Many see it as a key differentiator to providing the best customer service, others see it as the key to winning the war for talent, and for some it provides management with the work-life balance they seek having often left a 7am to 10pm job in search of something better. Employees have higher expectations of their employers and many see flexible working as the norm rather than the exception. Indeed, by 2020, it is predicted that 50 per cent of the UK workforce will be freelancers, contractors or temporary staff. Business owners will need to radically rethink their future staffing structures and become more agile to accommodate this change in approach. Optimising management?s time Agile working makes a huge difference to business owners and their team who often have to travel as part of their job. Being able to use the ?downtime? to respond to emails, complete business proposals, business plans and funding requests, optimises this time, enabling you to make the most of your day. In the same way, by ensuring that key staff are able to keep in touch and keep files up to date, this provides your business with a competitive edge. You don?t need to be at an office to update presentation materials, sales packs or marketing literature if this can be done on the go. Equally, for client-facing businesses, your clients are increasingly likely to want your team to offer them on-site support, consultancy and, possibly, round the clock service.
Reliable and secure IT systems are essential to make agile working a reality Transferring to cloud computing and providing staff with a connected device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) means they can be logging on to the internet and instantly connecting back to the office system, safely and securely accessing and updating files in real time. Management and key staff?s time can be optimised to enable them to work effectively from any location or between client meetings, taking back the downtime from their day when travelling. As employees have become more accustomed to using technology outside work, it is also important that firms match, or exceed, their employees? expectations for technology use when they?re at work. And I?m pretty sure that you most likely set up your business using just your laptop, mobile phone and moving between cafes to pick up WiFi signals? Continue reading on the next page for why agility broadens the pool of available talent that can supercharge business growth and how it can be a method of space management too.Image: Shutterstock
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