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Over the past decade, the office environment as we know it has changed dramatically. Flexible working options are becoming more popular, with research suggesting that flexible working could become the norm for 70% of businesses by 2020. However, in many organisations there’s an ongoing debate between the benefits of a traditional in-house IT department versus a team of IT staff who work flexibly. While there are obvious reservations about the issues from many organisations, flexible working can arguably be a huge positive for employers as well as employees.

The rising demand for flexible working in IT

Flexible working is extremely popular across the board, however studies have shown that demand for this benefit is exceptionally high within tech industries especially. According to My Family Care and Hydrogen, 88% of tech professionals consider flexible working to be more important than other benefits, including healthcare, enhanced pension, commission or a bonus scheme. 

In addition to this, 60% stated that flexible working options would be more attractive to them than a 5% salary increase, and half of those surveyed would rather have flexible working than a 10% increase. So with the demand this high, companies can’t afford to ignore it.

Flexible working is already a huge part of IT departments – you just don’t know it

We’re already seeing a huge change in the way that IT departments are being run. 81% of IT professionals claim they’re able to work flexibly to some degree, 15% higher than the average for employees across a range of industries. While that’s an impressive statistic, a large amount of those surveyed were unaware of the flexible benefits on offer until after they had accepted their job.

Although tech companies appear to be leading the way in flexible working, this isn’t always made obvious to potential candidates. Richard Stevenson, Manager of the technology practice at Hydrogen commented saying, “Despite the fact that many tech companies enable their staff to work flexibly, it’s actually quite rare that they want to advertise this when they’re hiring which means they’re really missing a trick.”

At Computer Futures, we understand that quality candidates are attracted by benefits, especially those surrounding flexible working. Dominic Spencer, a member of the Advert Writing team at Computer Futures agreed, “On average we see a better response to adverts with a good benefits package than those without. We make sure that all benefits on offer are made very clear to candidates, allowing us to appeal to the best talent possible in the market.”

The potential drawbacks of flexible working for an IT department

Although we’re seeing a rise in flexible working across the industry, many organisations are still fearful of remote working within an IT department, due to the potential for cyber security breaches. While this is understandably a concern for many employers, Andy Almond, Partner at Computer Futures, explains the appeal of flexible working for candidates looking for IT roles, “Ultimately, fewer candidates are looking for the standard Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, in-house roles. If companies want to attract the best talent, it’s essential they offer some kind of flexible working option. Otherwise, they’re doing themselves a huge disservice.”

Steve Brooks of Business-cloud.com states that in 2017 there are multiple cloud-based ways that organisations can ensure safe, remote working, particularly due to the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) success within businesses. He believes that as long as output can be measured effectively against a traditional in-house IT function, remote working can only be a positive thing. Sande Golart, the CIO of Fierce, also suggests that the fear of an IT department’s physical absence from an office is somewhat futile, “Technology has improved tremendously over the last several years, and don’t forget—the IT industry is responsible for many of the improvements that are now making remote working possible.”

The benefits of home working for employers

While remote working is attractive to employees, it’s also very positive from a business perspective. Offering flexibility to staff will likely see an increase in productivity, morale and staff retention. If candidates are able to live a more flexible lifestyle and strike a better work/life balance, this can result in a more motivated workforce. Ben Black, Director of My Family Care, states that “It really is a win-win situation for both employer and employee. It is fantastic to see so many enlightened technology firms who embrace the concept of flexible working.” 

In a competitive industry where companies are battling to attract the best talent in the market, offering flexible working makes you much more appealing to a wider range of candidates. At Computer Futures, we have strong relationships with a wide network of employees that possess a variety of skillsets who are enticed by flexibility options. If you want to tap into our pool of talent, contact us and we’ll help you attract the best technical talent on offer