The demand for flexible working conditions and flexible work arrangements is a growing trend in New Zealand, and with benefits linked to increased productivity and happier staff, it’s no wonder a growing number of savvy law firms are taking notice. Everyone, it seems, is after the ‘4 Hour Work Week’, or some flexi-time equivalent.
It may sound challenging to implement and manage a flexible working policy, but with the right tools and technology in place, the benefits can easily outweigh any initial inconveniences.
To help illustrate how flexible working arrangements can benefit employers, employees and clients, we’ve taken a look at the ‘myths’ historically associated with flexible working and so-called ‘flex time benefits’, and busted them with new research and insights.
THE PRODUCTIVITY MYTH: Flexible Working leads to slacking
This myth centres on trust and indicates a lack of trust, which isn’t positive in any workplace. The truth is flexible working actually empowers people to work the way they want, which can improve efficiency.
Many employees are already taking flexible working into their own hands anyway, with 90% admitting to breaking workplace rules simply to get things done, and 66% saying they regularly email company files to personal email addresses so they can work from home .
By equipping people with innovative technology and tools, you can remove the barriers to getting things done and stop workplace rules being broken – helping to improve morale, retain staff, enable diversity and more.
THE ENTITLED WORKER MYTH: Flexible Working is all “one-way”
It’s easy to see why flexible working is beneficial for employees – nine out of ten say that it’s had a positive effect on their lives . But it’s the positive results that flexible working is driving for employers, that’s making so many businesses take notice. Four out of five businesses with a flexible working policy, report improved productivity .
And it’s not hard to understand why. When staff are equipped with unified communications technology, they can work using real-time file & screen sharing and collaboration tools from anywhere they’re connected. It’s no wonder employers are reporting benefits like time savings of three hours, per week, per mobile worker.
And perhaps more impressive, improved efficiency and customer service .
>> “Download a Free Report on Flexi Time Benefits and How You Can Use Technology To Drive Costs Down and Profits UP!” Download Link
THE NO-NEED MYTH: “We’re already working flexibly”
Already got laptops on Wi-Fi? And mobile phones for everyone? Great start. But you should know that 65% of employees are frustrated by having multiple devices with software that doesn’t work together or do what they need it to.
Only 16% of employees feel that their current IT setup fully enables flexible working .
The good news is, an existing setup like this (having mobile and/or laptops) means empowering your staff with a genuine flexible working approach, enabled by Unified Communications, may be easier than you think. You can integrate all your landline, mobile, desktop and tablet connectivity using a single platform and manage it online, on the fly.
THE MONEY MYTH: “It’s expensive to move to a flexible working setup”
While it’s natural to assume that moving to a new system is going to be expensive, the truth is that advances in technology have changed the game.
Hefty hardware setups, cost blowouts from customisation, disruption during rollout, and ongoing maintenance and repairs are much less common. Today’s unified communications systems provide businesses with scalable packages with per-user pricing (especially good for seasonal surges), PBX-free office reconfiguration, savings on fixed line costs, external tele-conferencing fees, and more.
And it’s not just managing technology costs either: almost half of employees would prefer a flexible working environment to a pay rise  – it’s just how people want to work.
THE REDUNDANCY MYTH: “It’s going to put our IT people out of a job”
It’s time to re-imagine the way you could be working, with unified communications. Imagine no more nursing a complicated and ageing PBX along. And no more crawling under desks to re-patch everything because a new employee has started.
Instead, you could have simplified management, automatic upgrades, enhanced reliability and, in all likelihood, cost savings – all combining to set you free to afford the shiny new stuff, instead of struggling with the same old dusty stuff. Enable your IT people to focus on training, strategy and big ideas, rather than fixing old problems.
THE DOWNTIME MYTH: “It’s way too complicated to move to and manage a flexible working setup”
By its very nature, implementing a unified communications setup means dealing with one provider, and one point of contact. Automatic upgrades mean you can be confident that your business telecommunications are future-proofed, without the manual time and attention required to do the same with a traditional PBX setup.
Your employees will be up to speed in no time too – if they aren’t already. Employee expectations toward digital work tools have already changed, due to increased mobile connectivity in their private lives .
THE BEAN COUNTER MYTH: “Flexible working is just a cost-saving exercise”
Unified communications doesn’t just remove or replace costly infrastructure. It removes the barriers to connectivity and collaboration, so people can work on the devices they want and in the places they need – all while seamlessly keeping in touch as one team.
Reap cost savings in terms of PBX leasing and maintenance, office space, staff retention and training, unnecessary travel and more. Use unified communications to work re-imagined, and see enhanced customer service, increased productivity and a happier team, too.
Your employees are likely to be already spending more than 80% of their time working collaboratively, it’s time to set them free .Want to find out more about flexible working?
References:  Vodafone UK Digital Workplace study  Vodafone flexible working 2015 study  Vodafone flexible working 2015 study  cioinsight.com – “Reaping the benefits of Unified Communications” 2014  Vodafone flexible working 2015 study  Vodafone flexible working 2015 study  thehrdirector.com – 2016 study  thehrdirector.com – 2016 study  Vodafone flexible working 2015 study
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