Access to the cloud is critical to enable flexible working.
Research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and BT Business has found 60 per cent of UK small and medium-sized businesses are using cloud-based applications. Some 43 per cent of firms stated such software was vital to effective remote working.
According to Computer Weekly, the study found 52 per cent of those questioned believed access to company data at all times was essential. The report authors claimed this sentiment would only get stronger in the future and predicted business dependence will continue to increase over the coming years.
The survey reported 86 per cent of respondents have staff members who regularly work away from the office, while 47 per cent employ people who operate remotely at least once a week. A further 28 per cent said they have someone carrying out their role at home every day.
A study by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills suggested the idea of flexible working would only become more commonplace in business over the coming years. It revealed some 57 per cent of workers felt the ability to operate away from the office was important to them, as they aim to create more of a work-life balance.
This is a far cry from a year ago, when a YouGov survey on behalf of Vodafone found 22 per cent of businesses did not have a flexible working policy. This was despite 63 per cent of respondents agreeing the generic nine-to-five working day had become unnecessary and 62 per cent stating that allowing workers to operate from home led to more positive employees.
Adam Marshall, executive director of policy at the BCC, commented: "Businesses are working in new and different ways, but easy access to information and communication tools are absolutely essential. Everything suggests businesses' dependence on the cloud is growing."
He added industry leaders were starting to wake up to the benefits of flexible working and this practice will be made even easier as cloud-based applications become more mature.
Posted by Jon Aspinell on 10th April 2014
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