Businesses which want to grow and succeed in the modern market need to adopt a flexible approach to working. Severing the bonds which previously tied members of staff to a single desk in a single location will give you the freedom to improve productivity, lower costs and give employees a better work-life balance. This obviously leaves all parties in a better position.
There are a number of tools which make it possible to create a flexible working environment in which people can get on with tasks remotely, whether on the move or from home. However, it is first useful to establish why flexible working is worthy of your investment.
The UK’s economy has taken a number of hits in recent years, some of which were avoidable. It is estimated that disruption caused by snow cost the economy £7 billion annually in 2010 and 2011, with much of this attributed to the fact that people simply couldn’t get into work.
If their employers had established the means for remote working prior to such problems occurring, then business could have continued as normal. According to Microsoft, only 34 per cent of businesses in the UK have invested in the technologies which allow staff members to work remotely. But this figure should rise in the coming months as more companies embrace the flexible approach to operating.
One of the things your business will need to facilitate remote working is an IT infrastructure which can be accessed from outside of the office. While it is possible to make in-house systems remotely available, the more cost-effective and scalable option comes in the form of cloud computing.
You can use contemporary cloud platforms to do everything from store data to run software applications. As long as your employees have a broadband connection and a compatible device then they can tap into the cloud regardless of their location.
The best cloud services are more secure than older alternatives and will give you the ability to ensure the continuity of your business irrespective of external circumstances and outside influences.
Remote working has also become far more appealing and affordable thanks to the rise of VoIP. VoIP is essentially a web-based telephony standard which allows voice and video calls to be made from any connected device.
VoIP calls between two VoIP users will often be free of charge, which can help to cut the cost of communicating internally at your company even if the members of staff are hundreds or thousands of miles apart.
Because VoIP is not handled or hosted in-house, you can also keep the lines of communication open and forward calls to almost any end point, whether it is your mobile phone or you home landline connection. This type of flexibility lends itself to a fluid, flexible and modern working environment.
Flexible working has many other benefits besides keeping up productivity levels. One of them is reduced travel costs for both employees and the business itself, as you will not need to get members of staff into the office unnecessarily or travel long distances in order to take part in face-to-face meetings.
The economic benefits continue to mount up when you consider that costs associated with voice calls and the maintenance of complex in-house systems will be greatly reduced by migration to a VoIP service and cloud-computing platforms.
High-speed mobile broadband means that even when workers do not have access to a fixed-line web connection, they can still remain proactively involved in projects. In short, making sure that your business can work anywhere will put you in the perfect position to compete more effectively in the market in which you operate.