The demand for flexible working is on the rise in the modern workspace. In an earlier post we identified the drivers of this change. It's much too simplistic to lump flexible working into a single "work from home" bucket. Different types of flexible working produce different challenges for both the IT department & HR, therefore require a different technological response.
What is flexible working?
We have identified 5 different types of flexible working styles. In reality one employee may use one, two or all of these styles in any given week. But characterising these different types of flexible workers is useful in identifying their different requirements and allows IT managers and others in the organisations such as HR and Legal to develop processes and procedures to ensure a full solution to suit every type of worker.
The 5 styles of the flexible worker are:
1. The ‘day extender’
Deals with suppliers and clients all over the globe, working outside of their normal working hours to accommodate different time zones. They rely on video conferencing and other core communication tools such as email and remote access to work files at all hours of the day and night and they need basic out-of-hours IT support.
2. 'Road warriors’
Are veterans of flexible working. These are employees who spend a significant amount of time on the road. They need access to corporate data fast and across a multitude of mobile devices. Email access only is not enough to enable these workers to be at their most efficient, they need secure access to applications such as the corporate CRM and ordering systems.
Are typically present at a corporate facility but the location is likely to change on a daily basis. These employees need to be able to show up, plug in to the corporate network and be operational in seconds. This requires remote access to corporate files and instant access with fast IT support. Additionally, organisations with large numbers of "multi-locators" are looking at redesigning the office space away from overly restrictive cube based layout to much more flexible activity based workplaces.
Are workers who predominantly work from home or work from home on a regular basis, often as part of their contract of employment. These workers need a mirror image of their office based technology environment and often require quite higher levels of support in order to remain productive.
5. Some roles simply don't lend themselves to flexible working.
Office based workers are likely to remain a significant proportion of the workforce for the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, the move to more flexible working arrangements does impact this work style as they must have access to the same suite of collaboration tools as flexible workers in order to continue to communicate effectively with those not in the office.
Interestingly, in a survey on flexible working, respondents indicated a strong desire for increased flexible working arrangements. Over half the respondents said they would prefer to work from anywhere, and another 40% would prefer to work at least one day a week from home. A startling 75% also stated they would be more productive if they could work more flexibly.
Learn more about The Modern Workspace and how flexible working could enhance your teams productivity!