Innovation and changeDigital TransformationEnabling easy access to information is key to the UK catching up on remote working adoption

Enabling easy access to information is key to the UK catching up on remote working adoption

Data reveals that 90 per cent of UK workers find remote working a challenge because of poor document management

The UK lags behind in the shift to flexible and remote working, putting more emphasis on effective meetings to coordinate scattered teams, a new report, The Modern Workplace 2018: People, Places & Technology by software company Condeco has found.

Across the world, the research shows, workers are in the midst of a shift to flexible and remote working – spending more time working from home, on the move or from multiple locations. However, the UK is significantly behind in embracing these trends, which could negatively affect worker satisfaction as well as holding back firms who are competing for the best international staff.

In two fifths of businesses surveyed, the majority of staff work flexibly at least some of the time. This figure is higher in the US (52 per cent) and Australia (43 per cent). In the UK, the figure is 37 per cent and 10 per cent of companies don’t offer flexible working at all. Of those that do, 30% said that fewer than a quarter of their staff work flexibly, compared with 21 per cent globally.

 

Technology barriers

Identifying the reasons for this, intelligent information management expert M-Files states that a critical factor behind slow adoption is likely to stem from technology challenges, particular the ability to access documents remotely.

A survey run by M-Files across 250 IT decision-makers revealed that 90 per cent found it at least somewhat challenging to search for and access documents when working remotely.

Discussing this, Tim Waterton, Director of UK Business at M-Files says: “Increasingly, more and more public sector organisations are embracing mobile, remote and flexible working, capitalising on numerous benefits including higher staff productivity levels. But to achieve these benefits the right tools and technologies must be in place – critically, this starts with being able to easily and securely access information.

“Staff need to have the same easy access to documents when they’re out of the office as they do when at their desks. Unfortunately, our research demonstrates that the majority of organisations just aren’t providing employees with the means to do this, hence why uptake for remote working is so poor. Therefore, firms unable to provide the right infrastructure to support remote working risk losing employees to more savvy competitors who can deliver this in a straightforward manner.”

 

The solution

Waterton says that to remedy these problems both for office-based and remote workers, organisations need to think more deeply about the technologies employed to carry out these demands.

“Intelligent information management solutions, for example, can be leveraged to make the management of information much more efficient. Metadata-driven information management solutions allow organisations to simplify how staff access, secure, process and collaborate on documents.

“Intelligent information management solutions can enable employees to access and manage business information anywhere using any device, regardless of where that information is stored, in an easier and faster manner. Remote working becomes easier as employees can access information without needing to be connected to the VPN or company network, as well as accessing and changing documents while working offline.

“Additionally, this approach can also improve security defences – an effective information management solution means employees working remotely are much less likely to turn to consumer level applications to share information. Because of this, IT departments can retain visibility and control over where business information is and how it is being used, which significantly reduces the risk of data breaches.”

Waterton concludes: “Work is becoming ever increasingly something you ‘do’ rather than somewhere you ‘go’. By enabling employees to access the information they need to do their jobs from anywhere, using any device – in a secure, controlled fashion, companies can ensure greater employee productivity as travel time is no longer wasted.”

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