Empower your people with seamless communications
Flexible working, a term synonymous with slacking off until only recently, is finally becoming more mainstream. The right to request flexible working became law in 2014 and it didn’t involve only working from home – short days, long days, compressed hours, job shares…all these became possible. But only if your business said yes. However, there is now movement in the UK to change the law so that flexible working is available by default, with no restrictions on how long a person has had to work at a job before being granted the freedom to work flexibly.
Related to, but not the same as flexible working, is mobile working. This is where workers are not tied to a physical location but may roam, in order to do their job, such as sales people, field engineers and peripatetic teachers.
There is still, although it becomes less with every passing year, a question in the minds of some employers, that both flexible and mobile working can affect productivity levels and how connected employees feel to their colleagues.
What underpins both types of working, is the technology that enables workers to do their jobs outside of the office infrastructure. Mobile technologies are nothing new, but as transformational digital technology becomes ubiquitous under the banners of unified communications and cloud computing, mobile and flexible working can be seamless and without borders. Collaboration becomes simple with cloud enabling workers to access the same document at the same time from different corners of the globe and work on it simultaneously. And video conferencing technology is now so good that it’s like being in the same room as a person thousands of miles away.
Benefits of mobile and flexible working
The benefits of working flexibly are well-known and documented. It helps people – and particularly women – to have families at the same time as paid work, allows workers to maintain and develop their professional skills, and also to contribute to a pension.
No fewer benefits are afforded to those organisations that permit flexible working. There is the obvious saving in estate costs, with fewer desks and office space required. Then there is the softer benefit, which can be worth more than saving money: that flexible workers are more productive when left to manage their own working day and happier. If your business wants to retain and attract staff, having a workforce with high morale and positive working practices will really help.
And the downside…?
But there can be a negative side, too. For workers that manage their own time, there can be an erosion of work-life balance as boundaries between the working day and family time become blurred. The pressure to be ‘always on’ can be huge for a mobile worker, as they feel compelled to respond to co-workers and be constantly available. 9-5 has morphed into 24/7 as workers lack the necessary discipline to ignore their emails when on holiday or after working hours. Work breaks and downtime are critical for mental health, but there are lots of
reports that flexible workers are less able to ‘leave work behind’ as their office is part of their home.
So, what’s the answer?
There are ways to make flexible working work for you, your business and your workforce. The list isn’t exhaustive but could be a good place to start:
- Define what flexible working means for your business – is it working from home, flexible hours on different days, job sharing or term-time working only?
- Measure results on output – rather than by hours spent at an office or number of emails sent.
- Communication and trust are vital components of a good flexible working relationship – keep talking to each other on a regular basis and encourage workers to flag up any issues early.
- Maintain a sense of team – meet regularly (virtually or in person).
- Establish clear goals – clear objectives, clear expectations and clear deadlines are critical for any business. Be clear about reporting lines and where responsibility lies.
- Support your workers – be there as a second pair of eyes, a sounding board or as someone to collate workers’ feedback on your remote working policies.
- Have the right technology – no one can expect brilliant remote working if Wi-Fi is poor or the laptop dies instantly it’s taken off charge. Consider UC packages with conferencing, collaboration and storage tools built-in.
- Celebrate your success – you might not be in the same environment, but a win can help to build camaraderie and unity when it is shared publicly.
Allvotec’s 322 UC experts and 478 IT specialists can help your business create a modern working environment where you can gain competitive advantage by reducing your operational costs, improve your workers’ productivity and become more efficient. We can deliver a unified communications package on-premise or in the cloud, that is priced per- user-per-month so you don’t pay for more than you need.
By enabling your workforce to work smarter, you can leverage your best asset – your people – and produce an environment that is conducive, collaborative and efficient, all of which will directly impact your bottom line. If you’d like to know what Allvotec can offer your business, get in touch – complete our contact form.
At Allvotec, together we can.
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