With a growing number of professionals working outside the main office at least some of the time, use of remote working tools has radically increased. In fact, 85% of workers have used at least one tool enabling remote working in the previous month, according to a survey of over 4,000 senior business people across the UK by global workplace provider Regus.
Respondents also highlight that remote workers are strongly driving take up of ‘cloud’ applications that provide them with cost-effective access to office tools wherever they are (81%).
The traditional problem of accessing files when working remotely is being solved by efficient and secure document sharing services. Dropbox is the most commonly used online file-sharing service, used by 64%, followed by Google Drive (37%) and Microsoft Remote Desktop (25%).
Another challenge remote workers face is being overlooked when they are not in the office. However, Instant Messaging tools and VoIP are revolutionising the way workers communicate and helping remote employees show they are available, connected and immediately responsive. The most popular VoIP Messaging application is Skype, used by 58% of respondents in the previous month followed by Facebook Messenger (47%) and Viber (12%).
Other key findings reveal the reach and influence of online tools in the work environment:
- WhatsApp is currently by far the most popular Instant Messaging app for smartphone, used by 48% of workers once a month or more;
- Just 15% of those questioned said they had not used an instant messaging tool in the past month;
- Microsoft remote desktop is the most remote desktop globally (17%)
Richard Morris, UK CEO, Regus comments: “More and more businesses are offering staff the opportunity to work remotely at least occasionally. Online tools are helping to overcome some of the hurdles traditionally associated with working from outside of the office, such as feeling out of touch with colleagues, or being unable to access documents. Technology is bridging the gap.
“As these tools continue to develop, we expect more and more businesses to recognise the benefits of allowing employees to work flexibly. This approach has many advantages, such as cutting costs for the business and reducing lengthy commutes for employees, and consequently boosting productivity.”