Luis De Souza, CEO of NFS Technology Group asks whether your workplace is making the most of flexible working.

“The reimagined modern workplace is here,” Microsoft Senior Director, Ryan Asdourian declared confidently this year. “Gone are the days of rigid schedules where workers are fixed to computer terminals between the hours of 9 and 5…with technology on our side, the opportunities are endless.”

Ryan conjures up a brave new world where remote, technology-enabled workers drop in and out of flexible, friendly spaces to get their jobs done in the most efficient and enjoyable manner.

His views are well-supported. A workplace experiment in New Zealand made headlines recently when staff at a company specialising in trusts and wills were allowed to work for four days a week, while getting paid for five.

Academics found their job and life satisfaction rocketed in all areas, and the company benefited too - employees worked better and enjoyed their jobs more. Asdourian’s reimagined workplace is a wonderful vision, and it’s definitely coming to life in many worldwide offices.

The problem is, we’ve noted that some UK organisations are still failing to take full advantage of this remote working revolution.

What’s the issue? One reason some companies are failing to embrace flexible working is the sheer pace of change in our working environments. After all, it’s not long ago that remote working was at best tricky to monitor and at worst considered a licence to loaf.

That’s made some more traditional organisations slow to realise that remote workers can be trusted to work hard

away from the office, and may even be encouraged to be more productive as a result. Some organisations also fear opening up remote working will introduce an unacceptable lack of control into their working environment.

Yet remote working has definitely arrived. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that flexi-time increased by 12.35% from 2012 – 2016, with more than four million people regularly working from home.

Having a hypermobile workforce can allow an organisation to downsize its expensive square footage, or use it in new ways that appeal to this new breed of workers – creating flexible, informal meeting spaces, for instance. And employees like it. In surveys, people now state that the ability to work flexibly is a great benefit in choosing a job.

As Microsoft’s Ryan Asdourian said: “More than ever, the best talent is seeking organisations that encourage creativity, shun silos and support flexible working.”

So remote working makes sense. As a principle, flexible or agile working obviously has a lot going for it – but it’s true that flexible working and flexible workspace, if not properly regulated, can descend into chaos.

We’re talking about agile workers not being able to find desks, meeting spaces not being booked for meetings, equipment not being available for video conferences and people not showing up for multi-location meeting.

“More than ever, the best talent is seeking organisations that

encourage creativity, shun silos and support flexible working.”

Technology is the key Organisations considering a move to remote working need to listen to Ryan when he says it’s crucial to have technology on their side. OK, he works for Microsoft and is naturally on the side of software - but he’s hit the nail on the head.

The workplaces worldwide that take the best advantage of the remote working revolution are those that underpin it with good technology - conference room scheduling software, for instance. This new breed of workspace scheduling technology is designed to help office owners and mangers achieve efficiency.


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