Most global employers don’t mind when employees show up late for work, according to new research by data-protection provider Mozy. Mobile technology, including smartphone apps and cloud services, now means that employers are surprisingly supportive of a flexible workforce — more than most employees realize.
The findings emerged in a study of 1,000 U.S., British, German, French and Irish employees and employers, which found 73% of bosses have a relaxed attitude to time keeping, since they trust their staff is working long before they actually get to the office. However, this may be surprising to most employees, more than half of whom are under the impression that their executives definitely will mind if they are late.
“Workers everywhere are making the most of the technology available to them to build more flexibility for work and family,” says Mozy General Manager Russ Stockdale. “Hard work isn’t going unnoticed and mobile working and technology is having more of an impact on employer attitudes than people think.”
Here’s a summary of findings involving half a dozen key areas:
* Time-keeping. The average employer is willing to turn a blind eye to employees being up to 32 minutes late and let staff members spend a quarter of the week working from home. U.S. employers take the most relaxed view, tolerating their staff turning up 37 minutes late in the day, while British bosses are the strictest, expecting workers to be at their desks no later than 24 minutes into the working day.
* Mobile tools. The death knell of the 9-to-5 worker has been rung by mobile technology, with 75% of employers giving employees the tools to get their jobs done wherever they are. In the United States, 20% of employers make it possible for their workers to be able to access everything on the go (email, network drives and applications, front and back-office cloud services) – which allows people even more freedom. However, only 11% of British employers responded that they were open to providing employees full access to everything.
* 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: by 7 a.m., one in five employees worldwide have already checked their email. Some nations, however, prefer a gentler start to the day. Compared to a third of all British employees who log in by 6:30 a.m., just 18% of U.S. and 13% of French employees are firing up their email at the same hour.
* Give and take. While the majority of employers don’t mind when workers start their days later, in return they expect flexibility from their employees to work outside of normal business hours, even as they wind down for the night. The fluid approach to working hours means that many employers are now comfortable with calling employees after hours, with 80% saying they think it’s acceptable to call staff in the evening.
However, 32% of U.S. employers still don’t feel comfortable calling employees after hours, despite the flexibility they provide for their working hours. The research shows that 15% of U.S. bosses are comfortable calling employees up to 9 p.m. in the evening. As for other countries, French bosses are the most considerate — 43% of them draw the line at not calling after 7 p.m.; 16% of U.K. employers, on the other hand, think it is acceptable to call workers between 10 p.m. and midnight.
* The “real” 9-to-5. The evidence that behaviors have changed beyond recognition — employers underestimate the amount of work that employees are doing away from their desks — further substantiates the shift toward a more mobile workforce. 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 employee has already clocked up to 46 minutes before they even arrive at the office.
What does the new 9-to-5 look like? The global results show that the average person starts checking their work e-mail at 7:42 a.m., gets into the office at 8:18 a.m., leaves the office at 5:48 p.m. and stops working fully at 7:19 p.m., 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 20% of U.S. employees saying they can access all of their work tools remotely, there’s still a long way to go,” continues Stockdale. “Using cloud-based services that allow workers the ability to remotely access their data, wherever they are and whenever they want, will help people gain more flexibility and to continue seeing other work-life benefits.”
* Taking a relaxed attitude. Executives are taking a laid-back approach to more than just punctuality, as personal tasks creep into the office day. Forty-eight% of bosses in the U.S. don’t mind when employees take longer lunches, and are okay with staff getting together to enjoy office banter and to take regular breaks. On average across the countries surveyed, 37% allow employees to take longer lunch breaks.
Thirteen percent of employers even claim they are fine with employees carrying out personal tasks like online banking, food shopping and paying bills while at their desks — with 22% of U.S. bosses being most relaxed, and the British being the least at 8%.
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