The rise of mobile and cloud technology has made the possibility of flexible working a reality for many businesses and their employees, who would have once needed to be at their desks in order to get the job done. Cloud software and technological developments mean that employees really can now be anywhere and get on with their job as efficiently as if they were at their desk, as long as there is an internet connection. With this in mind, we have taken a closer look at some of the pros and cons of flexible working from the employer point of view.
Pros of flexible working for employers
1. More motivated employees
2. Greater efficiency if staff are working instead of commuting
3. Reduced turnover of valued staff
4. Lower absenteeism rates
5. Looks good for you as an employer – putting employees first
6. People can work when they feel most productive, even if this is outside the 9-5 hours
7. Attract talented workforce to whom flexible working is appealing
8. Promotes a diverse workforce
Cons of flexible working for employers:
1. Arranging group meetings can become difficult
2. Trust required
3. Disjointed projects can occur
4. Some people may take advantage
5. Disgruntled employees who need to be office based6. May become difficult to monitor performance
7. Communication breakdown may occur
When it comes to flexible working, there are many pros and cons but ultimately your business structure will determine if flexible working will truly benefit your organisation. Some employees might be needed in the office for meetings and to communicate regularly with other departments, whereas other employees might be fine to adopt a flexible approach. However, whatever your structure, technological developments have certainly made it possible to work anytime, anywhere.
With continually squeezed margins resulting in the ever-present need to do more with less, set against a backdrop of ongoing economic and political uncertainty, the manufacturing sector is facing some of its toughest times. In spite of this, the pressure is still on to capitalise on growth opportunities wherever possible, proactively pursuing new avenues to steal that all-important march on the competition.
Without a doubt, effective IT systems are a key enabler of growth, but where larger, less agile manufacturers may struggle to change course to chart new waters, SMEs are often in a stronger position to capitalise on growth opportunities, unencumbered as they are by restrictive legacy systems. But, with smaller IT budgets to work with, the benefit of being legacy-free can be somewhat curtailed by the pressure to make the right IT investment first time. SMEs not only need to invest in the right capabilities, but also to ensure they’re investing in capabilities that will work with what they’ve already spent money on. For example, there’s no point investing in a CRM system with a view to boosting service levels if it’s not integrated with wider business processes. Simply bolting on ill-considered solutions will only serve to add another level of complexity to operations, rather than adding value.
Many SMEs have found that having a single, integrated system in place to support all areas of the business is far more practical and cost-efficient than investing in a series of process-specific systems and solutions. A single solution that sits across the business, drawing in information from all departments and areas, is a much more effective way of improving processes. This ability to offer up-to-date information about precisely what’s happening means that such solutions deliver the levels of visibility and insight that manufacturers need in order to grow.
With a robust, scalable platform in place integrating all systems and processes across the entire operation manufacturers can pursue growth, adding new capabilities as and when required. Take Bell Lighting, a leading manufacturer and supplier of light sources and fixtures to the electrical wholesale industry: having experienced rapid growth in a relatively short time, Bell Lighting recognised the need to invest in infrastructure to support this expansion. With an incumbent Opera 3 deployment already bringing together all key areas of the business, it made sense to add to it and extend its reach with the addition of a new warehouse system. Not only has the new solution boosted efficiency in the warehouse, but the fact that it’s linked to all other processes via Opera 3 has resulted in improved visibility throughout the organisation. So, by automating the entire picking process (from PO through to labelling and dispatch), showing what’s being picked and by whom, it adds a whole new level of visibility for Bell Lighting, improving accuracy, efficiency and ultimately enhancing customer service levels.
By taking a step-by-step approach, with a focus on effectively gathering and using timely, accurate business information, manufacturers can optimise basic processes while benefiting from the levels of control and visibility that are necessary for growth. Incorporating seemingly mundane yet vital functions into business-wide IT systems enables a manufacturer to build a comprehensive picture of their operation and processes, with precise data at their fingertips. It’s only with this level of insight and control that manufacturers can expect faster, more effective decision-making, increased agility and, ultimately, continued growth.
Guy Atkins, Managing Director, Jo Bird Ltd
Jerry Anderson, Director, Agripower Contractors
Amna Ijaz, Financial Controller, Rigby & Peller
Russell Bartlett, Payroll Manager, Celtic Manor
Paul Goldfinch, Managing Director, Polar Krush
Jerry Anderson, Director, Agripower Contractors
Sandra Lay, Finance Manager, Swift Clean