You may not already know that employees in the UK will have a right to request flexible working conditions from their employer this April.
If you’re unaware or find yourself unprepared, QuoStar, an IT consultancy, has identified seven steps that could help you ensure you’re ready to face the implications of the new rules.
1. Think about your business objectives: What is the company trying to achieve in terms of its communications, operations and workflows? Any systems or processes left behind may be out of bounds to some flexible workers.
2. Map the technology to the business: All of your main IT requirements – service delivery, cloud, storage, network connectivity and security – will change as workers move off-site.
3. Keep an eye on employees: Flexible workers may demonstrate better productivity and quality as a result, but they may also lack the motivation and morale that a communal working environment encourages. Simple collaboration tools, such as Lync and SharePoint can be employed to ensure everyone’s still a part of the team and gets the same overview of important information.
4. Infrastructure isn’t just about IT: The way in which employees communicate is unique to every office and is seldom set in stone. For remote or flexible workers, what used to be a desk catch-up might become a conference call, which could create a demand for additional conference lines and/or meeting rooms.
5. Review security: The threat landscape will multiply very quickly once personal devices, dual-purpose devices and multiple locations are introduced. Make sure to have an expert analyse the specific security controls that will be needed to protect against these and other threats.
6. Think about productivity: Make a point of understanding the real impact of any cost-to-value decision for the longer-term. Don’t forget that not all employees are suited to home working, how are you going to ensure that they are being productive and manage them? IT systems can help, but you need clear policies that the IT will be monitoring and enforcing. Also, don’t forget that training may be required for some people and areas.
7. Test it: It’s essential to test all these systems – and then test them again – to make sure that your flexible workers have access to the same tools and support as office-based workers. There is almost nothing that can’t be effectively tested ahead of time and failure to do so can have serious implications.