Two years is a long time in business terms, but that’s when we started our flexible working agenda.  In the early days it was an exception to work remotely. Everyone had to be seen in the office, because managers wanted their teams around them.

But now our people have a far more flexible work-life balance. Working wherever suits them best for that day.

So even through the recent storms and flooding that have caused chaos around the country, business has continued as usual for us as our people simply work from their chosen bolthole.

Don’t get me wrong, getting it right put our technology, our people and our managers under the spotlight. But we’re now seeing a number of results from this smarter way of working:

  • We increased the use of Microsoft Lync, a Unified Communications tool, by 31% in 2013 alone. It provides everything from instant messaging through to conference and video calling, and it’s and we’ve seen considerable savings with reduced dependence on traditional voice conference calling.
  • People rely on Lync so much we get complaints when it doesn’t work. But not everyone knows its full capability, so that’s next for us – communication and education.
  • I now conduct all of my regular team conference calls over Lync. We have anything from 150 to 200 people on the call at once, all connected using VoIP. And we can record the calls for those who can’t make it.
  • Our people can work on the move securely using smart devices to connect to the internet or the company network, with Managed Mobility providing the flexibility and control.
  • In our Operations department alone (around 1500 people) we’ve reduced travel costs by approximately 10% year on year. People now make a conscious decision whether to travel, only doing so when absolutely necessary.
  • The majority of our managers now support flexible working. They understand that it’s an outcome-based conversation with people that builds trust.

Enabling our people to work remotely and hot desk at the office is saving us around £7000 a year for every desk we no longer need. And our people are happier, saving an average 1.5 hours commuting time for every day that they don’t come in to the office.

To prove how effective our flexible working strategy is, in early 2012 we asked everyone based at our Slough HQ to work remotely for the day. It was a huge success – saving us 25 tonnes in carbon and helping our employees experience the benefits of flexible working. See what happened while our office was empty.

The technology is here to keep people connected no matter what. And the digital world doesn’t have to mean the end of human interaction – tools like video calling mean that people can still talk and see each others’ body language and reactions.

But, most importantly, none of this will happen by itself. As we did, businesses need to make a conscious effort to drive change – then all the benefits will follow.

Talk to us about freeing up your people and your business. Visit or call 01235 433 507.

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