Removing the barriers for flexible and agile working

In today’s connected world, work is no longer a place you ‘go’, but something you ‘do’. While flexible working creates challenges when it comes to onboarding, online learning, brand engagement and company culture, video can offer an effective solution.

The paradigm of on-site office workers tethered to their desks has slowly eroded over the last 20 years. From the occasional day working from home, it’s now common practice to have a large chunk of staff working flexibly, whether that’s shifting hours to accommodate family commitments or working as part of a remote/distributed team.

The appeal of flexible working

In extreme cases, some companies are entirely ‘virtual’ with all staff working permanently from off-site locations and using cloud-based technologies to work, communicate and collaborate.

It’s not just a fad. A recent survey by the International Workplace Group (IWG) polled more than 15,000 business people around the world and unearthed some surprising figures. More than half of employees globally are working outside of their main office for at least 2.5 days a week; while 80% said that, when faced with choosing between two job offers, they would opt for the one that offered flexible working.

Reducing expenses, improving morale

But it’s good news for businesses too: 85% of respondents in the survey stated that productivity has increased as a result of flexible working, while 65% of businesses said a flexible workspace helps them reduce operating and capital expenses.

With the added benefits of improved morale and loyalty, plus reduced environmental impact, it appears that ‘generation flex’ – as IWG terms it – is a win, win for everyone.

The flexible working concept has expanded into ‘agile working’, which is based on the idea that work is an activity not a place. Where flexible working focuses on work/life balance (e.g. the ability to work from home, to timeshift your working hours, etc.), agile working is geared towards working smarter.

Agile working is less about the needs of the individual and more about the needs of the business. It advocates having the best practices, processes and technologies to enable people to work collaboratively and in more efficient ways. All of this comes together to, as The Agile Organisation puts it: “find the most appropriate and effective way of working to carry out a particular task.”

The importance of communication

Yet, while agile working abandons the traditional rules of where and when tasks must be performed, some underlying company structure is lost along the way. When employees aren’t based in a central location, how does a company handle inductions and training? How does it effectively communicate company information and ensure that its brand values are maintained?

It’s not enough to just adopt these new working practices and hope it all shakes out. The secret to successfully adopting an agile working strategy is to ensure you have the correct technology infrastructure in place, especially when it comes to video.

Video is an increasingly large component of business operations, whether it’s being used for teleconference meetings or for marketing/promotional/educational materials. With an agile mindset, companies need to adopt the best processes and the best technologies to manage video effectively. This means choosing a system that can effortlessly handle large files in multiple formats, store those files securely and quickly distribute them (internally and externally) with ease.

The key to becoming agile

To maintain or increase its effectiveness in these areas, a cloud-based media asset management system (one that’s optimised for video storage, sharing and distribution) can deliver a number of smart benefits.

1. Fast and reliable information sharing

Effective asset management enables staff to communicate and collaborate, working on projects with built-in back-up and versioning. Access to video libraries is also ideal for off-site training and company communications.

2.  Secure remote access to media

Employees will need to routinely get hold of company assets – documents, files, video, imagery – from anywhere and potentially at any time. This is best achieved using a secure online portal, which allows you to assign specific access privileges (to control access), and which, once it is set up, is simple to administer.

3. Increased togetherness and a shared culture

It’s hard to engender a sense of company camaraderie when the bulk of the workforce operates remotely. But, by providing the right tools and functionality, such as video conferencing, shared workspaces and digital training, you can enable staff to see and speak to one another, connect, cooperate and work as a team.

4. Deeper brand engagement

Similarly, understanding a company’s brand and values is more difficult when staff work externally. A fully-branded web portal can provide access to corporate communications, video presentations, brand guidelines, marketing materials and so on. This helps to ensure that the entire workforce buys into the company ethos and stays immersed in the personality and culture of the organisation.

Maximum flexibility, minimum constraints

Whether your company plans to embrace flexible working, remote working, agile working (or all three), technology is crucial in bringing any distributed workforce closer together. And it’s not just small startups that are reaping the benefits. Consumer goods giant Unilever embraced the idea several years ago, defining agile working as:

“An approach to getting work done with maximum flexibility and minimum constraints. It goes beyond just flexible working or telecommuting and focuses on eliminating the barriers to getting work done efficiently.”

So, getting more done means using a smarter way to communicate (e.g. video conferencing or instant messaging) and having a faster way to access and share important assets (e.g. a dedicated media management system that can handle everything from documents to high-definition video).

Find out more about how HR teams can embrace video across their organisation to improve communication, efficiency and engagement. Download the Riding the Video Wave report to get started.

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