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Culture barrier for remote working and green computing

Many of the UK’s small businesses are still holding back from adopting remote working and more environmentally-friendly policies because they are stuck in their ways.

As a result, they are not benefiting from the increased flexibility and responsiveness that mobile and home working can provide. Nor are they reaping the rewards of energy-saving and reduced costs that are delivered by the latest ‘green’ PCs and consolidated or virtualized servers and storage solutions.

A report produced by web and video conferencing provider, Interwise, claims that 30 per cent of workers say their business’ culture is preventing remote working practices being brought in and 25 per cent believe that it is slowing down the adoption of green initiatives.

This is in spite of successive government and industry initiatives designed to encourage firms to adopt both flexible working and greener policies. If they do not, they could get left behind in the long-run say experts. “Companies which do not embrace remote working will find it difficult to recruit and retain staff”, warns Diane Morello, vice-president of research firm Gartner.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's (CIPD's) most recent Recruitment, Retention and Turnover Survey suggests that flexible working policies can help firms address the growing problem of staff retention. But while 74 per cent of firms said flexible working had a positive impact, only 30 per cent actually put it into practice.

The Interwise research also looked at more specific reasons why companies were reticent about adopting remote working. As you might expect, there is still a fear amongst managers that home workers will not spend as much time as they should actually working and there is also a reluctance to give up face-to-face contact, even though many workers felt that they do not really need to attend in person more than half of the meetings to which they need to travel. Another survey by on-line training firm WebEx, recently stated that employees felt that 37 per cent of face-to-face meetings they are asked to attend were unnecessary and counter-productive.

Another important reason that remote working is not being adopted is a lack of enabling-technologies currently being used in the work environment – only half of all workers said they were equipped to work remotely.