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How flexible working came of age

See how employee demand, advancement in technology and a desire for business efficiency have come together to set the stage for a new era of flexible working.

By now, most people have had some experience of what it’s like to work remotely. Moving away from traditional expectations of “office work” being office-based, the younger generations entering the workforce have been a driving force in changing our working culture. Now it looks like flexible working could be here to stay. And that will have a much wider impact than some people realise.

Our new O2 Business research report has shed light on what’s important to people working in businesses of all sizes. 45% of people want flexible working for a better work-life balance. That doesn’t just mean they choose whether to work from the office or at home. The need is for a more adaptable approach overall.

Over a third of people who responded to our survey told us they wanted the freedom to work at a time that suits them. And not only are people asking for the flexibility to set their own hours, they also want the technology to make their work as efficient and productive as possible.

This technological aspect is fundamental to the cultural shift. Laptops and mobile devices are becoming more and more powerful, wifi is more reliable than ever, and with growing investment in connectivity, we can expect more of us to be working flexibly in future.

So how will the new ways of working affect the day-to-day realities of business? While it’s true that the emergence of COVID-19 has driven workplace transformation at a greater speed than most people were expecting, as far as the use of office spaces are concerned, organisations were already beginning to cut back. In a 2020 Gartner survey of CFOs in the US, 13% of respondents noted they had already made cost reductions in real estate expenses.1

Moving more work into the cloud enables a reduction in business overheads. More connected workforces can share information more quickly, leading to an increase in productivity. And, organisations will be able to draw on a wider recruitment pool, which could lead to a rise in specialisms and perhaps even a new approach to employment.

What’s clear from our research is that, although the normal business model may be changing, organisations must ensure they continue to provide the infrastructure for people to collaborate, communicate and connect with one another.

Many businesses have been surprised by how effectively their people could work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. 74% of the companies are now planning to enable more remote working in the future.1 O2 Business can help you find the tools and support you need in order to build a more flexible and efficient, modern workforce.

1 Gartner, 2020. Gartner CFO survey reveals 74% intend to shift some employees to remote working permanently.

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