However, not all companies are embracing this so-called ‘flexible working revolution’. The tools for working remotely have never been more plentiful or more reliable, and for the first time in history whole businesses can function without a single desk, swivel chair or water cooler. Throughout 2013 we’ve seen huge demand for collaboration tools that allow companies to conduct video calls, remote meetings, check who’s online and access desktops from anywhere in the world and this is only set to be amplified in 2014.
Yet still too many businesses are holding back. While there are undeniably security and operational hurdles to overcome when adopting new technologies, what businesses really need to know is – why should they be making the change? What are the benefits?
1. More productive people
Having the ability to work on the run – literally and metaphorically, make for a more productive workforce. Supplying employees with the tools to make unrestricted choices about their day and cut the ties from their desk, gives them the power to be more flexible about the way they work.
CIOs across the board are encouraging staff to work on the move. Adopting new tech has huge financial benefits too. In fact, our recent study found that flexible working would reduce absenteeism by ten per cent, saving the UK economy a whopping £1.7bn each year.
2. Making the ‘dead time’ valuable
Do you really enjoy the daily commute? A recent report from the TUC suggests that British workers spend an average of 200 hours per year commuting – that’s the equivalent of five weeks of work!
Let’s face it; it’s a complete waste of time. Instead of staring aimlessly out the window, flexible working means we can now hold business meetings on the back of busses, teleconference from taxis and catch up on emails at the station. Giving worker the tools to stay connected means they can turn ‘dead’ time into real time.
3. Reducing the complications
Outdated IT systems are holding UK businesses back. With an average of seven suppliers per business, CIOs are spending most of their time managing their existing networks instead of looking into new tools that will really add value.
It’s a real headache and they know it. Research from CEB found that 75 per cent of infrastructure teams know they need to restructure to keep up with future business needs – they’re just not sure how. But simplifying assets can help solve the problem and you save money. Combining phone, internet, video and multimedia into a smaller number of networks, IT teams will have an easier job of managing their IT and reduce expenditure.
4. Attracting the next generation
According to PwC, the majority of millennial employees are unwilling to commit to a job that makes their work life their priority. Getting the balance of work and home right is essential for businesses who want to recruit the best people and win the war on talent.
It’s not just about putting a smile on your employees’ faces though. Today’s talent pools are looking for employers who can offer a more flexible and less conventional approach to work. By giving them options, businesses can both attract the best people and deliver a better, more productive service.
This move to a more collaborative workforce can be simple so long as new tools are scalable. Powerful networks mean businesses like yours can give their staff secure and superfast access to the tools and data they need to perform their job – no matter where they are. With the right connectivity, businesses have the flexibility they need to enable employees to work in the way they like – and reap the financial benefits it brings.
Duncan Higgins is Marketing Director of Virgin Media Business.
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