Flexible working guide

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Flexible working guide

  1. 1. Understanding… Flexible Working Unleash the power of your people Bringing it all togetherIT • communications • support
  2. 2. Contents • Help you to save time and money and to simplify the way you approach flexible working. For further advice and to find out more about how BT can help your business, get in touch with us at www.bt.com/business/ flexibleworkingguide 04 What is flexible working? 05 Some myths about flexible working 06 Implementing flexible working 07 Working with a converged network 08 A day in the life … 10 Implementation – some practical guidance Flexible working from home 11 Flexible working on the road Flexible working in the workplace 12 Getting started – 10 things to consider 14 BT – your guide to flexible working 15 Glossary of technical terms Unleash the power of your people Welcome to ‘Understanding Flexible Working’, one in our series of advisory publications designed to help small and medium sized businesses discover how to get more from their IT and communications systems. We aim to demystify key topics by: • Explaining the basic concepts so you can see how they apply to your business. • Outlining key opportunities and benefits so you can see what is possible. • Advising on the best approach to move forward, helping you to make the right decisions for your business and avoid common pitfalls. 2
  3. 3. Understanding flexible working 3 Why choose flexible working? The term flexible working has been around a long time and it has many connotations. People may associate it with shift working or flexitime, and other organisational solutions favoured by businesses with large workforces. These days, however, flexible working describes an approach that can benefit every size of organisation. It is based on the principle that distance or the lack of a fixed location are no longer barriers to conducting business. It also recognises the increasing demands on employees’ time and provides new tools to help them manage it better and with better results. Thanks to innovative technologies, you can now enable your people to work from home and on the move. This gives them more control of their lives and work and at the same time can deliver both cost and efficiency benefits to the organisation.
  4. 4. Flexible working can... • Enable employees to work remotely, improving their efficiency and productivity. • Improve service to customers and help you respond to issues as they arise. • Enable you to react to circumstances and new priorities quickly and effectively. • Help to reduce your dependence on office space and reduce staff churn. • Keep your people in the loop and working as part of your team. • Help ensure your business can continue to do its work despite emergencies and security threats. 4 Flexible working enables your employees to work effectively without having to go into the office all day, every day. One in three UK workers recently reported that they would rather have more opportunities for flexible working than get a pay rise. BT research suggests that by 2010, more than 50 million Europeans will spend some time working remotely, instead of at their usual workplace. An array of tried and tested technology – from personal organisers to high-speed broadband – enables you to access information at one remove and be in constant touch. Whether it’s phone calls, messages or emails, enquiries from customers, voicemails from colleagues, discussion papers, the latest price list or bid document, you can get the information you need, wherever and whenever you need it. The proof of the value is in the take-up: senior managers and remote workers in more than 42 per cent of companies already use email solutions such as BlackBerry devices and other personal organisers. With broadband, employees can work from home, with full access to company networks and services. And thanks to wireless and the latest generation of mobile internet connections, staff can work while travelling at thousands of public Wi-Fi hotspots. People appreciate having effective tools for their work, and it shows in their performance and responsiveness, so your customers share in the benefits of flexible working too. What is flexible working?
