With the rise of flexible working practices, the question is often asked over whether it is necessary for businesses to insist on their employees attending a workplace, and what role collaborative software can play in making remote working easier.
A report by the Hoxby Collective has forecast that by 2021, half the working population could be freelance. Many of these people will work remotely from wherever they might be.
The Hoxby report notes that many workers see their jobs as something they do and do not associate it with a place they go to each day. They prefer to be judged by their output and not by the number of hours they put in.
This is the opposite view of some office workers, who are the first to come into work and the last to leave. They think that their value is based on the number of hours that they work and not by their productivity – an attitude that could be seen as outdated.
The case against flexible working
Some employees are not open to the idea of flexible working, rigidly requiring workers to sit at their allocated desk each day. A notable critic of agile and flexible working is the CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer who voiced her opposition in 2013. Digital giants like Reddit and IBM have also created policies against remote working, going against the wishes of four million UK workers who want to work at least one day a week from home.
The main reasons given against remote working are:
Technology is the answer
Most of the objections to flexible working can be addressed with technology. Yammer. Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are designed for workers to collaborate on projects without needing to be physically in the same room.
Employees can support remote workers by giving them laptops that are secure and can be located using GPS tracking if lost or stolen. Meanwhile, Microsoft OneDrive enables easy access to files and sharing documents, and Skype and text chat services facilitate easy communication between workers.
Flexible working requires good relationships with employees so that there is mutual trust. By allowing flexible working hours, and the ability to work from anywhere, employees can feel happier and this can result in better productivity and less staff turnover.
Using Microsoft tools, there is theoretically no need for anyone to come into the office to work, but this does not mean that the office should be redundant. Some workers prefer the camaraderie and routine of working with other people. The key is flexibility, giving employees choices over which working style makes them happier and more productive.
For further information on which applications are best to support flexible working, talk to us at WM Reply .