The world of working is changing fast. Technology is a key component of this change and the speed of its development. Another contributing factor to this speed of change is legislation that focuses on who is employed and the way we work. This includes legislation on diversity, inclusion, and compliance. It also includes government support for more flexibility for employees. Technology, if designed well, can help you manage these legislative challenges and support your employees. Understanding this process is key in planning for a successful business in the future.
Over the past two decades, technological developments have made concepts that were once nothing more than pipe dreams become reality. We have GPS systems in our pockets that not only tell us where we are, but also where the nearest top-quality coffee can be purchased. You can make a phone call on your laptop and see the person you are talking to – for free! Two people can work on the same document, at the same time, from two different computers and the changes are not only automatically updated and stored, but version control is automatic.
The workplace has changed as an environment and worker expectations along with it. People are no longer tied down to the 9 to 5 model of working (though its legacy is still causing problems), forced to wear a tie or heels, or work from the same desk every day. Instead, employees can choose to work from different locations; at different times of the day or night; hot desk; have a meeting on the sofa; work earlier, or later; have a standing desk and dress casually.
Those under 35 expect to be able to work flexibly. A Lenovo white paper on new ways of working states that workers over 55 are 8% more likely to choose before 10 am as their best time to work than the under-35’s.
Without technology, particularly cloud-based tools, remote and flexible working would not be possible. This shift in the way we work is further supported by changing government laws. Twenty years ago, for example, topics such as the gender pay gap and diversity and inclusion were not high on government or business agendas. Paternity leave wasn’t talked about, the compliance department of any business was an afterthought (if it even existed!) and, though now commonplace, employee satisfaction surveys were still a long way off.
Technology has provided employees with a visible platform, making them more powerful and therefore more able to influence working cultures. As a result, businesses have had to become more focused on understanding individual and team dynamics and ways of working. An ethical company charter, sustainability legislation that recognises the company’s responsibility in the community, and environmental and sustainable supply chain policy, have all become essential business considerations. Most recently, I was consulting with a global organisation on their health and safety policy for employees working from home.
So, what does all of this mean for managers and employees?
Well, firstly, technology supports flexible working for the employee. At DuoMe, we are continuing to build a digital learning journey that supports flexible working applications, as well as the employee once they are working flexibly. This support, for the lifecycle of the flexible-working journey, ensures the employee recognises and considers all aspects of the transition to a different working approach.
Secondly, technology can support the managers to work through the transition to flexible working and become skilled at managing the performance of a flexible workforce. At DuoMe, the flexible working managers’ toolkit begins with supporting a managerial mindset and continues through to processes for performance improvement.
Finally, from an HR perspective, technology can ensure both managers and employees are adopting a best-practice approach to flexible working. The DuoMe digital platform works with both parties through a step-by-step process, recording outcomes from each step, and sharing these with the HR team. Providing peace of mind for all parties involved in new ways of working is tantamount to the digital process.
Ultimately, technology can help organisations deliver on their employee objectives, as well as meet the needs of internal and external legislation. It simplifies the process by supporting the transition to the future working practices. With the use of technology, the entire employment ecosystem is ripe for, and will benefit from, a flexible workforce.
So, go out, and seize your opportunity to find your unique way of working and make it happen!