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Technology Timewarp Leaves Flexible Working Stuck in a Rut


It's billed as one of the issues of the moment, but many Europeanworkers and companies are not reaping the full benefits of remoteworking due to a lack of appropriate technology, according toresearch commissioned

It's billed as one of the issues of the moment, but manyEuropean workers and companies are not reaping the full benefits ofremote working due to a lack of appropriate technology, accordingto research commissioned1 in March 2003 by Avaya Inc.(NYSE:AV), a leading global provider of communications networks andservices for businesses. Top line results show that 76 per cent ofworkers in Italy, 63 per cent in the UK, 62 per cent in France and46 per cent in Germany are not provided with any equipmentincluding mobile phones, secure connections or laptops, from theiremployer to help them work flexibly away from the office, or do notknow if their companies offer them such support.

Patrick Lelorieux, president, Europe, Middle East and Africa(EMEA) at Avaya commented: "Results clearly show an appetiteamongst European employees for the flexibility to work away fromthe office. Nearly one in five of those surveyed confirmed thatafter the office, the home is generally seen as the most productiveplace to work. Given the limited equipment and support Europeanworkers are receiving from their employers, imagine the positiveimpact on productivity that could be gained by giving them easy touse, secure remote access to information. According to the SocialMarket Foundation, a UK-based independent think tank, remoteworking can increase employee productivity by 30 per cent. Europeanbusinesses need to take advantage of this."

Also, Avaya's research unearths some worrying statistics interms of security issues across Europe. With flexible workinginitiatives firmly on the business agenda, companies must ensureremote access by flexible workers does not jeopardise corporateassets and information. Only in Germany and Italy do the figuresfor laptop provision and VPN (virtual private network) secureconnections correlate. A quarter of German employees are providedwith a laptop and 27 per cent have a VPN. In Italy, one in ten havea laptop and slightly more have a VPN. In the other Europeancountries surveyed, UK and France, only half the number of laptopowners had a VPN: two in ten UK workers have a laptop but only onein ten have a VPN, and in France only eight per cent have a VPNwhere nearly double, 15 per cent, own laptops.

Before implementing a flexible working policy of its own in theUK, Avaya saw it as imperative to first set up a VPN, to allowcorporate information to be transferred securely to remoteemployees though the gateway over its corporate network. Also theVPN enables the secure use of IP telephony, a technologycontributing towards cheaper calls by carrying telephone calls anddata over one line via the corporate network and reducing the needto make calls over a public phone network. "The VPN is central toour successful flexible working policy," commented Lelorieux. "Wecan offer flexible working to all our UK employees in confidencethat our corporate resources are fully secure. Additionally, remoteworking enables us to benefit from significant cost savingsestimated at approximately €5,600 per worker, per year."

Other key findings of the survey:

  • Mobile phones are the devices most commonly offered by Europeanbusinesses to help their employees maintain productivity out of theoffice. Statistics range from 14 per cent in Italy to 35 per centin Germany.
  • Less than one in six European workers are provided with alaptop to enable them to work efficiently away from theirdesks.
  • It is not surprising that with more than half of Europeanworkers having limited access to remote working equipment that theoffice is seen as the most productive place to work. Even sofigures are not as high as would be expected varying between aquarter in Italy and 43 per cent in Germany.
  • Age is not a great influencer on working practices, there is noone age group across Europe which is more productive working athome, in the office or when travelling.

Notes to Editors
For further information on the Avaya research please contact: 0044(0) 20 7386 1411

1 Research conducted by Taylor Nelson Soffres plc -Ncompass: European Omnibus 18th - 23rd March 2003. (UK, France,Germany, Italy)

About Avaya
Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks formore than 1 million businesses worldwide, including 90 percent ofthe FORTUNE 500®. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is aworld leader in secure and reliable Internet Protocol (IP)telephony systems and communications software applications andservices.

Driving the convergence of voice and data communications withbusiness applications — and distinguished by comprehensiveworldwide services — Avaya helps customers leverage existing andnew networks to achieve superior business results. For moreinformation visit the Avaya Web site:

About Taylor Nelson Sofres
Taylor Nelson Sofres is one of the world's leading marketinformation groups. From offices located in Europe, the Americasand Asia Pacific, we work together to provide continuous and customresearch and analysis in over 110 countries. We include among ourclients most of the major multi-national corporations.

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