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Over the past decade, the office environment as we know it has changed dramatically. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR) flexible working options are becoming more popular, it is a growing priority for talented professionals across all industries, and is becoming one of the core elements of a fulfilling career. According to an article on Fast Company, Dell aims to have 50% of its global workforce on flexible schedules by 2020.

However, in many organizations 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 organizations, 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 it seem to be a focal employment demand for many tech professionals. Employment website Monster.com asserts tech companies, especially within the emerging startup culture, are well known for offering flexibility.

60% of tech professional 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.

Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of Flexjobs.com, said in an interview with HubCulture.com “Millennials are going to be 75% of the workforce in five years, and they have come out loud and clear saying that they want jobs that offer more flexibility, such as remote options and flexible schedules.”

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. A study conducted by WorldatWork found that 80% of companies they surveyed offer some form of flexible work option and tech is one of the principal industries. Tech companies have realized that distributed teams can achieve similarly impacts like those who choose to work from an office.

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

At Computer Futures, we understand that quality candidates are attracted by benefits, especially those surrounding flexible working. Dominic Spencer, a member of the Advertisement Writing team at Computer Futures agreed, “On average we see a better response to advertisements 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 organizations 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 organizations 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. According to Huffington Post work flexibility is not only a benefit for employees, but is a big bonus as well for employers who are looking to get the most out of their best people. And one of the most effective ways to have happy, hardworking and engaged employees is to allow them to make reasonable adjustments to their own schedules that allow them the most efficiency in both work and their lives. 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.

According to HBR, companies that allow their employees to work remotely at least three times per month were more likely to report revenue growth of 10% or more within the last year, compared to firms without such policies.

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.