Performance breeds trust

Person working on a computer at home A graduate challenge for flexible working

Gordon Brown's new flexible agenda is for parents of children, yet the flexible and remote working culture is constantly evolving. Graduates could make it a personal challenge to impress employers with their skill and productivity at an early stage in employment, which could lead to the ability later on to negotiate for flexible working.

'Grad-ual' recruitment

Ken Sheridan, founder of Remote Employment, a website dedicated to connecting employers with job seekers who want to work flexibly, remotely or work from home, believes the key driver in the brilliant trend towards flexible and remote working has been the speed and capability of technology. Sheridan said: 'There is a great opportunity for graduates to become leading examples of flexible workers of the future.'
2012 boom

Sheridan agrees with official sources that the structure of the labour market is going to be reshaped dramatically over the next four years, with flexible and remote working expected to almost double. There are already around 3.5 million people already working from home in the UK and this is expected to double by 2012. Now with students streaming out of college and university, there is also untapped potential for young people to set up their own businesses.

Grad growth

Graduates who are comfortable working on their own and not concerned with 'office society' have a better chance at being offered flexible working in the future; acquiring the knack of being productive when 'away from the office' is vital. Employers need to see results and excellent performance breeds trust. There is nothing as impressive as working fast while 'out of sight' and coming up with results at the earliest opportunity, long before the time needed to complete the job. Sheridan said: 'The biggest challenge is the need to be a highly communicative animal. Grads need to find easy, frequent, and varied ways of staying in touch. Loners don't make good remote workers!'

Life without technology

The youth of today have grown up with modern technology and don't know life without texting, laptops, broadband, wi-fi and social media. Their vast experience at problem solving as a communication tool makes them leaps ahead of mature colleagues. They could enhance their natural skill in these fields by helping an employer develop their business and communications strategy using the myriad of web and mobile innovations in the market today. This is perfect for graduates as the subject pushes their buttons.

New comms world

This is not only IT students, all young people coming into job sectors across the labour market have a huge opportunity to impart their knowledge and skill in their chosen field. Media students, for example, have the advantage of supporting a company's web developer with search engine optimisation, social media and the blogging world. Engineering students can see visions, which may seem impossible now, but with their futurist insights, the flexible working world is their domain.

Recruit student talent

Flexible and remote working promotes employment choices to suit lifestyle demands at the same time as offering employers the added advantage of recruiting talented individuals from anywhere in the country instead of just around their local office.

Remoters of the future

Sheridan and business partner Paula Wynne, both parents of student sons, started  Remote Employment to fill the gap in the job market by offering a connection to employers and job seekers who want to work flexibly, remotely or work from home.

They believe that forward-thinking and motivated graduates have vast employment prospects ahead and flexible and remote working is one of them. It provides them with more control over how they do their work, increases job satisfaction and work production, and an all round improvement in work-life balance.

Career minds

Career minded students should also look to this new remote working culture to enhance their own careers. There will be a greater emphasis on communication, remote working skills and results. Sheridan challenges young people to work differently, work when they are most productive, always measure outputs to provide rewards and adopt a greener working environment by working remotely or working at home.

Remote Employment website

June 2008