The purpose of outlining the business case for Smart Working is to help managers understand why Imperial College is promoting these new ways of working and be in a better position to answer questions from their teams. Managers should also actively be thinking, “How can I help my team to deliver on these benefits?”

Working in smarter and more flexible ways contributes to the Triple Bottom Line, bringing benefits to the business, individual employees and the environment.

Below are some of the benefits that Smart Working can bring to you and your team. 

Being more productive

There are three key ways Smart Working can enable us to be more productive:

  • Doing more and/or better quality work for the same or reduced resource input. Reduced physical resources, better online systems, reduced travel costs – and more effective working over distance
  • Liberating time for productive work, by streamlining processes and replacing old-style meetings with flexible collaboration techniques
  • Managing by results – the focus changes from turning up to delivering results

Attracting and retaining the best talent

Enabling greater choice in working patterns and empowering employees to make responsible choices about how they work will contribute to making Imperial College a great place to work. Surveys consistently show that people at all stages of life greatly value the ability to work flexibly. For example:

  • According to a survey by EY and Timewise, “92 per cent of Gen Y participants identify flexibility as a top priority when selecting a workplace” (Timewise and EY, 2017)
  • And 47% of over-55s would like to consider greater flexibility as part of phased retirement and working beyond pensionable age. (Powwow Now survey, 2019)

Enabling employees to progress into senior positions, whatever their life circumstances

We need to retain employees whose skills and development we have invested in. We need to make it easier for people with caring responsibilities to progress their career. Sometimes this may mean a formal change of working pattern. But using the potential of Smart Working to embed flexibility into our everyday working provides the framework for people to deal more effectively with the work-life interface on a day-to-day basis, while also delivering productivity benefits.

Reducing absence

Having the flexibility to manage the work-life interface better by working flexibly has been shown to reduce absenteeism in many organisations.

This is not about expecting people to work when they are sick – that’s a definite “No”. Managers should never pressure colleagues in this regard.

It’s about developing what is called an “attendance culture”. That is, colleagues are trusted to make decisions as mature adults about whether they are able to work. Sometimes, for example, people may feel distinctly under the weather, and a commute plus a whole day at the workplace is too much. However, they may feel that working at home for a short while they can do some of the work they are responsible for.

This also may have benefits in terms of maintaining a healthy workplace, if people are not routinely struggling in when they have a virus they might pass on to colleagues.

This is also an important issue for people with a long-term illness, health conditions or when recovering from injuries. It’s about creating an overall enabling environment for work that extends beyond the workplace, rather than a situation where you’re either in the office full-time or off sick.

Becoming a more sustainable business

We are committed to being an environmentally sustainable business.

Using Smart Working to reduce unnecessary travel (both commuting travel and business travel) and reducing resource consumption we can reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint and contribute to corporate social responsibility.

Improving job satisfaction, engagement and work-life balance

For individuals, having more choice and autonomy in how work is organised produces a sense of wellbeing, reduces stress, promotes engagement and enables a better work-life balance.

These, in turn, support better job satisfaction, greater productivity and employee retention.