Why Small Businesses Should Embrace Flexible Working

2018’s infamous ‘Beast From The East’ snow event is fondly remembered by most. The bread memes. The igloo building on the green. The sense of achievement following your wintery expedition to your local for the essential ‘snow pint’.

From an economic standpoint however, the memories aren’t so warm and fuzzy. Businesses were hit hard with estimated losses to retailers, restaurants and bars projected at the time to reach more than €160 million. But for Ireland’s sizeable proportion of white-collar led businesses, the blow was softened significantly, with management resorting to the company-wide email titled ‘Employees are requested to work from home’. It turned out to be a lifeline for many.

During this time of weather disruption, the advantages of remote and flexible working solutions were clear for businesses of all sizes to see. Of course, businesses don’t need to wait for the next historic weather event to reap the benefits of these solutions. The greatest value will be achieved by those actively implementing these as routine.

Benefits of Offering Remote and Flexible Working

Working from home

Our most recent Digital Insights Report found that 61% of Irish businesses are now enabling staff to work from home as part of their normal hours while the share of staff doing so is up to 24%.

The trend is certainly towards work flexibility and it’s no surprise as the research increasingly points towards countless benefits of the practice, from happier, healthier and more productive employees to reduced costs for employers.

The Virgin Media Digital Insights Report found that staff who work from home are happier than those who don’t, with 86% of bosses surveyed agreeing with the statement. Removing the friction of commuting to the office, battling with public transport or rush hour traffic appears to be a big factor, reducing unnecessary stress and gifting that valuable time back to the employee.

A 2011 study of more than 20,000 workers published in BMC Public Health found a significant link between commuting and negative health effects including sleep disturbance, everyday stress, exhaustion, low self-rated help and sickness absence.

Happier, healthier employees tend to bring positive outcomes for employers too with employees less likely to leave, reducing the substantial costs associated with the hiring process. Even when the hiring process does come into play, all of a sudden, a great job candidate need not be ruled out due to their location.

Remote working employees have also been reported to be more productive. Cost savings can also come as a biproduct of employees being increasingly off-site, with premises and running costs reduced.

 

How Businesses Can Offer Flexible Working

Technology is central when talking about remote and flexible working options and it’s important to understand the ways in which it can be implemented into your own organisation to achieve a truly mobile workforce.

Instant messaging and VoIP conferencing platforms are great examples of technology that can streamline how your workforce communicates both with each other and your customers. Smart businesses are also using various cloud storage applications and platforms for real time document editing and online team collaboration, no matter where each member of the team is based.

All of this wouldn’t be achievable without a highspeed, reliable and secure internet connection.

Enter Virgin Media Business

There’s no denying the trend for flexible working is on the upswing and our teams are continuously working to ensure that Virgin has all the ICT solutions that the flexible business of today… and tomorrow, could require.

Aidan D’Arcy, head of business services at Virgin Media Business says: “People are most successful when they have the everyday flexibility they need to meet the demands of their professional and private life. “That is why Virgin Media is not standing still. Backed by parent company Liberty Global, Virgin Media is investing £3 billion to extend its ultrafast fibre broadband network to an additional 4 million premises, to reach a total of 17 million homes and businesses across Ireland and Britain. “Ireland is already the home of serious technological innovation as well as investment from international technology companies. We’re building Ireland for the future and laying the foundations to deliver 1GB capacity so that every Virgin Media customer can experience and have access to our fibre-based GIGAReady network. “Virgin Media Business offers a comprehensive range of digital solutions to ensure that you and your organisation are always on and ready to work; no matter the odds. “

The Home-Working Solution

Our bespoke Home-Working Solution can act as your one-stop-shop solution to enabling your firm to offer flexible working with ease. This solution offers reliable internet speeds of up to 500Mbps broadband. If your business runs on one or more servers, utilises applications that require external access or allows a service to run incoming audio or video, you will need a static IP address. The Home-Working Solution includes this Static IP address, delivered over the Virgin Media Business GIGA-Network to provide the reassurance of being able to securely share confidential data.

Your Partner in Business Transformation

Within any organisation, it’s the digital leader’s role to promote the use of the cloud-based, work-anywhere, access-everything applications described above because they know it’s how people work now – and will into the future.

You won’t be on your own. Virgin Media Business is more than your broadband provider. As a customer, you will have a partner in business, ready to support your digital world and work with you to tackle any challenges you face.

Contact the team now on 1800 940 062 to discuss how we can support you in your business’ digital transformation.