I attended the launch of the O2 Local Government Digital Fund recently to hear how Local Authorities use digital technology to benefit their employees and where they have identified potential to improve.
At O2 we have looked closely at how we can improve workforce efficiency and collaboration through flexible working, putting our own staff in a position where they, and the business, can benefit. To create a successful flexible working culture we had to ensure our staff had access to and could confidently use all the tools they needed. We looked at the use of mobile technology, video conferencing, conference calls and social collaboration tools such as Yammer, as ways employees could work and communicate with one another. We also made sure that flexible working wasn’t simply viewed as working from home and considered varying working practices. This included changing the time of the working day to suit both business and personal requirements, reducing the need to travel to other sites and working on the move as part of meetings with customers, colleagues, suppliers or partners.
To ensure our people were engaged and that O2 realised the benefits, we decided to organise a number of flexible working road-shows, giving our employees the opportunity to find out more about how to work flexibly and the tools available to support them. We also heavily promoted the practice internally and organised a flexible working day which involved shutting down our Slough HQ to demonstrate that we could still work effectively away from the office. To support the day and raise awareness we made sure the communications were engaging, informative and fun.
Feedback from our employees has been extremely encouraging, as demonstrated in results from our annual employee engagement survey, ‘Reflect’. For example flexibility really supports our employees with their work life balance. The approach has reinforced the high level of trust we have in our employees to focus on the outcome of the work they deliver, not the amount of time they sit at a desk. Interestingly, a number of our people specifically stated that they have relished the opportunity to try innovative ways of doing things and this has really helped them work more effectively. As both a HR Director and a working mother of two, this is something that resonates with me and I am encouraged that our approach supported by digital technology has helped drive this working culture within O2. I look forward to hearing some of the ideas and suggestions submitted as part of the Local Government Digital Fund and to explore how to help our customers benefit from our own experiences.