Business Case for Flexible and Remote Working

05 June 2015

Working from home (or where-ever) is a big buzz in the business community at the moment, this buzz; is being particularly heard in the Telecoms and  IT sectors, because of the obvious challenges around developing a flexible and cost effective infrastructure that supports remote and mobile working"

Different users have different requirements and businesses have various approaches to remote working.  For most they just need mobile access to emai on a smartphone or tablet to continue working on the train or in a coffee shop in between appointments. Whilst others can have several staff who work full time from home or another remote location, it is essential these staff can communicate and collaborate with colleagues as if they shared an office. Usually in this scenario these staff members need access to all of their working files, access to any software applications, emails, video, phone solutions and much more.

Although there was a change in legislation in June 2014, meaning all UK workers could request flexible working from their employers, the concept of working from home is not a new idea, in fact when the rules changed many businesses had already embraced this. A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) had shown that 4 in 5 of the businesses surveyed either already offered flexible working or would consider it if asked.

John Allan, the chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "Small businesses often work in close-knit teams and are flexible by nature. Many small businesses therefore already offer flexible working and recognise the benefits of doing so, such as boosting productivity and staff morale, without the need for a right to request.

For me, the most vital part of any remote working is connectivity i.e. access to the internet.  Luckily in the UK there has been a number of technology developments that have aided remote working for our businesses, from the roll out of 4G, initially by EE and now available on all the main networks (o2 and Vodafone), the widening availability of Superfast FTTC Broadband and laterally the Super Connected Cites scheme which has enabled a number of businesses to improve their office broadband, which in turn helps them to support their growing mobile work force.

Mobile & Remote working will utilise connectivity, remote access and cloud technologies to make available resources which were previously only available in a single or networked location, some possibilities include: 

Working from home
If this is a full time solution it is important to have a set work area, away from distractions like the TV

On the road 
Usually on a Smartphone or tablet, checking and responding to emails on the train or in a cafe. 

Working at client site
For instance, before / after a meeting or on a training day.

For businesses looking at reviewing their remote working strategy, these are some of the solutions that can be included in the solution. 

Email and Calendar Access
Send and receive email from any location, with a laptop or mobile phone.

Shared Files and Workspaces
Connect to the familiar office environment to access and collaborate on business documents

Remote Meetings & Collaboration Software
Meet with clients and colleague, using voice, video, other interactions document and screen sharing, anywhere, anytime instantly

Remote Office Phone
Divert phone calls to your current location, use any phone to make and receive calls from your business direct dial as if you are in your office 

On the basis you have the correct infrastructure in place, any of your staff can access all the service they usually do in the office, from any geographic location, using their laptop, phone and internet connection.

For employees working from home can be hugely beneficial and in surveys some say they would take a pay cut in trade off for a flexible working environment, having said that what is in it for employers? 

Extra efficiency
Staff can make the most of what would have histrionically downtime, by working in client offices, cafe's and whilst commuting.

Additional flexibility
To some extent, you can allow your employees to work when and where they want, staff will spend less time commuting and more time working

Lower overheads
With fewer staff in the office at any one time, you can manage with smaller premises, lower utility usage and potentially reduced business rates

So taking all that in to consideration, a proper unified communications solutions, coupled with a flexible mobile and remote working policy can help unlock the potential in your staff by enabling them work smarter, faster and more efficiently 

Baffled, Excited, Interested? Get in touch and lets discuss your businesses mobile strategy

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