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Workers swing to flexibility

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Almost half of the global working population considers it important to have flexible working hours. The Flexibility in Work Life report from Ericsson ConsumerLab shows that today’s working population places great value on the importance of pleasure and the pursuit of happiness in life just as much as others.

Two factors help to make this a reality in today’s business environment: managers providing their workforces with mobile devices and smartphones, so employees can work remotely; and the growing importance of flexible working hours.

Indranil Roy Chowdhury, senior advisor at ConsumerLab and one of the authors of the report, says: “The average time spent on personal mobile devices for work is far greater than the time spent on PCs. The working population also spends more time downloading apps than the rest. Of the average time spent on apps in a day, employees spend 20% of the time on business apps such as MS Office, Microsoft Lync and Polaris Office.”

According to the report, white collar employees who are internet users in developing countries such as Brazil, China and Mexico are ahead of advanced economies in terms of app downloads – although combined blue and white collar worker app download rates are highest in the US. Working people in India who use the internet on Android smartphones spend more time using business apps on their phones than their counterparts in countries such as Japan, the UK and the US.

However, this new level of flexibility could also have a downside. The ability to work flexibly means that, currently, 20% of employees are already working from home during evenings, in order to handle the dynamics and requirements of their workplace in a better way.

The report examines consumer opinions from a professional perspective, and is based on the analysis of more than 47 000 interviews conducted among a wide selection of workers in 23 countries around the world. The objective was to discover people’s attitudes to flexible working conditions, and how they were managing with them. Participants include both blue and white collar workers, as well as full- and part-time employees.