. For example, while three quarters of businesses encourage measures such as recycling and switching off PCs, 80% of organizations still partake in unnecessary business travel.

In the past, most organizations have paid little regard to the ‘green’ aspects of the operation, or the way resources are consumed. Now, environmental stewardship is becoming an important consideration, driven by employee awareness, as indicated by this research, as well as regulatory pressures, and equipment disposal liabilities.

There can also be a cost of environmental compliance failure, including the inability to recruit good staff, lost revenue, crisis mode costs, and long-term capability building costs. This has brought into sharp focus the need for organizations to be more proactive with employees and suppliers, along with incorporating environmental factors into strategy, corporate and IT governance procedures, and ensuring processes are designed with the environment in mind.

The environment must become part of company culture and high-level strategy. All stakeholders, including employees, have a role to play in engendering a ‘green mindset.’ While a ‘green’ approach is obviously good for the environment, it can also lead to a more flexible working environment and happier employees.

Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (

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