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HR and I.T – Dodge the Holiday Dilemma and Make Life a Beach

Leisure can be hard work! Here are some tips from Arkadin for staying productive over the summer break, boosting your bottom line and increasing engagement among your workforce.

 

Spring has sprung and everyone is looking forward to the summer months! With holiday preparations well under way, the digital generation can now make the most of flexible working, so that coming back to the office needn’t be a nightmare.

No two ways about it: Our busy calendars mean that by the time the weather is getting warmer we are all ready for a holiday. Whether this is a ‘staycation’ or a trip to the Caribbean, staying in touch can reduce stress not to mention you can share your interesting experiences with friends and colleagues. 

What if that power couple, IT and HR, could team up to help?
If HR and IT work together they can provide employees with the flexibility to stay in touch (if they choose to!). From an IT perspective this is providing the collaboration tools to logon and from an HR perspective it’s recognising that giving an inch to employees won’t mean they take a mile.

Here are four key benefits of giving your people a slice of remote-working sunshine.

+1 – Managing the summer timetable

The trouble with school holidays is that they all happen at the same time. Which means a substantial portion of your workforce needs to set Out-of-Office replies in the same six-week period. This can make it feel like you have shut down business for the summer – which might not be the case for your clients.

Fortunately, it’s not all-or-nothing. Imagine this scenario: HR co-ordinates employee schedules to enable more key people to take more time off, with the payback they’re available for half-days? It might permit (for example) parents to take a two-week break while only needing five days’ actual time off. It’s good for smoothing workflows – and great for retaining holiday allowance.

+2 – Adding money to the bottom line

It’s well known that flexible working drives efficiencies (not inefficiencies) – from reduced office space to keeping your employees happy and motivated.

What’s more, many people (not just parents) get their best work done later in the evenings or early mornings, when they’re best able to focus. Studies show they can even be more productive than in the office, with a 13% increase in output. Parents especially will love the cost savings. (In the UK, nursery bills rose 7.8% in a single year, according to The Family & Childcare Trust’s 2015 report.) Flexible arrangements save a bundle.

+3 – Retaining the most experienced talent

The UK government wants 500,000 more mothers to return to work to even up the gender gap; that’s a talent pool waiting to be turned into productivity. But the sad reality is that one-third feel unable to return to work after maternity leave. What a waste! Working parents tend to have a few years in the workforce already – making them your most experienced employees, and the hardest to replace.

That’s a golden reason for IT to work with parents to keep them productive from their homes. Research shows workers (parents and non-parents) actually work harder under flexible arrangements. So flexible options increase employee retention – meaning HR keeps the best people around longer, and IT has less training and re-equipping to do.

+4 – Honing the competitive edge!

While flexible working is a right for up to 20m workers across the UK, most haven’t taken it up yet. Which, for any forward-looking business, is an opportunity. When seen in the proper light, flexible and remote working aren’t add-ons but enablers of growth.

Give your employees the right to flexibility this summer, and you may find the benefits worth extending to all seasons. From the HR perspective, being flexi-friendly wins you more and better candidates for each job opening, and broadens the pool of talent to recruit from. For IT, adopting teleconferencing, video meetings, whiteboarding and document sharing puts technology at the heart of the business, making them even more indispensable.

And, of course, there’s an additional benefit for both departments: your employees will thank you.


That’s how the summer break can be your next business opportunity. It’s not about children, or parents, or even holidays. All workers can benefit from flexible work options. From clawing back an hour of productivity wasted in the commute, to aligning working hours with family commitments, the flexible HR and IT organisation is a more productive one.

Remember, ‘the digital workplace is the FREEDOM to work as individuals and teams anytime, anyway, anywhere’ – Earl Talbot NTTC

Takeaways

  • Remote working options can make busy holiday periods smoother.
  • Flexible working can save money for both employer and employee.
  • Innovative working arrangements give key staff a reason to remain.
  • Think of flexi and remote work not as a cost centre, but profit centre.

Discover how you can meet the needs of your employees and your business. Get our specially curated eGuide bundle for HR professionals like you, download HR’s Connected Business Bundle now.

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About the author

Annemarie, leads and implements the HR strategy across northern Europe at Arkadin Collaboration Services. She is passionate about the role of unified communication in company communications and employee recruitment and retention.

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