‘Flexible working’ and ‘home working’ are relatively new buzzwords.
But, with today’s sky-high costs for office locations, less rigidly defined workplace environments are becoming very commonplace. The use of hot-desking is growing, and with many businesses choosing to cut down on the total number of permanent desks available, there are often not enough desks to accommodate a full workforce on any one day.
While some employees may be out visiting customers, partners, suppliers, etc., any number may also be working from home.
Whilst office cost is a large factor, home working may also be through choice – the need for some peace and quiet away from a noisy office or to concentrate on that customer quote/ proposal. Instead, it might be childcare commitments, the boiler repair man, or a car MOT that may make a morning or afternoon at home essential and reduce any unnecessary stress.
And flexible working isn’t just the ‘where’: many people choose to work in the evening or early in the morning, when children are asleep or when they can enjoy the comfort of their own homes instead of a semi-deserted office.
And of course, businesses need to be able to continue working and ensure business continuity with as little slow down in productivity as possible, when hit by unplanned disruption. Traffic problems, train strikes, and snowfall can all affect employees’ ability to travel to the office, while the rapid spread of Covid-19, or coronavirus, has caught the whole world off guard.
The BBC reports an estimate of up to one in five workers in the UK being off work at any one time, during the peak of the coronavirus epidemic, and naturally businesses are doing all they can to safeguard their workforce. In many cases this involves allowing or even enforcing employees to work from home and enabling those who are self-isolating to do so.
With today’s technology, flexible working is easily achievable and many businesses that support it are thriving. Sophisticated solutions and services can now enable employees to continue working seamlessly as if in the office, with access to files and applications, collaboration tools, meeting and calling features.