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Smart Working and the SME's bottom line on Vodafone IE

Smart Working and the SME's bottom line

Smart Working and the SME's bottom line

Vodafone blog post: Open Conversations 1/3, November 6, 2018

Modern life is tough. Work pressures, commuting and making time for friends and family all take their toll, so it’s not surprising that more and more people are looking to technology for a solution. But for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this presents a challenge.

It’s all very well, or so the thinking goes, for big companies with lots of resources to facilitate flexible working and using mobile devices to work smarter. But surely it’s naïve to think smaller companies can do the same?

Not necessarily. Vodafone has exhaustively researched this subject and in our new report, ‘The Future of Business: A Conversation with SMEs’, we show exactly how smaller companies can learn to punch above their weight in the world of smart working.

We’ve looked closely at the future of business for SMEs in Ireland and have compiled extensive research across the SME market in Ireland – taking into account the views of hundreds of business owners, business management teams and employees across many industries and sectors.

We’ve done interviews and surveys and engaged in a stimulating debate at an open conversation event with key representative stakeholders, on themes such as business growth, investment, skills and training, smart working and the use of technology.

What were the findings?

In direct contradiction to what appears to be a common belief within the sector regarding smart working and business benefits, has found that businesses that engage in smart working can expect to benefit by a 15 per cent productivity uplift, as well as a 40 per cent improvement in their staff attrition rate. It also puts the amount of euros saved per employee per annum by those companies that facilitate smart working at €9,500. 1

While not every business is equally positioned to facilitate remote working, for many there are at least aspects of the employee role that can be streamlined, made less stressful and in turn more productive through the application of smart working principles.

We are moving towards a single technology ecosystem, where 20 billion devices will be connected by 2020. This connectivity is changing working patterns as new tools and services transform the traditional workplace into a smart one.


Open Conversations event in Dublin

Industry representatives and SME owners attended an Open Conversations event in the Iveagh Hotel, Dublin, where research findings were presented and discussed. 

We have captured their observations, reactions and recommendations in the report.

We are moving towards a single technology ecosystem, where 20 billion devices will be connected by 2020. This connectivity is changing working patterns as new tools and services transform the traditional workplace into a smart one.

Smart working is the combined use of technology and connectivity with flexibility and agility for people to work from home, a co-working hub or using a hybrid model (part-home, part-office). With at least 216,000 people in Ireland working from home or from a co-working space 2 , smart working is increasingly becoming a key consideration for Irish SMEs and it is predicted that over 35 per cent of all employees will be smart working by 2022. 3

Despite an employee desire for it, very few Irish SMEs are seen to be fully embracing smart working. There is a reoccurring theme within the sector among both business managers and employees, that company culture is a real barrier to introducing smart working.

Some employers have an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude to people working remotely. Their worry is that transitioning from a situation where staff are easily observable to one where they are not will result in a drop in productivity.

But many experts believe it’s a serious mistake to underestimate the importance of the generational shift that’s taking place as younger people age into the workforce and take up management positions. It turns out there can be significant differences in terms of expectations between employers and their employees when it comes to smart working.

Is it time for your SME to cross this particular work Rubicon? We’ll look at how it could benefit you in our next blog post.

1 Based on a US study that a typical business would save $11,000 per person per year

2 Figure derived from the UK statistics and applied to Irish population



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