Within the past year, there has been a sharp increase in flexible working in the UK, driven by new legislation allowing more employees to work weekends, evenings, or even set up their office from home.
Advances in modern technology and the rise of laptops, smartphones and tablets have also transformed the way we work.
In fact, research from the Office for National Statistics has found that in the first three months of 2014, 4.2 million staff across the country worked from home, equating to 13.9 per cent of the workforce.
As employers face an increasing number of flexible working requests as well as greater demand for technology which can support a rise in external workers, the following three tips can help businesses ensure staff productivity and motivation don’t wane as a result.
- Evaluate your technology:
As flexible working increases in popularity so will the need for technology solutions, such as cloud computing, which can enable staff to work remotely.
Businesses need to start thinking about implementing changes to their IT infrastructure and consider the types of solutions their staff require regular access to. A good place to start would be to conduct an audit of all the software programmes the business currently uses.
The next step is to evaluate how many of these solutions can still be used by staff remotely. It is not just about the software though, as employees will still need a device to access their work remotely. Businesses may want to consider giving employees the freedom to use their own laptop, tablet and smartphone which they may well find more convenient and easier to use to get the job done quickly.
- Take security measures
To date, security has been one of the biggest barriers to cloud adoption. There will always be some element of risk associated with implementing any technology online, but there are simple measures that any business can take in order to minimise the risk.
Recommending that employees change passwords, choosing uncommon and hard to guess combinations and selecting a different password for each website can ensure they safeguard their information.
Some cloud tools also implement stringent security guidelines, and can be accredited for their security protection. Before employing a whole office cloud solution, it is best to check that your office security is up to scratch and everybody understands their role in keeping data safe, as well as investigating the tools employees use to ensure both your business and remote employees are kept safe throughout their working day – regardless of location.
- Create the ‘virtual office’
Office dynamics will inevitably change as employees’ locations do, creating a disparate working force. This can provide a challenge when trying to create a sense of ‘one team’ that will not rely on each team member being in the same room and coordinate projects that involve multiple team members all based in different locations.
By establishing virtual offices online, teams across different offices, time zones and geographies can collaborate seamlessly – regardless of their whereabouts. Employees can communicate and stay up to date with priorities, without the fear that something important will be missed as you are not physically in the same room to keep tabs on progress.
Transparency of all elements of a project can help encourage individuals and provide them with the motivation they need to complete their elements.
Tobias Andersson, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Projectplace.