New legislation states that 20 million people now have the right to work flexibly in the UK
On June 30th 2014, the government passed legislation to allow employees with more than 6 months of service the right to request flexible working hours. Previously reserved for carers and child carers, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills states that 20 million people now have the right to work flexibly in the UK.
Deputy Prime minister Nick Clegg welcomed the move stating that “It’s about time we brought working practices bang up-to-date with the needs and choices of our modern families”. But what exactly does this change mean for businesses and how can they ensure staff productivity and motivation are not compromised as a result?
Employers have numerous arguments around the right to work flexibly. Enhanced employee engagement, boosted morale, and the attraction and retention of a more diverse workforce is a strong business case for flexible working. However, smaller enterprises and those with operational commitments may struggle, whether it be through cost or management of a smaller team.
In order to ensure that businesses work in harmony with the idea of flexible working, changes to IT infrastructure need to be considered to maximise productivity. In consideration to those working from home, Cloud computing is an essential solution to enable staff to have access to programmes used daily. Not only can employees take advantage of CRM and document sharing delivered through the cloud, but it is made accessible from virtually any device.
For an adaptable solution to flexible working, GCI’s hosted Lync services provide a form of unified communications that is collaborative, engaging and accessible. Lync removes geographical barriers, restrictions of travel budgets and issues with staff away from the office. From your device, you can hold virtual meetings at the click of a button and even switch between different media therefore enable employees to work on the move.
The pay-per-use service has the ability to integrate with other Microsoft Office applications, therefore reducing costs through the migration to VoIP for all telecommunications. In conjunction with reducing costs and allowing flexibility, Lync also enables employees a user friendly solution, where employers can be instantly connected to anyone, anytime and anywhere, whilst sharing documents and liaising with colleagues instantly. Furthermore, it is estimated that this method of communication saves employees as average of 28 minutes per day.
It’s no surprise that the flexible working legislation has gained interest, with UK web agency jobsite discovering that at least 66% of employees aim to capitalize on the bill. However, where does this leave employers in terms of security? There is always some risk implementing technology online, but virtualising your desktop can provide a simple way to centralise management and backup data.
GCI’s Hosted desktop is a fully integrated service delivering over the internet to any device, tablet or laptop. It enables users to gain access to email accounts and critical data through a Microsoft exchange email account and internet connection. Moreover, the GCI cloud is securely delivered through our own resilient platform so you can have peace of mind that everything is under control. GCI will secure your information and applications away from other organisations in an online environment at secure GCI datacentres, connected across a core network and managed internally by in-house experts.
There’s no doubt that these options can provide great cost savings to businesses, let alone cost savings from reduced commuting. For example, website ‘London Loves Business’ states that the average London commuter would save £520 a year if they worked from home two days a week. In conjunction with this, they say that flexible working reaps environmental benefits, with the average worker alleviating 1.16 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by avoiding the office twice a week on an average 17 mile journey.
However where work is concerned, employers should not be worried. So long as staff are well equipped the ability to maintain a sustainable business should not be hindered by flexible working. With today’s technology in the cloud, employees can work from virtually anywhere with the right ICT solutions, and GCI may just have the answer.