Two thirds (67%) of UK office workers say mobile working is more important than a company car, and half now carry most of what they need to do their job in their bag, according to BT’s latest research. However, despite their employees appetite for new flexible ways of working, organisations are still struggling with technology and budget limitations to make it a reality.

‘The mobile multiplier’ research, which independently surveyed 1,500 office workers in large organisations in France, Germany, Spain and the UK, reveals a new era, where mobile working is no longer a perk but a staple requirement. Results show workers are keen to break away from the static office: Today’s office workers put flexible working top of a benefits package from the ideal employer, with 76% including it in their top three priorities.

However, effective communication with colleagues is still an issue. Employees reported that they often waste time trying to get hold of people while working remotely, which delays decisions (54%), and find it difficult to access documents and files (43%).

Employees reported that they often waste time trying to get hold of people while working remotely

As such, there’s a need for better technology, with two thirds of office workers saying better communication would really help their organisation succeed. In particular, workers want technology upgrades to use with their smartphones including screen sharing (69%), instant messaging (62%) and video conferencing (48%).

Andrew Small, vice president of Unified Communications, Mobile and Contact Centre Portfolio at BT says, “It’s important for companies to future-proof their business by investing in mobile collaboration technology to support a flexible working model.”

While I welcome the research and believe that employees have a huge appetite for flexible working, there are other barriers than technology for employers. It’s great to hear BT making advances in tech, but I’ve rarely heard that as a reason why a flexible working request has been denied. People want to work in new ways and to take their offices with them, that’s great – but it has to work for their employers too.

Employers need to establish trust, colleagues need visibility to know who is working, where and when, and above all else, attitudes need to change.

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