Flexible & remote working has now become a fact of life. Since the Government’s ‘Flexible Working Regulations’ came into force, many companies, including Lloyds Bank, IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, ASDA and BP, have embraced the concept.
The benefits of remote working are increasingly well understood; staff gain from a better work/life balance, while the company has an opportunity to cut the cost of office overheads through the use of hot desking and by reducing 'dead' travel time. The 2006 CIPD Labour Turnover Survey found that it cost £8,200 to replace an average employee, with this rising to £12,000 for senior managers, flexible working has also proved to be a key tool for retaining and motivating staff.
The same technologies driving flexible working also carry significant benefits in other areas too. For instance, companies with mobile workforces can offer their employees remote access to the full range of corporate communications services and functions, such as reading emails, sending voice or text messages, checking diaries and accessing product, sales, and ordering systems. Utilising more flexible and efficient networking can bring productivity benefits too; own research found that if every employee used smarter technology, they could have up to 50 minutes a day, 250 minutes a week, 2 days a month or 24 days a year to focus on the more important issues.
Underpinning such fluid, flexible working practices are the platforms and tools which start with broadband networks and end in laptops, handheld and mobile devices. It's now possible for remote workers to use their home PC as if they were in the office, even making phone calls with Voice-over-IP using the corporate network. Modern networks can also enable hot desking by combining the best elements of wireless and wired networking, as well as facilitating multimedia and unified communications.