Get More Done, Get Out of the Office

People get more done if they’re free to work how and where they want.

The future is already here, says novelist William Gibson, it’s just unevenly distributed. It’s the same with attitudes to work. Some companies still take a 19th century view of work. Fixed hours, fixed offices, fixed thinking. For employees in these companies, work is just a place. Others are more progressive. For them, work is something more.

Technology has changed the nature of work. The idea that you could use a computer outside the office is very recent. Compaq, launched the first portable PC a mere 25 years ago. It’s the same thing with communications. Motorola launched the first mobile phone a year later in 1983. Thanks to technology, you don’t need to be in the office to be at work. The pace of change isn’t going to let up.

However, technology isn’t the only force at work. There is a new world of work (140kB, DOC) out there, according to Microsoft. The changing role of the employee was one of the biggest changes. Technology, globalisation and economic change have created a new breed of information worker. Every business has become, at least in part, an information business. Consequently, access to information and the ability to use it have become critical.

People have personal reasons for seeking a better work-life balance. One in six adults cares for a disabled, sick or elderly person. Old family models don’t apply any more. In the UK, only 9 percent of adults are in a relationship where the man is the sole breadwinner. And, of course, parents want to dovetail work with childcare commitments. For many people flexibility is a necessity; conversely, inflexible companies artificially limit their ability to recruit the best people.

Companies need to liberate their staff. They need smart technology and smart working practices, including the ability to let people work when and where they want. What does this mean in practice?

  • Flexible working hours and employment policies
  • The ability for staff to work from home some or all of the time
  • Using technology, including notebooks, to let people work in different places.

It’s clear from HP’s own research (and our own experience as an employer) that individuals want this kind of flexibility and respond positively to it. Our survey of small business employees found:

  • Four in ten would be happier if they could dictate their own working hours.
  • Almost half of respondents (46 percent) said that greater flexibility would be beneficial.
  • Among 16-24-year olds, 60 percent wanted greater flexibility.
  • Flexibility correlated strongly to employee motivation and productivity.

Turning employees from drones into individuals has benefits for the companies that do it. These include:

  • Improved staff retention and recruitment.
  • Less pressure on office space, especially if you use some degree of ‘hot desking’.
  • Raised productivity.
  • Use ‘downtime’ to get work done, for example on the train or waiting for appointments.
  • Access to accurate information in real time, such as calendars, email or product prices.
  • Staggering staff hours to allow the business to stay open longer during the day.
  • Faster responses to customer enquiries.

This business advice article published in association with HP. Find out more about HP Laptops, Tablets, Desktops, Printers & Servers


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