Technology has transformed the nature of work. Employees are no longer tied to physical offices when they adopt new tools that let them work from any place and at any time.
Now, with cloud computing becoming ever more pervasive, organisations are increasingly decentralising their teams and streamlining their operations. Exploiting new technologies gives employees and employers the ability to have more freedom on how they work, focusing on achieving outcomes rather than simply the time spent working. Although some businesses have hesitated in adopting a more flexible workforce, others are benefiting from the reduced costs and increased productivity, with employees who are motivated to work towards shared organisational goals.
Flexibility in a global marketplace
A flexible workplace isn’t exclusive to the larger corporate. The benefits provided by utilising the technology available today are increasingly being recognised and exploited by smaller businesses. A flexible team allows them to get more work done while dramatically reducing costs and compacting timescales. But the benefits go beyond a business’s bottom line.
The new flexible work landscape provides more opportunities for companies to find the exceptional talent they need to compete in the marketplace. Skilled candidates don’t need to be located near a company’s offices anymore.
This makes it easier to acquire the talent you need to grow your business. Today’s business leaders understand the value of having the best employees. For these employees, a flexible workplace allows them to customise their work to meet their professional and personal, ‘away-from-work’ needs. This provides an effective way for businesses to attract candidates by making them feel more Valued, by the Company.
The flexible worker
Technology allows businesses to have a global reach when developing their teams. Using social media, teleconferencing, intranet and other technologies makes it possible for individuals to collaborate in real time with greater efficiency.
This makes businesses much more nimble and agile when responding to changes in their markets and to customer demands. Flexible working makes it possible to pivot in new directions faster than businesses that use a more traditional approach to management and work.
It can also dramatically reduce the cost of running a business. The technology platforms used in today’s flexible workplace can eliminate the need for a physical office. Businesses can operate nationally and internationally without the high cost of developing a physical presence in a major business city.
Most importantly, industry research shows that flexible workplaces typically have a lower rate of staff turnover. Employees are also more productive and engaged within the organisation, resulting in huge returns for businesses over time.
Working in the cloud
The advent of cloud computing has been one of the biggest factors in creating a more flexible workplace for businesses around the world. It enables people to access and manage information, and communicate with their team members from anywhere there’s an Internet connection.
The software applications – from basic office tools to highly specialised applications – that have been developed as a result of cloud computing are easy to implement and, because they are rented, there’s no upfront large costs.
It also gives your business a seamless transition when adopting new technologies to replace less efficient ones. Read the following article for more about how the cloud can help deliver a flexible workplace.
In addition, using Voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology (essentially telephony in the cloud that no longer relies on old copper wires from the local telephone exchange) gives workers a comprehensive system that allows them to receive, make and process telephone calls from any location while using only one telephone number.
Similarly, web conferencing technology has also led in the development of more flexible workplaces. It allows real-time communication with virtually any number of individuals, providing a host of features that allow for highly effective presentation and sharing of information, and faster, productive collaboration enabling businesses to respond more quickly and deliver to market more swiftly.
Transitioning to a flexible workspace
However, many businesses struggle when moving to a more flexible work environment. For some, finding the right candidates for a flexible work position can be the biggest challenge. For others, it’s understanding what technologies exist and how best to exploit them.
When hiring, businesses should look for individuals who take a proactive approach to their work. They should place emphasis on finding employees who take initiative to meet their objectives without having to be managed closely.
Employees must have the ability to prioritise their goals with respect to the overall objectives of your business. A flexible workplace can cause some responsibilities to become unclear so standards of operation need to be clear and well established.
Workers who are best suited for a flexible workplace are able to stay focused on the tasks needed to maintain work performance or move a given project forward without being distracted.
Meanwhile, technology has created more flexible workplaces across virtually every sector. But many businesses can run into unexpected challenges when collaborating remotely.
Understanding how to best utilise the various technology platforms increases your chances to maximise the productivity and efficiency of your flexible workforce. Therefore, engaging the support and advice of your managed IT services provider will help you plan and implement the best route towards a more flexible organisation.