Welcome the Flexible Working Revolution

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Businesses across the UK are embracing the new trend that’s helping them cut costs, attract talent and radically improve productivity.

Technology has changed the way we communicate and it is currently changing the way we work. Gone are the days when office workers spent every working moment in a faceless cubicle, labouring in a vacuum. The rise of digital communication tools, collaboration apps and productivity suites, coupled with the benefits of the ‘always on’ nature of the web, has set the modern business free from its IT shackles.

Flexible working is the natural evolution of work in this brave new digital world. Today, businesses large and small can operate anywhere, anytime.

What do we mean by flexible working?

Essentially, it means freeing up you and your colleagues or employees to work in the way that suits you best. That can mean mobile working via your smartphone; working from different locations thanks to remote access to the business network; holding meetings through video conferencing; home-working; and flexi-time, which allows staff to tweak their working hours – coming in at 6am and leaving at 2pm rather than the typical nine to five. Underpinning it all is the technology that helps your team work in the way that suits them best, from any location.

Flexible working is not a new concept. A recent survey by workplace provider Regus shows that 83% of firms are already offering flexible working to staff. The concepts of hotdesking and video-conferencing have become common parlance in the language of business. Smartphones and laptops are ubiquitous. Once the province of start-ups only, new enterprise tools and software have ensured that even huge, international corporations with thousands of staff can embrace flexible working practices. In fact, more than 65% of the Fortune 100 are already deploying or piloting slate computers to help facilitate flexible working – and if it’s good enough for the top listed firms in the world, it could be good enough for business too.

Flexibility is Key

The world’s mobile worker population will grow to nearly 1.2 billion by 2013, more than a third of the world’s workforce. The benefits to business are manifold. By putting the technology and processes in place to facilitate flexible working, rigid and old-fashioned infrastructure can be overhauled, representing a significant cost saving – some 70% of IT budgets are currently spent on maintaining siloed and inflexible data centre equipment.

Flexible working can also be invaluable in both staff recruitment and retention, especially for those with family commitments. It is a legal obligation to consider flexible working requests from parents with young families, and the government has considered extending the law to include a wider demographic. Beyond the legal requirements, however, research by WorkingMums.co.uk shows that expectant or new parents are more likely to stay in employment if their employer offers some home working or flexibility. Beyond parents, flexible working can help keep work/life balance in check for all employees, as they have the right systems and technologies in place to better

By slashing the time your staff spend travelling and by giving them the tools they need to work on the go when they do travel, dead time is converted back into productive enterprise. Over time, these hours add up. And it’s not just businesses that benefit, but people too. The boost to morale and productivity generated by scrapping an employee’s commute or their endless travel to and from meetings cannot be underestimated.

Are you ready to be flexible?

A cultural shift towards greater work/life balance has created a genuine need for a new way of working. And companies are crying out for ways to boost productivity while cutting costs. Add this to the growing awareness of the environmental and financial impact of endless travel for work, and all the signs point in a single direction: that flexible working is the way of the future.

Businesses can’t afford to stay rigidly in the past. The businesses that will thrive today and tomorrow are those that can be truly flexible.

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