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Half of firms allow remote working

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Despite this the UK is lagging behind other countries when it comes to working outside of the office

Only half (50%) of British workplaces currently accommodate remote working, according to a study by furniture company Steelcase.

The research (conducted with more than 12,000 employees across 17 countries) suggests the UK is lagging behind when it comes to remote working, falling six percentage points below the global average (of 56%).

The report indicates that UK employees are keen to work more flexibly, as 17% said they have already adopted nomadic working (spending less than 40% of their time at a desk), which is more than twice the global average for nomadic working. Nearly a quarter (24%) report working remotely at least once per week, with almost one in 10 (9%) doing so every day.

A lack of technology could be holding employees back from flexible working. Only 39% of UK workers are provided with a laptop by their employer, compared to 77% who have a desktop computer. Meanwhile, only 38% are given a mobile telephone, compared to 91% who have a landline. As a result nearly a third (29%) of employees say they aren’t satisfied with the IT and telephone equipment provided.

Bostjan Ljubic, VP of Steelcase for UK & Ireland, said he found it surprising that so many people are still tied to office desks. “Our research has shown that the most engaged workers are those who have more control over their work experience, including the ability to work in the office, at home, or elsewhere depending on their task, personality and work style,” he said.

“Yet without the necessary tools to do so employees can feel constrained – lacking the mobility and flexibility they need to do their best work."

He added: “Studies have shown that increased engagement means greater productivity, innovation and employee retention; factors that affect business performance and ultimately the bottom line. With demand for remote working set to increase employers would be wise to invest in the right tools and technology now, or they could be left behind."