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Mobility drives flexible working practices

Myles Hewitt

There is a lot of talk about the work-life balance, but for many the routine of the daily commute seems set in stone. But with IT spending, vacancies and salaries all on the up, employers need some fresh approaches to attract and retain high-quality staff.

"As our industry matures, mobile and remote working becomes more feasible," said Maggie Miller, chief information officer of Sainsbury's and one of the judges for the Best Places to Work in IT awards. "This is gradually driving changes in the workplace to support flexi-working, hot-desking and so on."

Miller said a more innovative approach to benefits is becoming evident. "With the UK culture of long working hours, there is a trend towards supporting flexibility in return - this manifests itself in flexible packages and benefits, and more investment in the workplace environment.

"There are many companies now offering benefits packages with a menu of options, whereby benefits can be swapped or traded," she said.

Miller believes that most managers would clearly recognise the relationship between output/turnover and having a happy and motivated workforce.

"It takes a small investment in time to look after people, for a dramatic difference in motivation and happiness. I am amazed that large firms do not set employee satisfaction goals," she said.

Last year Sainsbury's won the Best Places to Work in IT award in the retail, wholesale and distribution category. "The award provides an external benchmark on the quality of our workplace and management team," she said. "It is great publicity, especially for recruitment, to say this is one of the best places to work in IT."

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