Almost one in three UK employees believe that the growing availability of flexible working options is having a detrimental effect on the atmosphere in their office, with older workers feeling this most, according to a new study.
The survey of 500 workers by facilities and building maintenance specialists Direct365 found that 31% of British workers are concerned that traditional office culture is in danger of being lost because so many of their colleagues are able to work remotely at any given time.
Workers over the age of 55 are the most likely to say that flexible working is having an adverse effect on team spirit. Meanwhile, the 18 to 24-year-old and 25-34 age groups were among the biggest supporters of remote working provisions.
Emma Gilroy, Brand Development Manager at Direct365, thinks that employers need to consider the impact that their flexible working policies might have on the general ambience of their workplace.
“This isn’t an attack on flexible working by any means. Such policies, when implemented sensibly, can be mutually beneficial for employers and employees alike,” she commented.
“However, a lot of businesses are clearly struggling to find the right balance, with one in three people stating that the atmosphere in their office has suffered because so many of their colleagues are missing at the same time.
“It’s not uncommon for somebody to be sat at their desk all on their own for an entire day because the rest of their team are either working from home or have been given permission to switch their hours. Technological advancements have made communication easy, but you really shouldn’t underestimate the importance of face-to-face contact.
“Although companies are legally obliged to consider flexible working requests from staff, they shouldn’t lose sight of how these arrangements will impact the wider team. It’s arguably far harder to build a bond and strong team ethos if everybody is working in different locations.”
Workingmums.co.uk Top Employer Award winner Cafcass emphasised the need to have a carefully thought-through flexible working policy with proper support for remote workers. Read about what they did here.