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UK business heads abandoning email and office to aid growth

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A report compiled by cloud-based work management platform The 4th Office and creative agency Rooster Punk has revealed how technology is empowering staff members to have more freedom and independence when it comes to getting their jobs done.

Some 40 per cent of executives who took part said their entire team works remotely full or part time, while over two-thirds said having a virtual team provides a competitive edge – allowing them to cut costs.

Technology may be highlighted as an enabler, but not when it comes to email – according to Dave Erasmus, founder of donation platform, Givey. He said: “I hate email because it turns you into a responsive person rather than a productive person. There’s something really wrong with working with that system.”

Sarah Pettinger, MD of  Omobono, added: “Email is still core for us but it’s got to the stage where it’s overwhelming, so we’re trying to reduce our usage of it internally. We are constantly looking at how we can do things differently to cope with client demand and reduce the pressures everyone faces dealing with multiple tools and channels.”

Despite that, 97 per cent do most communications via email, followed by 71 per cent opting for the mobile phone, 62 per cent choosing video conferencing, 58 per cent on an online office suite and 55 per cent via instant messenger, according to the findings.

Although there’s a number of options to replace face-to-face interactions, 39 per cent fear the difficulties involved with leading the team remotely and it boils down to trust and motivation.

Damian Kimmelman, founder and CEO of Duedil, said: “Working from home, or other locations, is driven from employers as much as employees. Offices are really expensive, if you can build trust with your employees you can reduce costs while offering freedom. It’s a win-win situation.”

However, if remote working is executed properly, rising businesses could stand to secure fresh young talent that wants to work for a forward-thinking firm, according to Pulse MD Chris Bagnall.

“Trying to attract young people who are influenced to work for cool companies with a reputable culture and great perks can be a massive challenge for people like me trying to get talented people to take a leap of faith and join smaller, less established companies,” he explained.

Phil Ledger, MD, Ledger Bennett, continued: “For me, it’s all about enriching diversity – keeping our core without going stale.”

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