Half of South African workers (49%) are now free from the shackles of their desks reveals the latest survey commissioned by Regus.

The survery canvassed over 16 000 professionals in more than 80 countries. These professionals are free to work from locations other than their company’s main offices for half a week or more helping them reduce the overall time spent commuting and giving them the freedom to choose work locations closer to home.

Businesses have increasingly been offering flexible working practices to workers as morale and health benefits become common knowledge, but this research confirms that 61% of employees would also work harder, benefiting the company, if they could reduce their commute.

The Regus research asked South African professionals how they would use the time gained through cutting their commute.  Top activities selected were:

* Spending more time exercising and getting fitter (80%);

* Spending more time with partner and family (76%);

* Spending time extending educational qualifications (61%); and

* Working more (61%).

This research also importantly reveals that if businesses were to extend flexible working practices for their staff, not only would employee health, morale and loyalty improve, but also overall productivity as staff would work more, confirming earlier Regus research revealing that globally 72% of companies had experienced increased productivity directly as a result of flexible working practices.[1]

Kirsten Morgendaal, area director of Regus SA, comments: “Although the number of professionals that are able to choose between different work locations is substantial, there is still significant progress to be made to help all workers benefit from more flexible conditions. This is especially true when the win-win benefits of slashing commutes are analysed.

“Importantly, in South Africa, where Johannesburg commuters are reportedly growing more stressed by traffic,[2]workers reveal that the time saved on commuting would be spent on health and wellbeing activities such as getting fitter at the gym and spending time with family as well as self-improvement. Confirming previous Regus research linking happier and healthier workers to greater productivity, more than half of professionals say they would devote at least some of the time saved on gruelling commutes to working more.

“So the benefits of flexible working are twofold, on the one hand workers are more relaxed and healthy and on the other they are also more productive benefitting the business too.  ”