Technology is undoubtedly an enabler for flexible working which, in turn can reduce stress levels....
Technology = flexibility
According to the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) the definition of flexible working is: “…giving flexibility over where, when, and the hours people work.” (2) For example, that could mean an employer offering part-time work, or the option to work from home.
This choice of where and when people work – is sometimes only possible because of technology. For example, if you want to work from home, you often need the kit to do so. In fact, when you stop and think about it, technology is making it easier for people to meet the demands of their job, whilst balancing life at home.
Over 60% (3) of workers now say that traditional 9-5 working arrangements no longer work for them. Today’s employees need some autonomy over where and when they work to juggle the modern demands of life – and the options available to them are often predicated on technology.
Technology can help to take the stress out of life
Video conferencing from home, sending emails from the football pitch, joining calls from a customer site, messaging a supplier from the school gate, sharing files from the airport – working anywhere, from any device, at any time – is all possible because of technology.
Just look at the reported train problems (4) last week in the Midlands, causing stress for many commuters. Technology allowed some people to avoid that chaos by staying at home to work.
Now, nobody’s naïve enough to think that technology removes all the stresses from life. Used in the wrong way, it can actually generate stress. But, in the context of helping people to work more flexibly, technology is a brilliant thing.
The case for working flexibly
There are many facts and stats out there, that make the case for flexible working. Whether that’s working from home one day a week, or only working during school term times. See for yourself:
1. It attracts talent – one in three (5) employees would switch jobs, just to be able to work remotely.
2. It’s better for wellbeing – over 39% (6) of surveyed people who work flexibly, see a noticeable improvement in their mental health.
3. It boosts productivity – people who have the option to work flexibly are 5% (7) more productive than those who don’t. The CIPD (8) agree, saying that flexible working increases individual performance and is even more motivating than a bonus!
4. It saves the pocket and the planet – workers spend 164 hours (9) commuting to and from their workplace annually, costing £1,738 (10) per year. And what’s more, if the average person worked from home instead of commuting, they would reduce their CO2 emissions by 988 kg (11) that’s the equivalent to the volume of CO2 absorbed by44 fully grown trees (12) in a year.
Technology has moved on, and so must leaders
There’s still some resistance to letting people work flexibly. Trust is definitely an issue. For example, some leaders find it easier to manage a workforce that they can see, rather than let them work from home.
However, we love this quote from Cisco’s Mark Needham (13) who talks about what it’s like to work at Cisco. Mark says: “The focus is on performance, not presence.” And that’s one of the reasons Cisco was voted a top five (14) company to work for.
But it’s not just the global corporates that can afford the technology to enable flexible working.
Simon Hudson, Account Director at Nowcomm, reflects on how technology has moved on and become accessible to all.
He says: “Take video conferencing as an example. Some people have had poor experiences of it in the past. They remember when it was only available if you booked the HQ boardroom in advance, because that was the only room kitted out with costly equipment that nobody knew how to use.
“And when you did get it going, it was usually one poor soul dialling in remotely – because it had snowed and his train was cancelled – and he couldn’t fully participate anyhow, because he couldn’t hear anyone!”
Simon continues: “Today is vastly different. Virtual meeting solutions are affordable for businesses of different shapes and sizes. And more importantly, they’re incredibly easy to use, and as intuitive as the technology consumers use at home.
“Virtual meetings can be set up instantly from different places, using different devices. And, it’s no longer about accommodating that one guy who couldn’t get into the office. They can facilitate communication between one-to-one, many-to-many, and one-to-many.”
Reflecting on National Stress Awareness Day
Today is the first Wednesday of November, which means it’s National Stress Awareness Day (15). It’s a time to reflect on what we can all do to make life less stressful for each other. And for some of our employees, that means giving them the option to work beyond the office, as and when they need to – if the nature of their job allows.
In the blog photo is our very own Kevin Prone, Head of Services – talking to Nowcomm’s Marketing Manager, Brian Murphy. Both of them are using video meeting technology from Cisco Webex, because they’re both working from home.
Kevin says: “There are days when I need to be at home to work. Sometimes because I need to focus on a piece of work in a quieter environment. Other times, it’s because the family need me to be around after I’ve been on the road for most of the week. But the technology allows me to quickly and easily talk to my colleagues, as and when I need to. Nobody misses out, and everybody’s less stressed as a result.”
Get flexible and speak to us
We’re in the business of helping other businesses to offer flexible working to their employees.
If you want help to create a more flexible workplace for your people – using technology – talk to us about:
- Creating the ability for you and your people to work whenever and wherever you want.
- Holding seamless online meetings that we can manage for you, end-to-end.