My Family Care asks Alex: The current generation of children is being raised on technology, but many of us are still of the ilk that used libraries for projects and textbooks for answers. Is technology a blessing or a curse? Is it too intrusive, or is Big Brother a safety net? Does technology make for stronger family bonds, or does it weaken the family unit?
Technology is a godsend
I hear so much about how technology is endangering our children and ruining our society, but it is clear that on the flexible working front, business technology is a godsend, as with the right tools, employees can now work from anywhere and not be a slave to the daily commute and 9-5 grind.
I do not believe in technology for technology's' sake, but recent research from Jobsite.com makes it clear what employees and employers think, and I know that only technology, intelligently applied, can enable these desires to be fulfilled:
- 46% want more family time
- 21% want to work on their hobbies
- 11% need extra time to study
- 24% want to avoid rush hour
- 75% of workers want more flexible hours
- 35% see flexitime as the most important perk of the job
- 32% feel they are more productive choosing their hours
- 56% of bosses believe new flexible working laws will make their staff happy.
The right to work flexibly
In excess of 2.2 million men and women in UK are not working in order to look after their family and over 60% are looking to return to work and need personal and practical solutions to achieve this. Now, every employee has the legal right to request flexible working - yippee!
A record number of people are already shunning the daily commute and working from home: there are now 4.2 million home workers - the highest level since records began in 1998 - amounting to 14% of the workforce, according to research from the Office for National Statistics.
Better results for businesses
Employers are getting better productivity and profitability; employees are happier, healthier and have better work-life balance. How is this seismic shift in the way you work possible? Business Technology!
Now, I am not saying technology is a cure-all and that is not without difficulties, but I can unequivocally say that the right technology is proven to be an enabler for quality of life rather than a plague on it.
Is there a technology shortfall?
A recent Microsoft survey reveals that there is a massive 'flexible working technology shortfall'. So, instead of complaining that there is too much technology in your workplace, you should be screaming that there is not enough: only 54% of companies feel they provide what is needed to their workers to work flexibly.
I would strongly encourage your company to invest more heavily in technology, and champion its transformative and beneficial impact on modern working.
Don't just babble away about the negative impacts of technology, as you might be shooting yourself in the foot (blocking your company adopting the very technology that will allow it and you to be more successful), like King Canute trying to fight back the tides with your Luddite attitudes!
Keeping up with technology trends
Technology is complex and evolving at an incredible velocity, so you will need help to get the right equipment you need. There are literally hundreds of tools that will enable you to create the modern working life that you deserve; it is proven win-win for employers and employees.
I won't go into much detail here, but some of the must-have tools for the modern mobile worker are:
- Unified Communications. Your business telephone, video conferencing, instant messaging, eFax, email from any device, anywhere
- Hosted Applications (SaaS). Whatever line of business software you need (be it Sage, CRM, or some legacy in-house system) available from any device, anywhere
- Virtual Servers (IaaS). Access to fast and powerful computing whenever, wherever
- Hosted Virtual Desktops (DaaS). Access to your complete office computer from any device
- Remote / Managed IT Support. Wherever you are, you've got the support you need to make the most of these game-changing tools, as I realise that not everyone is interested in IT and we all need a little help sometimes.
Alex Hobbs, Father, Consultant at Backbone UK