Business bosses must adopt the latest flexible working practices in order to survive the economic downturn, according to research for BT Business.
Only businesses which can respond to their customers’ needs from the train, hotel room or even the beach will be agile enough to prosper, the report from the Centre for Future Studies indicated.
BT Business, the part of BT which looks after businesses from start-ups to medium sized enterprises, has produced an online quiz to allow bosses to test how flexible they are at http://www.insight.bt.com/Topics/Flexible-working.
UK businesses are lagging behind their European counterparts when it comes to offering employees the ability to work from anywhere using a range of smartphones, laptops and other broadband technologies. According to research from Ipsos MORI and RIM less than half (46%) of UK businesses enable employees to do this, versus 86 per cent of Spanish firms.
Bill Murphy, managing director of BT Business, said: “Flexible working is clearly no longer the luxury option. Businesses can thrive through their ability to respond to customers promptly, whether from their desk, the train, the home or hotel room. In the current climate, the most flexible businesses are better placed to respond to their customers and partners. Those managers can rest easy on their summer break.”
The online quiz presents a range of questions to help employees rate which “generation” their business belongs to – ranging from those simply operating flexi-time (first generation), through to those working with total flexibility of location, task and time (third generation). Users can see hints and tips to help implement flexible working, plus video case studies of business leaders who have embraced and reaped the rewards of flexible working.
In the current economic climate, research1 shows how working flexibly with the right supporting technology has real business benefits. Almost half of the UK’s small businesses (48 per cent) have won business through their ability to stay in touch
wherever they are. When compared to a European average of 62 per cent, however, the UK still has some way to go.
With business owners under pressure to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for their customers – holiday or not, tools are available to take the stress out of the need to be ‘always available’.