SOCITM (Society of Information Technology Management)
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Few councils are realising the benefits from flexible and mobile working says new briefing from Socitm

Few councils are realising the benefits they could from flexible and mobile working and as a result are missing out on potential savings on buildings and accommodation costs, as well as other benefits like higher staff productivity and reduced CO2 emissions.

The problem is not a technical one says the briefing, since most councils now have the required infrastructure. Obstacles are mostly around resistance to change and reluctance to let go of 20th century management thinking which says: ‘If I can’t see my people, how do I know they are working?’

The briefing points out that employment costs are the biggest item on the budget of almost every public sector organisation and that flexible working enables people to be deployed more effectively. Research also shows it makes them happier, more engaged with their work, and more productive.  Increased mobility thanks to technology means that professionals can work in and with the community rather than being tied to the office. Aside from the benefits to council customers, there are benefits from increased building occupancy ratios, asset disposals and reductions in maintenance costs. Benefits to the environment are an added bonus.  

The briefing gives examples of efficiency and other benefits that organisations are realising from mobile and flexible working, centred on four main areas: people, buildings, mobility and the environment. It challenges managers to look at the facts and justify failure to act when there are opportunities to drive productivity up by 40% and simultaneously make dramatic improvements in customer service.

‘We have made these points before’ says briefing author Chris Head, ‘Yet we know most public sector organisations have yet to grasp the nettle. Now is a really good time to take action – any public sector organisation that isn’t already looking for big savings certainly will be very soon, when the decline in tax receipts, increasing benefits claims, and huge Government borrowing will force their hand.  Managers must learn to manage people through what they achieve, not by how long they spend in the office.’

The briefing suggests that this is an area where the ICT function could step forward and lead the change, by demonstrating the opportunities to the rest of the organisation. A checklist is provided to help managers to assess how their organisation is doing.


Further information

Rob Adams, Socitm Press Office. Tel: 0121 214 1531 Mobile: 07726 360524
rob.adams@socitm.gov.uk

Martin Greenwood, Programme Manager, Socitm Insight
Tel: 01926 498703 or 07967 383755  e-mail:
martin.greenwood@socitm.gov.uk
 

Notes for Editors:

>From 2009, Socitm Consulting and Socitm Insight are joining forces to publish monthly briefings on issues of topical interest. The theme of the first six issues in 2009 will be ‘achieving more with less’, offering advice to Socitm members on how to deal with the impact of the global financial crisis on the public sector. Briefings are available to Socitm Insight subscribers and clients of Socitm Consulting only

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