  5. 5. Some myths about flexible working 5 ‘It’s only for big companies’ Not any more. Flexible working is about using technologies to help get the best from your people and this is even more important for the smaller business. ‘If the internet goes down, so does my business’ It isn’t like that. Nobody needs to rely on a single connection. If a home broadband connection fails, there’s always a mobile phone, a laptop or a PDA that can make a connection to keep you in touch. ‘It’s too expensive to set up’ It needn’t be. You can start with a relatively small investment in the things that will make the most immediate impact and add more services as you choose. Bringing all your communications together over a converged network can reduce the overall cost of your communications. ‘If staff can access our files from outside, so can hackers’ No they can’t. Basic security measures such as firewalls and anti-virus software can deny hackers access to your data and systems whether you are working in the workplace, at home or on the road. Using a Virtual Private Network extends the security protection of your office network to any location, allowing access only to authorised staff. ‘If I can’t see my staff, they’ll do less work’ The opposite tends to be true. Allowing staff greater flexibility over managing their time and granting them easy access to instant communications helps them respond more quickly. Recent press reports have suggested that some people can become ‘addicted’ to flexible working technologies; it’s important to remember the ‘off’ button has a valuable productivity function too! ‘Home workers will feel isolated’ Some may, but regular online meetings and other day-to-day working links can reduce this. A ‘touchdown’ space gives remote workers a ‘home’ in the office and reminds everyone that the team includes people who aren’t always there. CASE STUDY Keeping your field force in the field 10 years ago, BT’s customer engineers used to turn up at their depots daily, collect their job sheets, load their stores and set off. At the end of the day, they’d return, having completed some or all of the jobs and manually update the system for the reporting and rescheduling task to start again for the next day. Now, BT engineers go straight from home to work, with jobs allocated and managed through handheld terminals. Picking up spares at centralised depots, each job is tracked and changing priorities can be managed. Customers can find out what is happening immediately and engineers complete more visits. The business now has greater control of its resources, offers improved customer service and employees appreciate the tools that help them get on with the job.
  6. 6. 6 Implementing flexible working In a dizzyingly complex and innovative marketplace, there are many choices open to businesses. You can use any of the individual technologies and devices simply by purchasing whichever meets your immediate needs on the open market. You will get the basic features and services you’re looking for – you can make calls or receive email on the move from day one. But you may also encounter some real disadvantages with this approach. For example, when you try to make new devices work together and link with your existing systems and services. Or when you realise the sheer number of contracts you have to cope with or the payments, warranties and maintenance agreements, and different online and telephone service contact points that you now need to set up and administer. CASE STUDY Converging networks deliver flexible working SABMiller plc, one of the world’s largest brewers, needed to relocate its headquarters within the UK. The move provided the opportunity to maximise the benefit SABMiller could get from technology, both for the people that work in the building and for the company as a whole. As well as a single network converging their voice and data services, a key requirement was a secure wireless network that offered both public and private access. SABMiller staff are no longer tethered to fixed working positions. Users can roam seamlessly between the wired and wireless infrastructures and a new unified messaging function means voicemail can now be accessed and managed through email. A converged network is also proving easier to manage and simpler to maintain. ‘The new solution has allowed us to reduce internal facilities management resources. The capital cost was less than expected and the ongoing cost of ownership looks to be very competitive. Working with BT has been a breeze; its people know IP technology and can support it end-to-end. BT will be able to help us going forward as the technology evolves.’ Roger Chappé de Leonval, IT Manager, SABMiller
