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"Flexible" advice service from Toshiba and HOP


Toshiba has announced a new service offering corporate customers strategic advice on how to get the best from their workforce. The service, run by HOP Associates

  • assesses where an organisation is losing both money and man-hours, and 

  • recommends and implements new flexible working models to improve business performance.

Effective use of technology

Toshiba teamed up with HOP Associates in order to focus on how effectively organisations are using the technology at their disposal. 

"Buying the technology is only part of the solution." said Alan Thompson, Managing Director for Toshiba Computer Systems Division, which is pioneering the service across its corporate customer base. "The human element and organisational change are essential parts of creating an effective flexible and mobile workforce. By partnering with HOP Associates we can help our customers achieve that goal." 

The costs of inflexibility

As an example, research carried out by HOP Associates has shown that, as work becomes more mobile, many staff with offices spend less than 20% of their working time at their desks. With a desk costing between 5,000 and 15,000 per year, whether it is used or not, under-utilised offices are one target for the new service.

Another area of focus is the cost and time spent commuting, traditionally viewed as the employee's problem but, in reality, a burden on the employer who ultimately carries the costs of inflexible working hours, transport disruption and high staff turnover. Work-life balance is yet another issue gaining prominence. 

Action to boost performance

According to  Bob Crichton, Managing Director of HOP, "The evaluation techniques we employ are aimed at identifying the barriers that hold back performance. We aim to involve employees in the process and find out exactly where the problems lie - how long do they spend travelling to work, how long do they spend in the office and how do they think they'd work most effectively?" 

In drawing up an action plan for flexible working through the more effective use of technology, HOP Associates considers a wide range of human resource, facilities, business process and technology issues. 

A central feature of the service is the bringing together of managers from different disciplines around a common agenda of business improvement. Action plans can include office redesign, flexible working policies, paper-free processes and technology developments. 

Detailed analysis

HOP has invested in a number of products and IT-based tools to streamline and reduce the costs of its services. These include a senior management awareness programme, an online staff survey tool (which can be loaded on an employer's intranet) and a space auditing tool. The results from these tools, analysis of company data and interviews with managers then form the basis for the action plan, which often includes quick wins and departmental pilots.

Research from both HOP Associates and Toshiba in the past six months has confirmed that technology can liberate a workforce from the constraints of place and time. Applied carefully, this new freedom can benefit employers, staff, families and the environment. 

For further information, contact:

Bob Crichton
Tel: +44 (0)1223 264485


Sue Murray
Tel +44 (0)1932 825043


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