How to reap the benefits of a flexible working environment

Do you find yourself day dreaming about a world outside the confines of your office walls? Well it’s time to do something about it.

The brilliant thing about technology is that it acts as an enabler for what would otherwise be nothing more than a pipe dream. Gone are the days in which office workers were chained to an office desk 9-to-5 whilst wistfully listening to John Lennon’s Imagine on repeat, fantasising about something better.

Now, thanks to the cloud and portable devices with fantastic functionality, you can literally work and collaborate with your colleagues in other countries from any location.

Creating the ability to work from anywhere at any time has obvious benefits for small businesses and start-ups, eliminating the need to fork out for a desk space or office which can represent a huge overhead. But for those of you reading this from the comfort of a well-established organisation with myriad of offices, not to mention a complex web of infrastructure to consider, changing course to offer remote working may seem too much of a headache.

Flexible working undoubtedly helps improve working conditions, leading to happier staff, and happier staff are generally more productive. As far as broader business benefits, allowing employees to work easily from home may also have a more direct financial impact. Did you know that working-age ill health costs the national economy more than £100 billion a year, with the average company with more than 500 employees incurring £620,000 annually? I’m not suggesting that you should insist staff carry on working when they are unwell but the ability to work from home would certainly help limit the chance of an office epidemic.

Right, I can tell I’ve convinced you – so what do you need to consider to make this all happen? Installing a robust wireless network capable of handling high levels of traffic is an absolute must to make your BYOD policy possible. Next you’ll need to optimise your servers and storage network so that they’re accessible remotely. Using software such as Microsoft Office 365 is also an easy way to allow staff to work and collaborate online.

Long term, you may want to consider whether a private cloud would be best or if a public one would suffice and of course, the decisions you make will all impact the kind of security you need. It may all seem complicated but it’s a long-term investment in your business and employees, and for a channel partner, this all represents a brilliant opportunity for sales and on-going support.

In today’s world of technology, the average individual will be used to communicating with others and accessing information – be it a Word document, a telephone number, or the answer to a pub quiz question – while outside the office or house. As a business, if you don’t have the capability to tap into this, it will instantly leave you behind your employees’ expectations. For better or worse, in today’s fast-paced world, it’s rare that simple 9-to-5 working hours exist as they used to and likewise, yesterday’s office is now consigned to the history books.

So avoid being a dinosaur and start making that daydream a reality.

Image source: Shutterstock

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