I think cloud and particularly mobile technologies will persuade more employers to introduce flexible working. It already is. It is just a case of how long it will be before the office becomes a second thought.

The ability to work flexibly is extremely valuable to people. This is particularly the case with those with young families. If parents of young children do not have the ability to work flexibly, they’re likely to have to earn thousands of pounds extra in order to cope with childcare costs.

I think flexible working will accelerate as things like BYOD programmes hit the mainstream. Clearly when BYOD is implemented in a company people can work from anywhere and at any time. If they don’t, there seems less point having a BYOD programme.

I think it is probably the mobile that is driving flexible working more than the cloud. This is because workers are already au fait with mobile as part of their everyday lives. The cloud is the technology that enables these mobiles and workers are not as interested in the technology behind the scenes. In my experience, outside work, when I speak to people about mobile devices they are experts but mention the cloud and they switch off.

But the cloud will be important for IT departments convincing business leaders about the benefits of flexible working. If the CIO can explain to the CEO how the cloud ensures staff have everything they need while out the office, the CEO is more likely to view flexible working favourably.

However there are old fashioned beliefs that people have to be in the office to be working that might delay the take up of flexible working initiatives. When people experience how easy technology makes it to do what you would normally do in the office this should change.

Karl Flinders

Services Editor, Computer Weekly

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