More than half of UK employees are being made to work in the office within designated office hours, according to Microsoft, which claims flexible-working rules which are now a year old are a damp squib.
A year ago today, the government ruled that all staff who have worked for an employer for more than six months have a right to request flexible working hours – much to the delight of many tech firms specialising in remote-working kit.
In the past, the rules had been limited to parents and carers. Employers are not required to grant staff wishes, though they are obliged to assess the advantages and deal with requests in a "reasonable manner".
Microsoft claims that the introduction of the rules have been something of a flop after its research found 55 per cent of staff are still required to work in the office within designated hours. Some 44 per cent said they have been refused the option of working remotely under any circumstances.
"Despite high levels of favourability for flexible working and over half (53 per cent) of small and medium-sized business workers aware that it exists, uptake of the legislation has been slow," Microsoft said.
Its research found that of the SMB staff who have been unchained from their desks, more than 80 per cent said it has improved their working lives. Just 10 per cent of staff said they have had their best work-related idea in the office.
Dave Coplin, chief envisioning officer at Microsoft UK, said: "Business leaders should reimagine how workers operate. According to the Office of National Statistics, productivity levels in the UK are stagnant and lower than at the start of the recession in 2007.
"There has never been a better time to change since there is a risk that firms are cultivating an environment that traps staff in process and red tape instead of giving them the opportunity to think and have the necessary head space to be creative."
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