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Government must do more to enable a digital and flexible workforce

Have you ever stayed in the office later than you need to just to look busier than you actually are? Although it sounds crazy, it's actually more common than you might think.

A new YouGuv report looking into the extend to which young professionals in the UK are being given the platform to build a successful career, has revealed that 67 per cent of 18-26 year olds admitted to ‘faking’ their workloads by staying late at the office.

The survey - commissioned by Ricoh and entitled Overhauling a culture of ‘presenteeism’ at work - also found that 39 per cent of young people believe working away from the office could damage their career progression, while nearly half (41 per cent) feel their bosses favour staff that work longer hours in the office.

Phil Keoghan, CEO of Ricoh UK & Ireland, said: “Britain cannot continue to allow these outdated and analogue working practices to triumph in the digital age. We should be equipping new generations of young professionals with the latest technologies and enabling them with personalised flexible working plans so they can bring new skills to businesses.

“Despite the government introducing new legislation to grant every employee the legal right to request flexible working almost two years ago, it seems that businesses are still rewarding the idea that employees who work the longest hours at their desks - not those producing the best work - will be favoured by management.”

So, what's the solution? Young professionals believe that the government needs to be doing more to support flexible working in the UK. 58 per cent of respondents called for the government to educate employers more about the benefits of flexible working and 39 per cent want more education for businesses about employees’ rights around tech-enabled working.

Furthermore, nearly half (47 per cent) believe the government should be doing more to connect employers with technology experts and 31 per cent want grants and funding to be provided for the provision of new technologies.

Keoghan added: “We cannot risk letting the UK’s digital economy stall by failing to enable the next generation to embrace their own workstyles through technology. Only by freeing the country’s future leaders from the shackles of a ‘presenteeist’ culture at work can we truly foster wider innovation and positive change.”

Image source: Shutterstock/bikeriderlondon