On 30th June 2014 employees got new rights to request flexible working. As long as that employee has been with the business for 26 weeks or more they now have a statutory right to ask for different hours, to work from home, job share or move to shifts. Firms don’t have to grant these requests but they will have to justify refusal. While the move has been welcomed by employees and some civil rights organisations, it can prove a technical and organisational headache for businesses who just aren’t geared up for flexible working.

So how does a small to medium-sized business manage flexible working?

Unified Communications

For any business in a position to grant one of these requests, maintaining productivity and company culture are primary considerations. Fortunately, the technological hurdles involved in maintaining that productivity aren’t as complex or as expensive as you might think. They can also benefit the rest of the business too. Unified Communications (UC) is the solution we would suggest. It isn’t a new wonder panacea for all your challenges, it’s a collection of products designed to solve your particular problem.

For example, you’re a clerical business that wants to allow flexible working or home working. You have six employees who all live in different locations and you want them to be able to work from home.

By using a UC solution including the Office 365, Vodafone OneNet and your existing software suite, we could build a cloud-based solution to suit your specific needs. Your staff could access all their work from home, collaborate within Office 365 of SharePoint and always be contactable via their OneNet number.

If your existing or proprietary software can be utilised in the cloud, we can achieve that for you too. Then, everything is wrapped up in a secure network, given passwords and secondary authentication if required and deployed.

Your employees can maintain productivity wherever in the world they are. You and your customers can contact them whenever you need to. Video conferencing, VoIP, or Microsoft Lync allows real-time collaboration anytime, anywhere. All these things are already offering significant benefits to businesses across the country and can easily be configured to embrace new flexible working rights.

Meeting your obligations to favourably assess requests for flexible working isn’t impossible, or even that expensive. With the right solution, the right approach and the right partner it’s actually fairly straightforward.

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