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What Is Flexible Working?

How is it defined and can it help your business?

Citizens Advice defines flexible working as ‘any type of working pattern different to your existing one’. We would argue that it now has a broader definition. For many, flexible working means home working, remote working away from the traditional office, or anywhere other than your home. You might work flexibly all the time, or it might be just for part of your working week, something Xerox coin ‘hybrid working’.

To put it more concisely, flexible working is the ability to work when and where you like, in ways that suit you and your business.

Flexible working has a wider remit in 2022 than ever before. You might work different numbers of hours throughout your week, or change which days and times you do them as it suits you. For some, flexible working enables them to fit work around school, care responsibilities or something else.

Sometimes, flexible working is also compressed working (fitting more hours into fewer days) or a more limited amount of flex, often called flexitime, which has core must-work times but moveable boundaries around them. Increasingly, businesses are also moving towards four-day working weeks.

Flexible working can also encompass job sharing, self-rostering, staggered hours (more common under risk controls for Covid-19), time off in lieu, annualised hours and term-time working. Some flexible working requests are made as statutory requests, many others are non-statutory and organised informally between employee and employer.

Businesses can take advantage of today’s technology to allow their teams to be more productive and flexible than ever before, and it’s often a win-win for both parties.

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working is a mix of ‘remote’ (often home working) and ‘in-office’ working. This hybrid environment for much of today’s workforce is perhaps an inevitable result of improvements to the technology we use to do our jobs. The acceleration of hybrid working has been hastened by two years of pandemic and lockdown.

The response to the Xerox Future of Work Survey 2020, which included views from 600 IT leaders across five countries (the UK, Germany, France, the US and Canada), made interesting reading.

  • 82% of the workforce were expected to return to their workplace within 12-18 months

  • Companies were investing to support a hybrid workforce – 56% increasing technology budgets and 34% speeding up their digital transformation in response to COVID-19

  • Expanded, flexible, remote and home working policies were here to stay

What we’re seeing now, years later, is companies working across a spectrum of working styles from fully office-based to fully remote. Your business can make its own policies and decide what works best, whether that’s a hybrid workplace model or a fully remote team working from anywhere.

What are the pros and cons of flexible / home working?

A lot has changed in recent years. Many of the initial fears about flexible working have been overcome.

We’ve written extensively about flexible working and recommend reading more in our blog posts, including Ten Good Reasons to Embrace Flexible Work and Ten Cons of Flexible Work (and How to Address Them!)

How can First Copy help you with flexible and hybrid working?

Rest assured that First Copy is working hard to find the right products, services and support to help you stay adaptable, flexible and collaborative. We can provide all of your office technology hardware, software and support. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Tech-as-a-Service, a subscription model for all your laptops, desktops, smartphones, printers and more. We can bundle in your software, services and IT support for a simple monthly payment. It includes all the best office technology brands and keeps you flexible while saving you money on traditional up-front investments.

  • Small Xerox printers designed for homes and dispersed teams, launched with hybrid and remote workers in mind. These devices are deliberately designed to take up a small footprint and operate quietly. What’s more, many have access to Xerox Workflow Central, so that teams can access the great apps they’re used to from the traditional office.

  • Xerox App Gallery, an ever-growing collection of apps accessed directly from your printer or MFP. Scan to audio. Scan straight into Sage or QuickBooks, Box or GoogleDrive. Translate instantly from hard copy to more than 50 languages. Transform written notes to a word file in seconds.

  • Workflow and content solutions, software from our collection of trusted partners. Stay secure, communicative and efficient within teams with solutions such as Xerox Workflow Central, Xerox DocuShare Go, Foldr, hybrid mail from Postworks and many more. Our office analysts will be delighted to discuss your specific needs.

With these solutions and our expertise there is no need to worry about security, hardware, IT support, accessibility to printers or communication breakdown. We can help you address your remote working concerns and pain points and future-proof your workforce with a technically sound and connected team.

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