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Research from Microsoft reports that less than half of UK companies are interested in letting staff work remotely, a drop of 10 per cent since last year, as companies become more concerned about their future.

The research polled 1000 companies, of which 13 per cent admitted that any kind of remote working was actively discouraged and only 10 per cent of staff feel they have the freedom to work remotely.

This used to be known as "home working" or "tele-working", but in these days of Windows Mobile and small, cheap computers Microsoft would like us to use the term "mobile working" or, if absolutely necessary, "remote working".

Senior managers are still the ones most likely to be working away from the office, creating the impression that remote working is a "senior perk" rather than the productivity tool Microsoft would like to paint it.

Just in case anyone is missing the point, the survey also points out that "25 per cent of senior managers say that they would leave their job within six months if they could not work remotely", so you'd better make sure they've all got the latest Windows Mobile kit then.

There is a serious point that staff who are concerned about the economy - and their own mortgages - are going to want to be seen around the office making a contribution, even if that just involves surfing the web from their desk rather than their bed. ®

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