The right to work flexibly: it's good news for business

By William Buller, Lead Consultant for Telefónica UK

This week some great news was announced for Britain’s employees: the right to request flexible working is now open to anyone who has more than six months’ service with an organisation – not just parents and carers.

But the best bit is that it’s great news for businesses too. Flexible working is an ideal solution for boosting productivity, and this change in law might be just the push needed for businesses that haven’t quite got around to it yet.

We recently carried out some research with Cebr, which found that there’s money to be made from flexible working: “Better connectivity from remote locations would reduce the need for follow-up meetings, unlocking annual productivity gains [across the UK] worth £9.3 billion.”

The research also shows that a total number of 178 productive hours could be gained, per employee, per year, through flexible working. So the real question is: why wait?

If you’re not doing it already, it’s time to embrace flexible working to get your piece of the cost-savings outlined in our research above. You won’t need as much fixed infrastructure in your offices. You won’t outgrow your premises as quickly. You’ll save on energy costs. And you’ll probably even notice absences from sickness go down as people are more motivated, or can simply work from home when they’re a little poorly but still happy to do some work from home.

Getting the infrastructure in place now to support remote working for your people will not only make it easier when the requests start to come through, but it’ll also help the people who are already working outside the office to stay productive,  for example when they’re at meetings or working at customer sites .

The technology

There is a lot of technology available to help you work flexibly. You may even already have some of it in place, like a secure VPN so people can access company files and data when they’re not in the office, and remote access to email. But there’s other exciting stuff to choose from – like an instant messenger tool that shows presence (Microsoft Lync is a good one) so your people can see one another’s availability at a glance and collaborate more quickly and easily.

Mobile apps can quickly connect your remote workers to back office information. 4G enables people to carry out bandwidth-heavy tasks even out of the office. And bring-your-own comes into its own as people can use the devices they know and love, saving them time and you money. A good mobile device management (MDM) solution means you don’t need to worry about the security impact of this approach either.

So with all this taken into consideration, the new legislation really is good news for business and certainly nothing to feel apprehensive about.

To talk about getting a mobility plan in place so you can benefit from all the cost saving and productivity benefits that the new legislation could bring about, call us in 01235 433 507 or visit our website.