Work in the Digital Era

Last week we had a look at some new and innovative forms of flexible working arrangements facilitated by digital technologies. Whilst such flexible working arrangements bring with them many benefits, they can also have drawbacks. This week we examine both the pros and cons of these digital working arrangements.

Telecommuting, remote work, job sharing… like the expansion of new technologies, the list of innovative working arrangements is growing very quickly. They offer both employers and employees the flexibility to individually tailor working arrangements to suit the mutual needs of both parties.

Employees – Flexible Working Arrangements

Flexible working arrangements allow people to more effectively juggle both work and non-work commitments. We all know there’s more to life than just work, but sometimes it’s hard to fit everything in. If employees have parental or caring responsibilities, have a disability, or are perhaps studying alongside work, flexible working arrangements can enable people to achieve their best both inside and outside the (increasingly digital) office.

However, what works for one person might not work for the next. It’s important, therefore, to ensure that these working arrangements suit the individual employees for whom they are created.


There are also numerous benefits of flexible working arrangements from the employer’s perspective:

  • Higher productivity. Flexible working arrangements can encourage employees to work more efficiently than 9-to-5 office workers, as they must be highly focused in order to get all their work done.
  • Attract and retain quality staff. As more people want or need to work flexibly, offering employees flexible working arrangements makes organisations more attractive places to work.
  • Profitability benefits. A combination of lower employee turnover and less time-wasting in the office can have a flow on effect to the overall profitability of a company.

However, there are also drawbacks of flexible working arrangements for employers:

  • Difficulty building a company culture. If employees aren’t always working in an office it can be difficult to create a sense teamwork within an organization.
  • Meetings may be harder to schedule. Flexible arrangements mean employees are out of the office more often. But this also means it’s more difficult to arrange meetings with them.
  • Harder to assess performance. Having different arrangements for different employees can make it more difficult to fairly and accurately assess employee performance.

When implementing flexible working arrangements, it’s crucial to ensure they are mutually beneficial to both employees and employers. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ way to make them work. Tailoring them to meet the needs of all parties will help make the benefits more likely to eclipse any drawbacks.