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Annie Hayes

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Seeing is believing

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A lack of training and confidence is hampering management’s ability to cope with growing numbers of flexible workers.

A whopping 73 per cent of respondents said flexible working is common in their organisation, a further 75 per cent believe remote workers are more productive. These are the findings of a new report, Tomorrow’s Leaders commissioned by City and Guilds and the Institute of Leadership and Management which shows that modern bosses are failing to keep up with the new way of working despite a third admitting they manage entirely or predominantly from a distance.

Almost half of managers quizzed said they feel unprepared to supervise remote teams with one in 10 believing they aren’t up to the job. Just a quarter said they had received training to help them with the problems.

A third confessed to wanting to monitor their employees closely to make sure they were working.

Chris Humphries, director general of City & Guilds said: “Our research shows that bosses are highly sympathetic to the notion of flexible working, but in practice find it difficult to break the mind set of ‘presenteeism’. The UK’s professional culture is still built on long hours – if you’re visible, you’re accountable. In reality, this means we reward people who take a long time to get the job done, rather than those who do it most effectively.”

Half also believe that they are not exploiting the networking technology available to the full. Under 20 per cent use audio conferencing and instant messaging, and only 10 per cent use video conferencing.

A large proportion (42 per cent) were unable to confirm whether HR policies to support flexible working were in place.

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Annie Hayes

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