Can you afford to take an inflexible approach to working?

By Michael Lawrence
09 Feb 2011 View Comments
Michael Lawrence is head of corporate propositions at Orange

With depressing predictability, the New Year brought yet another hike in train ticket prices, with some operators raising their prices by nearly 50 per cent. This increased impact on purse strings could be another nudge for businesses to consider introducing or extending flexible working practices.

Such a move could avoid the headaches that travel problems cause, such as cancelled or delayed meetings, and could also increase employee loyalty by giving them more flexibility in how and where they work, and reducing the impact of more expensive travel on their wages.

Further reading

While flexible working is not necessarily feasible for all industries or roles, for those who are able to implement it, it can provide benefits to employers as well as employees. Previous research has found that UK businesses believe flexible working boosts company morale and improves staff retention. The benefits to businesses are clear, and often mean reduced sick days and general absenteeism.

To assist the adoption of flexible working practices, firms can take simple steps to enable their employees to work effectively and securely, no matter the location.

For many organisations, the technology to enable flexible working practices and easy remote access is already at their employees’ fingertips. Whether it’s using a smartphone or 3G dongle, remote workers have the ability to keep in contact with colleagues via calls, texts and emails, wherever they are.

Other tools mean that businesses can remain confident that their information will remain secure. When working remotely, flexible workers can also have the same IT protection that they enjoy in the office. Using a managed VPN, for example, will offer secure, high-speed access to services and applications remotely from a business device, keeping critical information safe.

To guarantee the same levels of data security for those working remotely, employers need to take the correct steps to educate staff on how to securely use VPN systems. By promoting best practice and providing guidance on potential security threats to look out for when working remotely, they can ensure that employees understand the importance of treating company data with the same integrity wherever they are.

By taking some of the simple steps outlined here, businesses can introduce or extend their flexible working practices so employee productivity can be optimised, regardless of circumstance or location.

addition, by using secure technology to enable this type of working, companies can be assured that their information will be safe – no matter where their employees are.

Michael Lawrence is head of corporate propositions at Orange

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