According to the recent survey only 13 per cent of employees are choosing to work from home when given the option by their employers.
This new research reveals that cultural attitudes are a major obstacle for the full acceptance of this flexible way of working, preventing us from viewing it as a legitimate work practice. Leadership beliefs are a particular problem, with two in five line managers admitting that they do not want their employees to work from home. Even if a company facilitates remote working, bosses’ attitudes are keeping their employees in the office.
But this stigma around flexible working does not only apply to managers, employees also do not feel comfortable with this new concept. The majority of employees who do work from home still spend more than half of their working days in the office.
Interestingly though, when it comes to happy workers, there is a direct correlation between flexible working and happiness. Respondents in the Nordics, Austria, and Spain – countries with high levels of flexible working – had the highest scores for happiness.
This cultural resistance to flexible working is still particularly wide spread in the UK, being one of the lowest ranking countries for adopting flexible working practices. Among the 16 different European countries surveyed, the UK was positioned within the bottom four.
Leadership is particularly critical of considering working from home to be acceptable. More than two in five respondents – marginally higher than the European average – stated that their leadership team does not believe in this mode of work and, even when they are allowed to work remotely, only 14 per cent of employees spend more than half of their hours working from home.
The survey also discovered that 1 in 10 UK respondents did not actually enjoy working from home.
Yet, these attitudes need to be addressed if employers want to have happy and engaged employees. The study by IDC outlines that flexible management and trust, such as allowing employees to work from home, are crucial for ensuring employees’ pride and loyalty.
“The right forces are at play to make flexible working happen, such as government policies, IT enablement, however, we’re being held back by a mind-set that is resistant to these new practices. We also need to remember those employees who do not like working from home, they need to be given other options to work flexibly,” explains Vincent Belliveau from Cornerstone On Demand.