Civil servants eager to adopt flexible working, but warn that management culture and IT are obstacles

An overwhelming majority of civil servants (79 per cent) believe that they would benefit from ‘new ways of working’ (NWW) – such as hot desking and remote working – and some 99 per cent believe that their departments would benefit, according to CSW research carried out in conjunction with property and infrastructure firm Capita Symonds.

By Civil Service World

28 Mar 2012

The survey, which gathered responses from 1,352 civil servants, also identified a disparity between people’s expectations of NWW and their actual experiences. When those who haven’t adopted NWW were asked what they thought the main benefits would be, 70 per cent named ‘improved work/life balance’. However, of those who’ve adopted NWW only 20 per cent said that had proved to be a benefit; 46 per cent said their flexibility had improved, and 44 per cent their productivity.

Asked to name the biggest obstacle to NWW, some 30 per cent – the largest single group – named ‘management culture’. Among managers the figure was still higher, at 31 per cent, with 27 per cent citing ‘IT’ as an obstacle and 18 per cent naming ‘workforce culture’.

Asked about the Cabinet Office spending controls on property, 31 per cent expressed negative views and 29 per cent were positive. Richard McCarthy, executive director at Capita Symonds, suggested that more should be done to highlight the restrictions’ benefits. “They’re for very sensible reasons – not just to reduce costs, but to make more effective use of the space available,” he said. “This needs to be better communicated so people feel engaged.”

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