Mobile technology, including smartphone apps and cloud services, now means that bosses are surprisingly supportive of a flexible workforce – more than most employees realise.
The findings emerged in a study of 1,000 British, German, French, US and Irish employees and employers, which found 73 per cent of bosses have a relaxed attitude to time keeping, as they trust their staff are working long before they actually get to the office.
Yet this will come as a shock to most workers as half of employees are under the impression that their bosses definitely will mind if they are late.
“This is brilliant news for workers everywhere,” comments Claire Galbois-Alcaix of online back-up specialist www.mozy.co.uk , which conducted the study. “Hard work isn’t going unnoticed and mobile working and technology is having more of an impact on employer attitudes than people think.”
The average global boss would be willing to turn a blind eye to employees being up to 32 minutes late and let staff spend a quarter of the week working from home. However, British bosses are the strictest, wanting late-running workers at their desks no later than 24 minutes into the working day, whilst US employers take the most relaxed view, tolerating their staff turning up to 37 minutes late in the day.
The death knell of the nine-to-five worker has been rung by mobile technology, with three quarters of employers giving employees tools to get their jobs done wherever they are. However, just 11 per cent of British employers tool their workers up to be able to access everything on the move – which would allow people even more freedom.
Email in bed
The study confirms the long-held suspicion that the urge to check emails first thing in the morning is overwhelming for some: a third of all British employees has logged in by 6.30am, compared with just 13 per cent of French employees. On average, by 7.00am one in five employees worldwide has already checked their email.
Give and take
Whilst the majority of employers globally are happy for staff to start their days later, in return they’re looking for flexibility from their employees and when they wind down for the night. The fluid approach to working hours means that many employers are now comfortable with calling after hours, with 80 per cent saying they think it’s acceptable to call staff in the evening. The research shows that French bosses are the most considerate and stop calling the earliest; 43 per cent draw the line at calling after 7.00pm. 16 per cent of UK employers, on the other hand, think it is acceptable to call workers between 10.00pm and midnight!
The real nine-to-five
Global employers demonstrate further evidence that behaviours have changed beyond recognition by underestimating the amount of work that employers are doing away from their desks. As a whole, they believe their employees spend an average of 55 minutes a day working away from the office, when in fact, the average global employee has already clocked up 46 minutes before they even arrive at the office.
What does the new nine-to-five look like? The global results show that the average person starts checking their work email at 7.42am, gets into the office at 8.18am, leaves the office at 5.48pm and stops working fully at 7.19pm, meaning employees are “in work mode” for nearly 12 hours a day.
“We can see from the research findings that we’ve come a long way towards work being ‘a thing that you do’, rather than ‘a place that you go’ but, with just 11 per cent of British employers saying their employees can access all of their work tools remotely, there’s still a long way to go”, continues Claire Galbois-Alcaix from Mozy. “Using internet-based solutions that allow workers to access their data as if they were in the office, wherever they are and whenever they want, will help everyone to continue seeing benefits.”
Bosses are taking a laid-back approach to more than just punctuality, as personal tasks creep into the office day. Across the surveyed nations, 37 per cent of global bosses are happy for employees to take longer lunches. Meanwhile, more than a third of British employers are OK with staff downing tools to enjoy office banter and regular tea breaks.
One in eight of global employers polled even claim they are fine with employees carrying out personal tasks like online banking, food shopping and paying bills while at their desks – with the American bosses being most relaxed (22 per cent) and the British being the most stringent.
Over half of British employees think nothing of leaving work early for a doctor’s appointment, with one in five leaving early to watch a child’s school performance, and around one in ten using Facebook or Twitter whilst at work.