Still some work to do before businesses truly embrace flexible working

Results from our recent survey highlighted that only 38% of employees from across Ireland and the UK are currently offered flexible working from their employers. This is surprising as there has been a real focus on promoting flexible working practices in both the private and public sectors in recent times. Also of those surveyed that haven’t been provided with the tools to work flexibly, more than two thirds said they would like to be able to.

Flexible working is not simply about working when and where you choose to work, it’s about creating the perfect work life balance for each individual resulting in a much more productive, happy and interactive employee.

New technologies are enabling more flexible working opportunities for businesses of all sizes. Not only do these systems and processes facilitate mobile working but they can now do so in a highly secure and compliant way. Organisations can allow employees to access documents in a secure environment no matter where they are and crucially can be reassured about the integrity of the protection of that data at all times. These technologies are providing us with ways of working that are not only more mobile but also smarter and ultimately foster better productivity and collaboration.

At Ricoh we hold this at the core of what we do and have seen the benefits that flexible working can have first-hand. Since introducing our New Ways of Working, which encompasses over 80 programmes, we have been able to find a way of working that is tailored to each team’s needs ranging from fixed, flex and field employees.

IrelandDespite the results of the survey highlighted above, flexible working practices are going to continue to become much more popular in today’s workforce. Other European countries are beginning to introduce legislation to make flexible working accessible to all employees, who will now have a large say in when, where and how they choose to work. I believe that similar legislation is needed here in Ireland to ensure we are truly embracing the transformative power that these work practices can have both within a company and also within someone’s personal life.

In light of the opportunities flexible working offers, it must not be used as an excuse to expect staff to work around the clock. Everyone is entitled to switch off and this is often vital in being really productive when in work. Flexible working should ultimately be viewed as a way to work in a smarter, more effective way and I would like to encourage other businesses to embrace it and enjoy the benefits.

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