UK middle managers are facing the chop because they lack the skills to manage teams of flexible and remote workers --but experts at Coventry University believe they may have the anwser through teleworking.
Recent research from Henley Management College entitled "Managing Tomorrow's Worker", shows that managers must change the way they run their teams as more staff work outside the office.
The university says that new forms of technology, along with recent employment legislation, are drivers for increased flexible working.
One organisation that is striding ahead in successfully adopting changes in technology and management is Coventry University Enterprises (CUE), with over 50 per cent of staff actively participating in remote working.
By embracing less traditional working practices organisations can attract top talent and become more competitive.
Through the introduction of location independent working CUE, the commercial trading arm of the university, is experiencing increases in employee morale and productivity, and revenue rises while staff enjoy better work life balance (WLB).
CUE provides businesses and IT services to companies across the UK and Europe, and mobilising its workforce has reaped huge rewards.
Benefits include improved productivity, better work-life balance and lower stress levels. Costs per employee have been halved, from £6,000 to £3,000 for those office-based workers who are now working remotely.
Further, with a reduction in desk space due to more staff working from home, CUE vacated an entire floor of one of their buildings, releasing it to tenant companies and generating £68,000 extra revenue.
CUE's mobile strategy is underpinned by a flexible working policy covering data security, training and equipment.
Jane Rawlings-Purcell, CUE's new ways of working manager, said: "The number of employees on the scheme has now reached 60, which is half our workforce.
"Once suitable technology solutions were initiated 100 per cent of the participants chose to continue to work flexibly rather than being office based.
"Around ten people join the scheme every three to six months and are encouraged to work out of the office 40 to 60 per cent of the time."
Each flexible worker goes through a needs assessment process. Staff are equipped with the appropriate technology, such as smartphones, laptops, PDAs and tablet PCs depending on their individual needs.
What's more, CUE is supporting companies to implement flexible working patterns. CUE offers consultancy and e-learning packages that enable companies, both local and national, to help employees to participate in remote working and remote learning.
CUE drive to promote its location independent working initiative began in 2002. Security is treated seriously, and all laptops connect to the central system via a virtual private network (VPN). Firewall technology is deployed and encryption used for sending data from laptops.
Peter Thomson, an expert in the benefits from remote working from Henley Management College, said: " Generally flexible working is introduced as part of a work life balance programme or in response to a request under the employment legislation. "These are driven by the need for organisations to attract and retain skilled staff and be 'employers of choice'.
"However, remote working can cut out the need for people to travel to work, so help reduce traffic pollution.
"Moreover, with the recent spates of London bombings we can question the need to travel to work at all.
"Is it really necessary to travel to work then sit at a desk and use technology to communicate with the rest of the world? Remote working can also help keep businesses running through disasters."