The working world is constantly changing and flexible work arrangements are now preferred as remote work has become the new norm.
Suddenly work commutes have been replaced with a much more flexible way of doing business, allowing employees a new way of life. In fact, with remote work, their typical morning traffic commutes have been replaced with home workouts, and their favorite office coffee has been swapped for homemade smoothies.
In the current challenging global economic climate, the speed at which organizations are able to adjust with the times matters. This means that companies need to position themselves for the long-term to get ahead of the competition, and the ability to mobilize your employees to support the journey is essential.
Employers and workers expectations are changing, moving away from 9am – 5pm availability and prioritizing outputs rather than presenteeism. And it’s not just employers and workers.
Customer requirements are also changing with a demand to do business at a time and in a way that suits them. In fact, a sizable shift to online and telephone-based transactions is taking place, and employee working hours are changing as a result.
Leading organizations are boldly questioning long-held assumptions about the role of the office and how work should be done. Earlier this year, Twitter announced that remote working can be a permanent option for their workers, declaring that employees can work from home, or possibly anywhere else that makes them happy and productive, forever.
A flexible workplace has many benefits. Our top three include:
1. Increased productivity
Not only are employees given more control over how, when and where they work, they are also supported in an environment of increased autonomy and trust. With more motivated workers and a more trusting environment, productivity increases. When you factor in the elimination of the commute to work, employees can also focus more of their time and energy on work—and less on having to get to work.
2. Organizations are better able to recruit and retain top global talent
Job roles are typically filled by local employees. But imagine if organizations had the flexibility to find the very best person for that role from anywhere in the world. With critical skills often in short supply, the competition for talent is fiercer than ever. At the same time, some groups of talent are less willing to relocate to their employers’ locations than they had been in the past. Flexible working reduces the need for an office-based workforce, opening the door to a global pool of employees.
3. Real Estate cost savings are likely to be significant
Many organizations are taking a fresh look at how much office space is required and how it fosters desired outcomes for collaboration, culture, and the overall work experience. Providing alternative ways to achieve this could result in significant cost savings, particularly when offices are located in city centers. Having employees work in many different locations also increases organizational resilience and reduces risk.
Underpinning this paradigm shift in the way we work is the rise in digital technology, an essential component of flexible and remote working. Technology allows organizations to attract the right talent, bridge physical and digital workspaces, appeal to workers of different generations and integrate data into the decision-making process.
There is a multitude of employee experience technology in the market, but leading the way is the Digital Workplace.
Digital workplaces centralize all employee information in one singular location, making it easy to work and stay connected from anywhere, at any time. By implementing a Digital Workplace for your flexible workers, you can align your employees, technology, and business practices all in one place.
A common drawback for flexible and remote workers can be a feeling of loneliness. Humans are deeply social creatures and need to feel that they belong.
A Digital workplace is a great way to empower people to build communities of interest, drive knowledge management and collaborate with colleagues. Like other popular social networks, enterprise social technology can foster hyper-connected and rewarding work relationships, helping people to feel that they are part of a ‘tribe’.
Last year, Apple and Google unveiled mobile phone features to help people monitor and restrict how much time they spent on their phones. Facebook and Instagram also rolled out ‘time spent’ notifications and the ability to snooze their apps. But now over a year later, it doesn’t seem like they’re working––the time we spend on our devices just keeps increasing.
Given this fact, an essential element of any workplace technology, especially in a flexible workplace, is user access and the ability to work from anywhere. This includes access to an intuitive and easy to use mobile app, which is becoming a common feature of a Digital Workplace.
Central to the success of the mobile app is a powerful search experience where employees can find the information and documents they need in the same way as their computers.
A good mobile app will include four essential functions:
Looking at how the workplace continues to change, it’s almost impossible to imagine a world where workplace flexibility won’t become the standard for how we work. With ongoing and compelling improvements to Digital Workplace technology, the world of flexible work will only continue to transform.
As the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence become commonplace in business, Digital Workplaces will continue to make better use of all of the data, information, and connections that an employee enjoys, accelerating business performance and growth.
As Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of the Virgin group said “We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.”