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Jamie Durham
IT Correspondent
3:00 AM 5th February 2022
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Five Ways To Make Flexible Working A Reality

Jamie Durham, founder of IT support firm Systemwork, explores flexible working and the steps that we can all take to ensure this increasingly common method of working truly works all round.

For many of us, a prolonged period of working from home has opened our eyes to the benefits — time gained thanks to the lack of commute, chance to catch up on household chores during the lunchbreak, and perhaps even an opportunity to sleep a little longer in the morning. So, it’ll probably come as no surprise that more than half of employers are expecting an increase in flexible working requests* as the country begins to emerge from the pandemic.

If you’re one of the many people who would like to see alternative working patterns become the norm, it’s worth thinking about what you can do to make flexible work a reality – in a way that not only suits your needs, but those of your employer too.

Here are a few ways to help you make flexible working a reality…

Create a functional working space

If working from home is to become a regular occurrence, setting aside a suitable space, with the correct equipment is vital. While not all of us have the luxury of a home office, choosing a quiet area with good lighting to prevent eye strain, is a good start.

Though it might be tempting to work from the kitchen table, a supportive office chair is a must if you’re to avoid unnecessary discomfort – which can have longer-term repercussions. Similarly, if using a laptop, an adjustable stand will help prevent neck and shoulder strain – while improving posture too.

Choose a reliable internet provider

Whatever the role, a fast and reliable internet connection is vital if you are to remain both efficient and approachable while away from the physical office environment. And with the increase in virtual meetings, this is especially important.

Therefore, it’s worth taking extra time over your choice of internet provider, and package. You may find that a change in circumstances warrants a previously disregarded option that now better caters for your homeworking needs.

Remain vigilant when it comes to security

Whether related to staff, customers, or the company itself — all businesses hold some form of confidential data. And regardless of the company, this private information is subject to laws which dictate its safekeeping. This is why, whatever location you’re working from day-to-day, it’s important to remain mindful of security risks — ensuring that you’re following the usual protocols just as closely as you would within the office.

Keeping passwords on a sticky note, for example, or forgetting to lock or shut down devices when not in use, might feel harmless in the home environment – but unexpected events, such as a break-in, can put crucial records at risk. If remembering credentials is an issue, online password managers which require you to remember just one login, are a clever solution which will keep all of your login details safe in one place. Meanwhile, make a habit of locking screens and entirely switching off devices at the end of the day. Better still, completely packing them away not only improves security, but also helps in maintaining a work/life balance too.

Finally, but just as importantly, ensure that all computer updates are applied as soon as possible. Because, not only do they help to ‘patch up’ system vulnerabilities but they keep your systems running smoothly too — as such, this is a vital step in keeping your devices, and the data they contain, safe and functional.

Be contactable

There’s no doubt that working remotely offers additional freedoms — but your level of contactability, shouldn’t be one of them. In fact, a lack of communication could place an unnecessary question mark over your flexible working ambitions. After all, without the luxury of being able to see and speak to you in person, employers will be keen to know that you’re just as committed to your role and responsibilities – whether in the office or out.

Thankfully, today there are a number of popular options such as instant messaging platforms and video conferencing tools which complement the more traditional methods of contact such as email and telephone. Together, these help employees and employers alike to remain in touch – whether for a short message exchange, or for a virtual catch-up.

Support

There’s little more frustrating than having an IT issue that stalls your ability to complete important projects. Worse still, not knowing how to solve it. Having the relevant details close to hand, whether for an in-house IT contact or an external partner, will help you to access the support you need quickly and easily — allowing you to get your job done effectively and efficiently — and prove that flexible working, can most definitely work for you.

To hear more insight from Jamie, check out a host of IT-related hints and tips here. https://yorkshiretimes.co.uk/writer/jamiedurham

References
* https://www.acas.org.uk/new-study-reveals-half-of-employers-expect-more-flexible-working-after-pandemic