Stay agile, even when wet
This month, as Tube workers went on strike and storms battered the UK, creating travel chaos and sometimes shutting down businesses altogether, large numbers of desperate organisations will have turned to remote working and collaboration technologies to get work done. The same happens every time there is a freak weather event or any other interruption to the smooth flow of trains and traffic.
Businesses that sample such technologies in times of crisis often find their eyes opened to the benefits of remote working, with long term benefits for their prosperity and the well-being of their employees. One such is Vodafone, which started exploring what it calls Better Ways of Working after its campus was flooded in 2007. It didn’t get everything right at first, but, as we find out on page 15, is now a firm believer in the benefits of flexible working.
Start-ups and small firms work flexibly by default. Using web-conferencing and collaboration technologies, many are choosing to operate as virtual businesses with no shared office space whatsoever. This can make good business and financial sense, but it requires careful monitoring if it is to work. Dominic Irvine, founder partner of Epiphanies, has experienced both the highs and lows of virtual team-working. On page 33, he shares his insights and offers Top Tips for managing a dispersed workforce.
Something all organisations with a flexible, mobile workforce have in common is a dislike of printing and paper. Piles of paper are anathema to hot desking and aren’t something that mobile workers want to lug around. But that doesn’t mean that printer manufacturers aren’t contributing to agile working. No doubt motivated by declining print volumes, many are diversifying into cloud-based collaboration technologies that, amongst other things, can be used to store and share documents scanned on multifunctional printers. On page 11, we report on a new service introduced by Sharp that could prove useful in the best of times, as well as the worst.