To share knowledge and build community, we would like to share with you some of the participants in the Technology@Work MOOC’s blog posts below.
Flexible working is when work hours are arranged to suit an employee’s needs. This arrangement could describe the work location, for example, homeworking, or nature of employment contract, such as a temporary contract. Other common variations include part-time working, job sharing, and shift work. ICT and other technological innovations have increasingly made it possible for even more flexibility to be brought into formal employment, giving employees more options for choice and location of employment and nature of work performed. Work is carried out more efficiently, giving workers the convenience of concluding a work day and catching up on correspondence without necessarily going back into the office. Internet-based communication and transaction systems, email, mobile devices, computer integrated telephony, groupware, workflow, multimedia, etc. have become standard work tools for today’s highly mobile workers and further enabled more fluid global value chains in work, production and business.
This flexibility helps foster a better work-life balance for workers while they acquire more skills in technology and entrepreneurship. Former employees can become freelance, offering their services to various employers in different locations. However, it has been argued that the autonomy could create more dependency and infringe upon social or private time, as work is quickly brought into the home, restricting free time and social relationships. Demanding bosses and email accessibility at all hours, creates intrusion and blurs the line between work hours and free time, resulting in fatigue and stress. This has led some European countries like France to oversee an agreement between employers’ federations and unions restricting official email and phone calls to work particular hours.
The advantages, however, are undeniable. More options and choices empower workers and creating new opportunities. Borders are no longer barriers. Now flexible work could also be remote working. Global teams and international networking open up more possibilities. Flexibility and increasingly innovative technology will help shape new developments and trends in employment and business, as the quality of work continues to evolve.