More than a third of employees believe that flexible working is key to competitiveness in the current digital landscape, according to a new White Paper called Beyond Digital, which has been published by computer software company Infomentum.

The study asked more than 1,000 UK office workers about the current and future state of business, and 40% revealed that they would like to be able to embrace more flexible working hours outside of the traditional office. However, the majority said that they are still not allowed to do so, with 57% admitting that their employer believes that they cannot be trusted to perform their roles if they are outside the office.

There appears to be a gender gap when it comes to attitudes about flexible working, as those surveyed said that men were 12% more likely than women to be given the chance to work from home and 8% more likely to be offered working hours on a flexible basis.

The report noted that there is now a “worrying disconnect between current management and the expectations of the Gen C [digital native] workforce,” which has been caused by disparate company cultures, budget restraints and a lack of clear direction throughout the enterprise.

Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond, 37% of workers said that their organisations would not be competitive in the future if they did not embrace flexible working practices, while 50% think that enterprises need to invest in more innovative technology to keep ahead of the curve. A further 60% believe that the rise of digital and the Internet of Things (IoT) will make their own professions more automated by the end of the decade. Overall, 91% said that their businesses would no longer be competitive if they did not embrace change.

“As we move towards 2020, this constant change is no longer something that businesses must prepare for, but rather a reality that all organisations must embrace,” Infomentum chief commercial officer Vikram Setia said.

He added: “Businesses, employees and even governments will all be affected. Attempting to fight against this torrent of change is to try and fight the future itself. Improvements in technology, automation and efficiency are coming, the only thing we as businesses can do is embrace this fact and attempt to lead the change.”

The report also found that workers are now experiencing an increase in their workloads due to the emergence of flexible working technologies. Almost two-thirds use a tablet, while 56% make video calls and use VOIP on a daily basis.

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