HOW HAS SMARTWORKING COME ABOUT?
There has been a diversification in the ways of working in recent years. Flexible working hours, working from home or remotely, and working from a number of devices are all on the rise. Known by some as smartworking, the trend is expected to grow in the coming years. If smartworking is to become a part of modern working life, we must first understand how it came about.
Issues influencing the change toward smartworking
Smartworking became not only possible, but also desirable, thanks to a combination of factors.
Recent technological advances mean that almost every worker now has access to mobile computer devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones, as well as Wi Fi internet, which makes working from multiple locations easy. With features like cloud services allowing workers to collaborate on projects, there is no longer a need for physical presence in the office at all times.
Changes in the way people choose to work are also driving the smartworking trend. The number of British workers who work on a freelance basis has grown by 14% in the last decade. Freelancing offers more flexible working hours and helps to promote a good work-life balance. The number of people working freelance is likely to increase in the future, as 87% of university students consider it a highly attractive career option.
ECONOMICS AND ENVIRONMENT
Environmental and economic factors are also influencing the smartworking trend. The main advantages of smartworking that both recruiters and job seekers acknowledged in our Work Trends Study were improving work-life balance and reducing time and costs of commuting.
The environmental impact of staff commuting to work, and the added cost of heating, lighting and powering an entire office, can be reduced by increased numbers of staff working from home or from coworking spaces. As energy prices increase, so too will the attraction of smartworking.
How will smartworking change the world of work?
As smartworking becomes increasingly popular both with employees and recruiters, the traditional ways of working and running a business will undoubtedly change in response. With staff working from multiple locations and working on integrated technology, traditional business practices will need to adapt in order to accommodate this.
Accepting smartworking in the workplace will affect many aspects of businesses, including:
- hiring new employees
- team structure and teamwork
- employee contracts
It will also require a level of trust between employee and employer, as working remotely will require employees to manage their workload and time without assistance or guidance from higher management.
Traditional office layouts are also likely to change in order to accommodate smartworking. Hot desking, break out spaces, meeting rooms and collaborative spaces may begin to replace the traditional office layout where every person has an allocated desk. If staff members work remotely on a regular basis, there is no need for them to have a set location within the office.
THE FUTURE OF WORKING?
Smartworking has begun to reinvent how businesses run their workplace and staff. It also encourages creativity, flexibility and independent working. A better work-life balance will result in happier, more efficient workers. Will we see more and more businesses take on this kind of approach to working in the future?