News story

UK shows world flexible working works

Learning News

UK workers and their bosses are reaping the benefits of flexible working, according to new research released by Microsoft.

According to Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index, the number of people working in a hybrid way across the world is up seven percentage points on last year at (38%), while 53% of people are likely to consider transitioning to hybrid working in the year ahead.

While many organisations in countries across the world are struggling to adapt to new ways of working that will see employees split their time between the office and their home, the UK is showing them how it should be done.

When UK staff were surveyed, 84% said they are as productive or even more productive compared to a year ago – higher than the global average of 81%. The UK figure is higher than Australia, Japan, Canada and many countries across Europe.

Less than half (43%) of business leaders in the UK who were surveyed said productivity had been negatively impacted since the move to remote or hybrid working. This is 11 percentage points lower than the global average, and much lower than the 84% recorded in China, 62% in India, 53% in Italy and 52% in France.

Organisations in the UK are seeing that productivity is not being affected by where their staff work. As a result, they are giving employees more say in deciding whether they commute to the office or work from home. Less than half (44%) of business leaders in the UK say their company is planning to require employees to work in-person, full-time within the next year. This is six percentage points lower than the global average.

UK staff appear to be in lockstep with their managers and like the freedom to choose how and where they work. Only 38% of workers in the UK who are currently working in a hybrid workplace will seek to be fully remote in the next year, compared with a global average of 51%.

For individuals, one of the most important considerations of remote and hybrid work is the impact it has had on relationships with colleagues. Last year’s Work Trend Index revealed that teams became more siloed. However, this year the UK has bucked the trend again. Only 37% of business leaders in the UK say relationship-building activities are the greatest challenge of having employees work remotely or in a hybrid way, compared with a global average of 43%.

Hybrid workers in the UK are also less likely than the global average to feel lonely and are less likely to have seen working relationships suffer while working remotely.

The full story with more details of the research study is on Microsoft's website.