announced a new service offering corporate customers strategic
advice on how to get the best from their workforce. The service,
run by HOP Associates
an organisation is losing both money and man-hours,
implements new flexible working models to improve business
Effective use of
Toshiba teamed up
with HOP Associates in order to focus on how effectively
organisations are using the technology at their disposal.
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
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
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
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
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
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.