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Flexibility without compromising productivity
Wednesday 01 March 2017
Flexible working isn’t new. But over the last five years it’s become a bigger topic of discussion, as a higher priority has been placed on improving work / life balance. And this isn’t only among millennials.
PWC conducted a two year long study into its own workforce and found that across the board, employees wanted to occasionally work from home or shift their working hours. Even Mark Zuckerberg shunned tradition and took two months of paternity leave from Facebook when his daughter was born.
However, while line of sight management is, slowly, becoming a thing of the past, there are more important reasons to have visual contact with colleagues not least because it’s important for our health and productivity. Thanks to technology we’re at a stage where this is possible, without the need to be in the same office.
As businesses focus on delivering this flexibility to employees, are they going to be compromising on productivity?
Government call for productivity investment
Productivity levels in the UK are far lower than a number of countries, including Italy, France and Germany. The Chancellor announced a productivity fund of £23bn in November last year in order to boost Britain’s lagging productivity and economic growth. Investment in high speed broadband and 5G has already been earmarked from the fund.
But if organisations are going to be able to benefit from this it is critical they have the right tools and processes in place. Something that is crucial if people are able to increase productivity while out of the traditional office environment
Similar to fitting with how and where employees are working, the technology itself needs to be flexible. Any solution needs to work across multiple devices as inevitably, collaboration won’t just happen on the business supplied laptop. Unified Communications (UC) delivers the ability to work flexibly and remotely without dropping efficiency, collaboration or productivity.
Whether on the way to a meeting, working from home or in the office, employees need be able to communicate easily and be able to access and share documents or screens without issue.
Flexible working becomes a reality
With advances in UC solutions, productivity concerns around flexible working will become obsolete. In fact, UC isn’t just an enabler, it is becoming a driver of flexible working. Most of us have used video conferencing at some point, in addition to other cloud-based collaborations tools. Not to mention group messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger.
So being able to access business tools through apps that allow us to be more productive on the move won’t have any issues with adoption. In fact, many employees are turning to consumer tools if a business one isn’t available.
Every business needs to evaluate its technology and whether they have the right solution in place to enable flexibility and productivity gains. NATO, arguably one of the most global organisations, rolled out a new UC solution at its Brussels headquarters.
However, not everyone wants to work from home, just as not everyone wants to be in an office 9-5. Businesses need to be in a position to allow employees to work in a way that is best for them and their individual productivity. In turn, the business will see the rewards in increased productivity across the entire organisation, and ultimately increased profits.
Through technology and UC advancements, business can start to support the government’s goal of catching up on other major economies in terms of productivity, supporting the workforces’ demand for flexible working.