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Flexi-working and the coffee shop office

Recent changes in employment law mean any employee with 26 weeks continuous service can now ask to work flexibly. Evidence suggests it might do you and your employee some good.

Since June, employees with 26 weeks continuous service have been free to formally request flexible working. Previously only parents had this right; now it can be requested by all. And you will have to at least consider it.

Flexible freedom

So expect flexible working requests to start coming in. Remote working might conjure images of staff jumping out of bed and starting work five minutes later, still clad in pyjamas, but many have discovered a half-way house, where they can benefit from a little conviviality but still relish a bit of independence and space.

O2 Business research found two-fifths of UK workers now spend more than half a day a week working from the coffee shop, or ‘coffice’, instead of sitting at their desks. And this trend is on the rise.

In polling, more than a quarter (26%) of workers said they prefer the coffice and almost half (46%) said they are more productive. Not surprisingly, these figures rise for the young, the self-employed and those in small businesses.

Flexible working, better working

Flexible working has psychological and financial benefits, but only if workers are equipped with the right tools.

That’s where O2 Business comes in. Cloud-based software such as Microsoft Office 365 and tools such as Pop Up Office, Google Docs and a portable 4G mobile hotspot, mean a mobile office can be set up in minutes.

‘At O2 we’re continually helping our business customers meet the needs of both the company and their employees in an increasingly digital Britain,’ says Paul Lawton, Head of Small Business for O2. ‘Equipping workers with the latest technology, underpinned by superfast 4G or Wi-Fi connectivity will undoubtedly help them to become more productive.’

Rules of the coffice

Working in a public place is fairly new to most, and might not be up to speed with the social etiquette. So here are some pointers:

You’re probably not the only one working there, so don’t shout on your mobile – stick to email or go outside. Likewise, bear in mind your neighbours mightn’t appreciate participating in your office meetings.

If you’re connecting your power source, keep long wires safely out of the way to avoid tripping anyone up.

Don’t chase Wi-Fi. Access to 4G means you can check your emails from your phone, laptop or tablet just as quickly.

Don’t discuss anything confidential in a public place. Whether it’s sensitive information about your clients, or a fellow worker’s appraisal, these conversations should be kept private.

If you’re spending serious time in the coffice, make sure you keep buying a drink, not just one when you first go in. It’s only fair on the proprietor.

Basically, it’s all about treating your fellow workers – whether they work with you or just happen to be sharing the same space – with a little consideration.

For more information on working flexibly visit O2 Business.

Articles are written by independent journalists and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of O2


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