By Julian Dyer, CTO, Cobweb
With ‘the Games’ fast approaching, businesses in London are being encouraged to look at flexible working initiatives to ensure they remain operative during the upcoming summer months. The government has joined the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) in its Preparing Your Business for the Games document, recommending organisations to think seriously about allowing staff to work from home. Although this may seem daunting, a flexible working solution will enable companies and their employees to become mobile at a time when transport disruptions and travel delays will be paramount. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the business benefits of mobile working:
- Reduce office space, accommodation and travel costs
- Lower staff turnover levels, resulting in lower recruitment costs and increased staff morale
- Cut car parking
- Reduce office footprint
- Enable flexible working, helping to achieve the work/life balance
- Increase productivity
- Win talented employees
- Reduce absence levels
- Achieve smarter commuting, reducing the dead time between office locations and meetings
- Increase job satisfaction
Another parameter to take into account should be the increase of BYOD use (or Bring Your Own Device), meaning employees can access corporate networks through their personally-owned laptops, smartphones and tablets. However, the more companies allow employees to access company data through personal devices, the higher the risk of data loss and theft. Providers can help businesses push security policies onto their employees’ personal devices, making sure the data remains protected. Cloud providers can also take security measures to fully secure the platform on which the data exists, with encrypted channels and authentication protocols. Some providers may even offer the ability to wipe a device should an employee terminate their position at the company. A cloud solution has the added benefit to potentially reduce the risk of company data being lost or stolen by employees, as the data resides in a secure data centre and accessed over the Internet, instead of being stored locally on employees’ personal devices.
Flexible and remote working might be scary for managers and business owners, but granting staff this benefit can produce surprising results. Fewer office distractions and a more comfortable environment makes for more efficient work.
The London Olympics have presented a challenge for local businesses. When the Games open on the 27th of July, we'll see how they cope with the pressure. Those who have planned, tested and implemented flexible and remote working practices are likely to have fewer challenges than those who have buried their heads in the sand.