  7. 7. 7 Working with a converged network There is an approach that can help. The key to getting the best from any set of flexible working tools is to use them over a single, integrated network – a converged network. With a converged network you don’t need a separate infrastructure and processes to support each device or technology – everything is based on Internet Protocol (IP), the technology at the heart of the internet. By setting up a Local Area Network (LAN) at your workplace, you can ensure all your fixed and mobile voice and data communications systems and devices work together securely and in new ways that will help you improve efficiency, reduce costs and improve your customer service. ������� �������� ������� ����������� ��������������������� ��������������� ���������� ����������� ���������������� ���������� ��������������� ���������������������� Installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) extends the boundaries of your office network and gives flexible workers access to the same information and services they would have if they were physically in the office. VPNs provide excellent protection against unauthorised users and keep your people more effectively in touch from home. Don’t let the technical language put you off – you can find straightforward definitions of all these technical terms in the Glossary at the end of this guide. Find out more about the advantages convergence can offer your business in our ‘Understanding Convergence’ guide, available from www.bt.com/ howtoconverge
  8. 8. 8 Steve Eungblut, Managing Director of Sterling Chase, a training, coaching and consulting company, relies heavily on mobile IT and communications technologies to meet clients’ needs quickly and effectively. Steve needs to be permanently reachable by both his clients and staff and, with his laptop, BlackBerry and mobile phone, here’s how he does it… ‘I work on my laptop and BlackBerry on the commute into London – it’s good to get through the avalanche of email and get on with the week ahead. I like to get in by 8.00am, as it is the best time for speaking to clients. In the taxi to my first meeting I update clients and listen to their concerns. Where possible, I use text messaging – clients like to be kept informed without clogging up their inboxes. After the meeting it’s back to the office to catch up with my colleagues. My Microsoft Outlook calendar and appointments are synchronised so people know where I am. We talk and I confirm some product details for my next client. Just time to download some PDFs from my BlackBerry to my laptop and I’m out the door. 11.15am Walking to my next meeting, I make some calls on my BlackBerry. I put a huge proportion of my business success down to the fact that I’m available anytime, any place, anywhere. Neither my clients nor my colleagues can afford to have me offline and I even took my BlackBerry on holiday – luckily, as I might have lost a six-figure deal had I not been able to respond instantly to a concerned customer. Working flexibly with BT–a day in the life 8.10am 10.40am
  9. 9. 9 3.30pm After a successful meeting I stop off for a caffeine top-up at a café with a BT Openzone hotspot. I send some urgently requested proposals and a slide presentation to a client using a secure, broadband Wi-Fi connection. I also browse the net and catch up with some industry news, and find out about Newcastle United’s latest signing. I can take calls anywhere because I use a call forwarding service to my mobile – it projects a professional image and I never miss a call. 4.50pm Back to the office to approve a proposal using our networked BT Business Broadband (speeds up to 8Mbps!) for fast download. The technology we use from BT is a fantastic enabler – we can be both productive and available exactly when our customers need. It’s no exaggeration to say my business would have failed without these flexible working technologies.” 11.15am 3.30pm 4.50pm
  10. 10. 10 These scenarios illustrate some of the management and technology issues you will need to consider in implementing new and more flexible ways of working. Flexible working from home Full or part time working from home can have clear advantages for employees, allowing them to balance work and family responsibilities. And businesses benefit too from a noticeable improvement in the productivity of individuals. In the home, a broadband connection enables occasional or full-time home workers to access the internet using a PC and also therefore to log on to your company network and systems, in order to access email and other information. A broadband connection can also allow the individual to make voice calls over the internet (VoIP), often at reduced rates. Note that consumer-grade VoIP services have security and other limitations and cannot match the range of features and services found on most business-grade IP telephony systems. Implementation-some practical guidance Checklist There are many ‘domestic’ aspects of homeworking that both the company and the individual need to understand and agree in advance including: • Appropriate health and safety standards and arrangements. • Funding of accommodation costs, such as rent, rates, power, heating and fire precautions and insurance. • Sharing or funding of communications costs including equipment purchase, line rentals, service subscriptions and call and usage charges. • Access to, usage and protection of company equipment, networks and services, and information. • How the individual will retain an equal opportunity to play a full part in required company affairs. Flexible working on the road Advances in internet and mobile connectivity mean people can use a laptop computer, a sophisticated mobile phone or other organiser or digital assistant to send and receive emails and other messages from home or on the road. 3G mobile services offer speeds broadly equivalent to a broadband connection. The need to maintain security means care should be taken to protect sensitive information when using a public wireless hotspot or a private local wireless connection.
