Snow test for flexi
As the deep freeze sets in and wreaks havoc across the nation once again, an astonishing number of employees are left stranded at home and are unable to make it into work at a staggering cost of £1.2bn GDP to the already fragile economy.
As employees disappear en masse, more and more workers are expected to log on to view work email and documentation while stuck at home to keep abreast of important deals and to avoid coming back to a built-up workload and a backlog of emails. Those who are lucky enough to manage to escape the winter blues during the Christmas season are no better off than those less fortunate employees who are simply snowed under. Employees have often remarked that the week before they take holiday is one of the most stressful in the entire year, however, new technologies such as SharePoint represent one way of relieving this pressure. With more and more employees working from home during freezing weather conditions and scattered across different remote locations, it is imperative that business leaders introduce more effective ways to communicate and collaborate with their teams and enable them to access knowledge and data regardless of where they are.
However, the good news for employers worried about losses of staff and reduced productivity as a result of the snow is that 60 percent of employees think it is no longer necessary for them to be in the office in order to be productive, according to recent research from Cisco systems. The widespread availability of cost-effective and efficient technologies is driving changes in the world of work. Using Microsoft SharePoint technology is one of the ways in which employers can empower their staff – both to work flexibly and access critical information. Many workers, particularly senior staff, prefer to check how important deals are progressing and to avoid a build-up of stressful decisions upon their return from Christmas holiday. With record numbers of people now working outside of the normal working hours, the demands on technology are increasing as they are a means of enabling this flexible and empowered way of working.
Tim Wallis, CEO of Content and Code, a Microsoft partner that specialises in SharePoint services, says: “It is critical for businesses to protect their most important asset – their people – and one way to prevent demoralising those who are under pressure is to choose technologies that allow staff to make decisions on when, where and how they meet their deadlines. This is especially important in these difficult weather conditions where many employees are forced to work remotely. It goes without saying that if staff members cannot access the information they need, work will be delayed and projects may over-run resulting in loss of business revenue, which is the very last thing that employers wish to worry about. Likewise those on holiday also want to be able to check in on what’s going on.”
Some of SharePoint’s core benefits are that it empowers workers by enabling them to get on with their work by accessing the documents they need wherever they are, and by integrating with all of a company’s existing business applications. Employees no longer have to wait for a colleague to step off a flight or finish a meeting to tell them where to find urgent information, and in this way can address both external customers’ needs and internal needs rapidly. By using SharePoint as a company intranet, important data, from financial information to project status updates, can be centralised, which means that users are able to see everything they need in one place. It is a technology that allows companies to do more without investing in costly additional infrastructure, which is a big bonus in the current economic environment.
Wallis added, “Employees at all levels have reported the positive benefits of remote working, particularly those with caring responsibilities where flexibility is a huge factor in keeping them happy. Other remote workers also value the opportunity of real-time communication with important stakeholders and find the increased levels of customer satisfaction and retention of significant value.”