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Flexible working makes business sense

25 November 2017

Now it’s common sense to consider more flexible work patterns for your employees because of the wide range of tools available that make it highly effective and secure.

Many companies across Sussex and the home counties are doing just that – but others remain reticent. Some still fear that remote workers might be ‘swinging the lead’, out of sight in their home office.

With Office 365, a wide-range of business applications can be used anywhere: at any desk in your office – or any remote location where there’s a good internet connection. Additionally, it’s all supported by secure cloud-based services; or a hybrid mix of the cloud and on-site servers.

Keeping in touch

Skype for Business enables managers to keep in touch with staff within a matter of seconds. They can run virtual team meetings and monitor where employees are. So, there’s no strong argument for continuing to pay for everyone to have their own desk in your office. Added to this is the versatility of IP telephony which enables workers to be contacted on their office phone number wherever they’re working.

And while giving people the tools to work outside the office does raise some security concerns which all organisations need to be aware of, the risks are out-weighed by the many advantages.

Home-working and the use of ‘hot desks’ in your office help to reduce rental costs and cut travel costs and commuting time. Flexible working also cuts your carbon footprint as less people need to drive or bus to work each day.

The tenth annual report into flexible working by Ten2Two concludes that more flexibility will be required by UK companies in the years ahead to ensure they can retain the most talented people in an increasingly-competitive job market.

The survey of 250 local employers and more than 1,000 employees across Sussex, Kent, Hertfordshire, Hampshire and Gloucester reveals that 92 per cent of employees feel flexible working has met their needs and 83 per cent of employers think it benefits their business.

Hot-desking advantages

One bone of contention has been the use of shared hot desks. Some people still resist ‘hot-desking’ because it makes them feel vulnerable. They no longer have any personal space at the office.

Gary Jowett, from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton, says: “Hot-desking encourages people to declutter the office and it compels them to lock away sensitive documents inside a secure locker each day. It also encourages people to get to know their colleagues by working from different desks – helping to nurture more team work through a better mutual understanding of different job roles.”

Shared desks and shared network access also lead to the standardisation of internal business systems so that cloud-based services can be used in the most effective way.

Secure cloud services

With Microsoft Azure and other platforms already supporting many large organisations, it’s time for smaller businesses to do the same because it will encourage the big boys to procure their services.

Gary says: “Flexible working also improves your work-life balance, giving you more time for a social life and more time with your family. The ability for a company to offer such flexibility can be the difference between hiring the most talented people or watching them go and work for your competitors.”

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