  11. 11. 11 CASE STUDY Keeping up with the law Olswang’s solicitors are regularly away from their offices and need to keep in touch with the latest case developments and changes to their schedules – but remote access to email is just too cumbersome. BT provided a managed BlackBerry solution that enabled Olswang partners to receive and send secure and unlimited information by email, wherever they are. This has noticeably improved responsiveness, personal productivity and the quality of service delivered to clients. The solution has been so successful it’s been extended to all fee earners in the firm. ‘The BlackBerry from BT has been a revelation and we are looking at the possible deployment of other applications to further enhance productivity and efficiency. BT showed that it clearly understood both the technology and our requirements and tabled a strong commercial offer including comprehensive training and the highest levels of service support.’ Clive Knott, IT Director, Olswang Flexible working in the workplace Installing a Local Area Network (LAN) links all your phones, computers and other devices at a site or office together using IP technology to replace separate voice and data networks. A LAN increases the use you can make of your workplace. No longer dependent on hard-wired connections, you can move phones, computers, printers and people where you need them, when you need to. With a LAN, moves, changes and additions are easy to manage and configurable from a single PC. Adding wireless connectivity to your LAN (WLAN) takes it all a step further, giving you the ultimate in flexible use of your accommodation. No part of your premises need be out of touch or out of reach. There can be downsides for both home workers and people frequently on the road – they can grow distant from the organisation. It is a good idea to ensure regular opportunities for outworkers to visit the workplace to meet up with colleagues. A ‘touchdown’ area with a network connection and access to a phone and other services can provide a proper base and help people feel more part of the team.
  12. 12. 12 Getting started Venturingintotheunknowncanbedaunting, butthereare10keyfactorseverybusiness shouldconsiderinplanninghowbesttoadopt newflexibleworkingpractices. 1.Thestartingpoint Takealook at what happensnowinyourbusiness andwhere you need to makeimprovements.Do customers complain abouthowlongittakesto getaresponse? Are your keypeopleoutofreach whenthey’re out of the office?Canyouaccess company files and informationwhenyouneed them?Listing the real problemsyouneedto address is the best place tostart. 2.Lookingahead Whatare your objectives forthecomingyear? Areyou growing and addingnewcustomersand newservices? Where do youmostneedtoreduce overheads and costs, yet stilldeliverimproved performance? Try to assesshowyour communications needs willchange. 3.Seeingwhat’sinthemarket Thereare new devices andserviceslaunched everyday, so it will help yourpurchasingdecisions ifyouhave a broad awarenessofthedifferent functions and features of devices.Aquickcallto BTwillgive you a good ideaoftheservicesand functions that the latest laptops,mobilesand PDAscan deliver. 4.Buyingtherightequipment Cuttingcornerscanbecounterproductive.Staff becomeusedtoacertainstandardintermsof computerspecandsoftware,andmayalreadybe usingamobilephoneorPDAatwork.Asfaras possible,keepthingsthesameforthewhole organisation–thevalueofeasyoperabilityfar outweighsanysavingsmadeusingcut-down versionsofsoftwareandservices. 5.Planningfortheculturechange Flexibleworkingrequiresadjustmentsallround. Peopleworkingremotelyfacethegreatest changeandwillhavesome‘domestic’factorsto resolve.Office-basedstaffneedtobereminded thatthoughtheothersarenotpresent,theyare working,productivemembersoftheteam. 6.Gettingtherighthelp Itmaybetimeforafreshviewofyour communicationsneeds.Findareliablesupplier whocanadviseyouonafullrangeofconverged systemsandservices.Theyshouldhaveproven trackrecordandabroadportfolioofproducts andservices.Suchasuppliercanhelpyoutopilot newtechnologiessoyougetbestvaluefrom fullimplementation.
