Redcentric research found that 54% of UK office workers are currently able to work remotely, with 30% feeling that their productivity increases when they work away from the office. Yet, a large number of employers are still reluctant to encourage home working.
Perhaps it’s the thought of losing some control, or having their workspace going to waste.
Challenges for the 21st century worker
One of the greatest challenges facing working people today is their journey to and from work – their commute. But it’s not just down to travel implications; regular disruptions such as security threats, weather and family problems can all lead to taking time off work. These interruptions can be easily avoided through the adoption of agile working, and new technology can enable workers to work from anywhere: home, cafes or even when travelling.
The Agile Future Forum define workforce agility practices in 4 ways:
- Time: when do they work (e.g. part-time working; variable hours)
- Location: where do they work (e.g. multiple sites; working from home)
- Role: what do they do (e.g. multi-skilling)
- Source: who is employed (e.g. direct employment or via contractors)
Every worker should, if their job allows, have the opportunity to go agile as and when their normal daily routine is disrupted. After all, most people have the devices they need to communicate and meet virtually: smartphones, email, Skype and laptops.
Businesses shouldn't be afraid to lose sight of their workers. Just because someone is first in the office and last out - doesn't mean they have the best results or greatest output. Agile workers can be measured through goal setting and status reports to ensure they are still working efficiently. Some research even suggests that agile workers are even more productive and find it easier to concentrate.
The unused workspace isn't anything to be afraid of either, in fact it's something that can benefit the company. The workspace can either be reduced, re-purposed or shared, thus saving the business a considerable amount of money.
Organizations will become more efficient through empowering an agile workforce. Business leaders just need to ensure their people have the secure tools they need to go agile, whilst also offering employees the flexibility to come in to the office should they need to.