Opportunities for flexible working are increasing in UK firms as remote working has increased by 37 per cent in the past three years, according to research from recruitment consultancy Robert Half.


This trend seems to be growing worldwide, with figures suggesting that more than 30 million Americans work from home now, while Forrester Research’s US Telecommuting Forecast predicts that number will rise to 63 million by next year – meaning 43 per cent of the US workforce will be working remotely by 2016.


The Robert Half study, based on interviews with 200 HR directors, revealed that 60 per cent believe that giving employees greater autonomy over their working styles and practices – including remote working and flexitime – results in a growth in productivity.


Furthermore, research reveals that respondents also feel that offering greater autonomy to employees results in positive business benefits. Fifty-one per cent believe that greater employee autonomy boosts creativity, while 45 per cent say it makes employees easier to manage.


Robert Half’s managing director, Phil Sheridan, said: “Just because employees are at their desks in the office doesn’t mean they are always working productively. Employees can work just as effectively remotely, especially now that advancements in technology have enabled us to share files, communicate with colleagues and collaborate on projects, without the added burden of a commute or distractions in the office. With UK businesses facing a skills shortage, companies need to consider offering a positive working environment that supports the needs of a modern workforce in order to attract and retain top talent.”



The survey also revealed that public sector workers are leading the remote working revolution as figures show remote working in this sector has increased by 47 per cent in the past three years. While this trend is being replicated in the private sector it is at a slower rate, with a third of companies increasing remote working opportunities in the past three years.