  13. 13. 13 7.Checkingyoursecurity Ontheone hand, access to certainkindsof company, customer and employeeinformationis restricted by law and commercialnecessity.On theother, companies need tobeopen, informative and helpful to staff,customersand investorsand increasingly transparentabout transactions. Security is all aboutauthentication andblocking unauthorised accesstonetworks, information and services andrequiresexpert attention from your supplier. 8.Keepingitallgoing Remoteworkers depend on constantandreliable connections and devices, somakesureyou provideappropriate maintenance,repairand supportservices. Maintenancecanbeamajor headache if each device andpieceofequipment, everypackage and service issupported independently. Your suppliermaybeabletooffer anall-incontract. 9.Keepinganeyeonthecosts Withguidance from the rightsupplier,youshould haveaclearideaofthepotentialcostsandoverall costsavings that may result fromyouradoption offlexibleworking.Havearegularreviewofcosts andperformance with your supplier– opportunities to reduce costsandimprove servicesmay become apparentfromexamining actualusage. 10.Beingconfident Althoughnewproductsandservicesarelaunched daily,thefundamentalIPtechnologiesbehindthe flexibleworkingrevolutionarealltriedand tested.Astechnicalstandardsbecomewidely adopted,differentmanufacturers’productsand servicescanworktogethermoresuccessfully. Yoursupplierwillhelpyouplanacosteffective waytoutilisethelatesttechnologiestobenefit yourbusiness. Choosing the right supplier Askanypotentialsupplieriftheycan: • Helpyouunderstandhowflexibleworkingwill benefityourorganisation. • Adviseonanend-to-endsolutionthat addressesyourorganisation’sparticularneeds. • Demonstrateatrackrecordofexpertise andreliability. • Provideindependentadviceonequipment fromdifferentsuppliers. • Helpyouunderstandmoreaboutyourreturn oninvestment. • Offercosteffectiveandreliableassurance, repairandsupportservices.
  14. 14. BT–your guide to flexible working 14 According to a YouGov survey for BT Business, directors of the UK’s smaller businesses increasingly recognise that flexible working policies can positively help their organisations, with 65 per cent citing staff motivation and 50 per cent increased productivity as key reasons to adopt them. In recruitment terms, younger workers prefer flexible working and would consider forgoing a pay rise in order to gain more flexibility. Some 70 per cent of graduate job seekers are actively looking for the chance to work flexibly and, at the other end of the age spectrum, flexible working can help you retain the insight and experience of longer- serving employees. Unleash the power of your people BT can help you adopt the elements of flexible working that will truly benefit your business, either as additions to your existing services or as a step towards developing a converged network for all your voice and data communications, now and in the future. We have the experience and understanding that you need and offer a wide range of services and equipment from the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers. We can help you devise and implement a flexible working policy tailored to your company’s needs. Our maintenance, repair and support services give you the reassurance and the response you require with a single contact point and contract to make administration simple. Contact us today Get in touch and we’ll help you review your existing voice and data infrastructure and services and show you the benefits your business could gain from adopting flexible working – at no cost. Visit us online at www.bt.com/business/flexibleworkingguide
  15. 15. Glossary of technical terms 15 BlackBerry a popular brand of PDA. DSL Digital Subscriber Line; a broadband connection over an ordinary telephone line. Firewall hardware or software that blocks unauthorised access to a network or router. Hotspot a location offering wireless broadband connections. IP Internet Protocol; the standards, rules and processes that enable voice and data to be transmitted over networks. LAN Local Area Network; the wired connections and equipment that make up a site or office communications system. Laptop a portable PC. PC a desktop Personal Computer. PDA Personal Digital Assistant; a portable, handheld device for receiving and sending voice, video and data messages. Router a device that enables data to be sent and received at broadband speeds over an ordinary telephone line. VoIP Voice over Internet Protocol services use a broadband connection to carry telephony services. VPN a Virtual Private Network extends an organisation’s network to outlying office or home locations. Wi-Fi wireless broadband access. WLAN a Wireless Local Area Network enables wireless voice and data connections within a site or office.
  16. 16. Offices worldwide The telecommunications services described in this publication are subject to availability and may be modified from time to time. Services and equipment are provided subject to British Telecommunications plc’s respective standard conditions of contract. Nothing in this publication forms part of any contract. © British Telecommunications plc 2006. Registered office: 81 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7AJ. Registered in England No. 1800000. Designed by Redwood Printed in England. PHME 51348 Bringing it all togetherIT • communications • support

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