UK businesses still not equipping their mobile workers

Employees flexible working rights change next week, but are companies ready?

Almost half (44 percent) of UK companies are not giving remote workers the technology they need to do their job, a study has found.

The findings from the Virgin Media Business survey suggest that many businesses may be unprepared for the change in the UK's flexible working regulations that come into effect next week, which will allow all employees to request flexible working hours. An Ovum analyst recently said that an organisation can only gain real business value from mobility when they allowing mobile devices to work as a gateway to core enterprise applications.

A vast majority (88 percent) of the 1,274 remote workers surveyed said that traditional nine-to-five business hours applied less now than 10 years ago, but a minority of companies are providing their workers with corporate-approved smartphones and SIMs (30 percent) or tablets (16 percent).

An Ovum analyst recently said that an organisation can only gain real business value from mobility when they allowing mobile devices to work as a gateway to core enterprise applications.

However, employees surveyed highlighted that there were several obstacles to successful mobile working.

Access to broadband or wifi was the single biggest issue, affecting 36 percent of remote workers, followed by access to work files and company network (32 percent), access to company resources such as intranet, messenger programmes and extranet (22 percent) and access to emails (21 percent).

Security concerns

Meanwhile, only 22 percent of remote-workers were concerned about the security issues associated with working remotely, but almost half recognised that information security on portable devices to be their employer's main concern.

Despite the survey's findings, more and more companies are developing bespoke applications to allow remote-workers complete access on the go. For example, software firm Bentley, which was a supplier to the London 2012 Olympic Games, unveiled an application for employees to access core procurement and HR systems on the go this month.

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