Is your business setup to handle flexible working conditions? While the government recently brought in new legislation giving employees more power to request flexibility, are the UK’s smaller firms ready for this? If a new study carried out by Olive Communications is anything to go by, the majority of SMEs have a long way to go before being in a position to change their traditional working environment.

The research revealed that 80% of SMEs in the UK have not yet merged their mobile and fixed line communications, taking the ‘working from home’ option right off the table.

Out of the businesses that had already managed to merge their communications, most reported having made huge savings (72%), while 51% had seen an improvement in continuity and 39% said they were able to provide flexible working conditions as a result.

Martin Flick, CEO of Olive Communications, said: “Businesses are missing a trick and it’s not just about saving money.

“There’s a clear opportunity to improve processes and enhance the working experience. As work is increasingly becoming a thing you do and not a place you go, IT leaders should grasp the opportunity and embrace the tools and systems that enable a more flexible and productive approach to work.”

Barriers preventing SMEs from merging communications

Cost and disruption to current processes were the main reasons given for firms not taking steps to provide mobile communication capabilities for their staff.  This being said, only 7% of businesses that had already installed the necessary software reported having any disruptive issues.

The results suggest that larger businesses were more aware of converged communications than smaller ones, with only 59% of firms with less than 50 employees having heard of this compared to 73% of companies with 250-500 employees. Overall, less than a third of SMEs have considered introducing this technology.

Mr Flick added:  “Many businesses are cautious about changes due to potential upheaval, but in reality, the disruption caused by fixed-mobile convergence is minimal.”