A surprising nine out of 10 full-time U.S. employees believe their boss trusts them to get their job done regardless of where and when they do their work, according to a survey of 617 full-time employed adults commissioned by Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit and co-sponsored by Citrix.
However, while additional data indicates employees have become upbeat about their increasingly flexible workplaces, inefficiencies abound in how workers use technology and communicate, and there is a lack of training and infrastructure available to support flexible work.
Employees are pretty evenly split between where they said they do most of their work, with one-third working from a remote location, a slight increase from 2013, while 34 percent work in a cube/open office environment and 28 percent in a private office.
Men continue to represent the majority of teleworkers—three out of five in 2015–but the percentage of women increased significantly (39 percent) from (29 percent) in 2013.
“I don’t think we’ll see an increase in formal plans that officially change your schedule or the location where you work for a set period of time,” Cali Yost, CEO of Flex+Strategy Group, told eWEEK. “But, I do expect to see a continuing proliferation of as needed, informal flexible shifts in how, when and where you get your job done. This trend toward more informal versus formal work flexibility is clear in our research.”
Despite widespread availability of video or Web conferencing and project management technologies, frequent use of these tools was in the single digits. Conversely, eight out of 10 employees have never used project management software and two-thirds have never used video or Web conferencing.
Nearly 60 percent of respondents use email, word documents or spread sheets frequently to update colleagues about work progress and performance. By comparison, 55 percent meet in person and 43 percent use the phone.
Almost seven out 10 employees feel the increase in workplace technology has made it easier to collaborate and communicate with colleagues, and more than half of respondents said it has made it easier to work flexibly.
However, that enthusiasm was tempered by the 28 percent who said the increase in technology has created more work and the nearly one-fourth that noted it feels a bit like big brother is watching you, with men significantly more likely than women to voice that view.
“Having the ability to tailor the work flexibility you need, whether it’s remote work or a shift in your schedule, to get your job done or manage your life at a particular time is more realistic than having a set change in your schedule or dedicated day to work from home. Set shifts in schedule or location don’t always work,” Yost said. “Realities on the job and in your personal life are always changing and people are beginning to see it makes more sense to have the support, know-how and technology to work in the way that will make you the most productive on and off the job.”