Using Technology to Support More Flexible Working
Flexible working often means that your employees will request that they work from their homes, or remotely from a variety of locations. Flexible working has been made possible by the advances in communications technology that has taken place over the last few years. Today, your staff can work just as easily from you office, their homes, or even the local coffee shop.
Remote WorkingFlexible working often means employees work away from their usual office. Sales representatives have been working offsite for decades, but with fast broadband connections to the Internet now available to most of the country, and powerful desktop and notebook computers, all of the technology that you need to manage flexible working is now available off-the-shelf.
It is still important to carefully plan an employees move to flexible working as you will need to assess the technology they will need, its set-up costs and any on-going costs that it may attract such as the rental of the broadband connection to the Internet. There may also be insurance and tax implications whether you buy outright or lease the equipment your flexible worker will be using, so consult your financial advisers.
Flexible Working TechnologyThe kind of work that your employee will be doing when they start flexible working will determine what kind of technology they will need. The shopping list below gives an overview of what a typical flexible worker might need your business to provide them with:
These days many smaller businesses are using notebook computers instead of their desktop cousins. If you don’t need to regularly upgrade your computers, notebook PCs can be a great option. They are now just as powerful as desktop PCs, but they are much smaller and are of course portable.
If your employee will be working from home and also remotely from a number of locations, it is important that as part of their flexible working arrangement you and their colleagues can reach then quickly and easily. Today’s smartphones are falling in price. The Blackberry is the ideal solution, but Apple’s iPhone is quickly becoming a business favourite.
Flexible working has been made possible largely because of the almost ubiquitous availability of broadband connections to the Internet. Your employee requesting flexible working may already have a broadband connection to their home. If not, your business will have to pay the cost of installing this.
The most useful peripheral you can equip your flexible worker with is a printer. However, it makes more commercial sense to use an MFD or Multifunctional Device. You can buy a printer that is also a fax machine, flatbed scanner and a photocopier. The space saving that these devices can offer is considerable.
Any applications that your employee will need to do their work will have to be installed onto their computer. This includes any specific applications that your business uses such as customer service software. It’s also important to load onto the computers your flexible workers will use security software such as firewalls and anti-virus software. Look closely at the licenses your business has for the software it uses as these may not extend to the homes of anyone starting flexible working from their home.