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The challenges of flexible working

Simon Rothenberg (Director) looks at the various considerations and challenges businesses in the technology sector face as the UK comes out of lockdown and more people adopt a flexible way of working.

Emerging from lockdown

As the UK lockdown restrictions have been lifted and people start thinking about a return to the office, many employers are adopting newer, smarter hybrid working patterns for their employees. This has been described by various names and given numerous definitions, but in all instances, it boils down to giving staff the option to work from home or from the office as suits their needs. People need to be able to work from home as smoothly as they can in the office, and vice versa.

Changes to your people’s working patterns

A large number of companies have decided that they can reduce their overall office space (and therefore cost) by allowing staff to work more flexibly – be that working from home for a set number of days per week or adjusting hours to allow parents to pick up children from school or people to attend gym classes when they would previously not have been able.

The challenges for businesses

These changes, however, pose challenges to the business. As people return to the office, technology will become even more vital to ensure that all people remain connected, even those who are not physically present. It will be all too easy for business leaders to fall back in to the ‘old’ way of doing things and forget that a portion of staff working flexibly may not be in the office together.

As people return to the office, technology will become even more vital to ensure that all people remain connected.

Embracing the new world

The huge improvements made over the last 18 months in both the software and hardware to enable virtual and physical attendees to feel part of meeting must be embraced throughout. This means having webcams at all desks (both in the office and at home), multi-person cameras in conference rooms, good quality microphones and speakers in meetings rooms (something which people have taken for granted at home, but many an office lacks) and, importantly, the control of any meetings to ensure those not physically present are able to participate in the same way as those who are in the room.

If simple steps such as this are not taken, those who are working flexibly, and not at the meeting in person, are likely to feel excluded – and the next time such a meeting happens they will be there in person, losing all the advantages of working flexibly.

In addition to hardware improvements, collaborative working in numerous locations needs improved project management tools (which work remotely), improved document sharing and editing software and employee/resource management tools. The software needs to work seamlessly and be easy to use without being a drain on IT resource or complicating processes.

How we can help

At Blick Rothenberg, we have regular discussions with our clients to help them understand the risks posed by flexible working, drawing on our experiences over the last 18 months and beyond. Clients value these conversations along with the relevant tax advice around the deductions available for any spend on technology.

The cost of converting an old office to the new modern flexible office is expensive. To help mitigate these costs we can advise on the availability of the Annual Investment Allowance and the new enhanced super deduction capital allowance where you can claim 130% of the cost of capital expenditure (more info here https://www.blickrothenberg.com/insights/detail/spotlight-on-super-deduction-capital-allowances/).

Would you like to know more?

Please contact a member of our technology team, your usual Blick Rothenberg contact, or Simon Rothenberg, using the details on this page, if you would like to discuss this further.

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