Bosses’ loss of control fears prevent uptake of flexible working in Ireland

26 Mar 2013

Grace O'Rourke Veitch, Citrix Ireland country manager

Insecurities around the perceived loss of control if workers adopt flexible or mobile working is the biggest factor preventing Irish employers from adopting the latest productivity technologies, a new study has revealed.

Almost three-quarters of Irish organisations (73pc) surveyed by iReach on behalf of Citrix indicate they currently do not support a flexible working culture, citing ‘loss of control’ as the biggest feature.

And 57pc are not even considering changing the working culture to accommodate flexible working.

Only a mere 6pc say they intend to introduce a flexible working policy in the coming years.

This is at odds with a global Workplace of the Future study by Citrix, which found that 83pc of organisations around the world intend to adopt flexible working.

Irish firms are laggards, not leaders

The biggest deterrent preventing companies introducing a formal ‘anywhere, anytime’ policy is loss of control, which was cited by 38pc of companies surveyed.

Other deterrants include lack of budget (17pc), concerns about decreased productivity (12pc), confidentiality of client information (4pc) and trust of employees (4pc).

“This latest study indicates that while workers across Ireland are riding the consumerisation wave, Ireland PLC’s attitude to flexible working is lagging behind; for a country mooted to be the cloud capital of Europe, this needs to be addressed,” Citrix Ireland country manager Grace O’Rourke Veitch said.

“Mobility in the workplace can help to improve the reputation of businesses and improve talent retention. With employees demanding mobile working to give them greater flexibility in their working lives, a better work-life balance and the ability to work from anywhere, at any time – it is more apparent than ever that businesses now need to respond accordingly.”

Time to break the 9-to-5 office mentality

“Breaking the nine-to-five, office-based mentality is the fastest route to, for example, a reduction in sick days as a result of family matters – as well as significantly boosting productivity and ultimately enhancing an organisation’s reputation to attract and retain talent,” pointed out Michael McDonnell, managing director of CIPD.

“Flexible working can have a noticeable effect on businesses’ profitability and employees’ work-life harmony, as well as significant cost-saving benefits. As this study demonstrates, encouraging businesses to take a more progressive stance will reap dividends in the longer term.”


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years