The impact of flexible working: How to prepare

impact of flexible workingIf you’re operating a service desk in the UK, you’re probably already aware of new employment legislation that ensures every full-time worker is allowed to apply for flexible working, something that was previously only available to parents with children under 17 years of age. What might be less clear is how this affects the service desk and what can be done to prepare.

Flexible working will mean more people logging on from home and a more disparate workforce. As a result, there will be a greater emphasis on new ways of working and communicating; operating in and collaborating in real-time with access to corporate information will be vital for these flexible workers, not to mention their employers and colleagues of course. Unsurprisingly perhaps, this will translate to greater IT complexity and put extra strain on IT teams, as they’ll need to ensure flexible workers are properly set up to work in such a way and able to remain as productive as their on-premise counterparts.    

With this in mind, what stands out from an IT perspective is enterprise mobility management (EMM), which will be critical for organisations and IT service desks coming to terms with these new laws. It is an area our blogs have covered extensively in the past few weeks, where vital tips can be found for enterprises coming to terms with flexible working.

10-15 years ago it was much harder to set up an employee to work from home. Indeed, the vast majority of today’s employees will already have a good proportion of home office essentials such as a PC or laptop, network connection and office software. This would suggest that the introduction of flexible working may be an easy task, but I can assure you that this is far from the case.

If businesses want their employees to operate effectively from home, there are plenty of considerations besides these essentials. For instance, office software needs to be installed, updated and supported; PCs need to be secured with the necessary IT security features installed and the network maintained. It’s no good telling employees to do this themselves, even if they are capable of installing office software correctly. It needs to be managed effectively so that the same processes are in place for every IT user and so that every IT user can perform effectively as per his/her role in the organisation.

Finally, in light of the new legislation, IT teams may also want to reconsider remote support as part of their overall strategy. Unfortunately mobile devices, like any form of IT, are prone to error—be it malware, user error or compatibility issues. For workers exercising their right to work outside of the usual office confines, it’s no good attempting to take the device away for further examination. IT administrators need to be able to troubleshoot devices remotely and take control of them to view the device screen and use the device keyboard.

For more information on enterprise mobility, an essential component for handling flexible working, download our latest whitepaper on enterprise mobility challenges.