Joseph Blass, CEO, WorkPlaceLive describes how SMEs can address lending issues by changing their approach to IT procurement and moving to a cloud-based model.
Bank lending to small and medium sized enterprises dropped in the first quarter of this year. Figures released by The Bank of England at the end of May 2014 showed that lending to SMEs under the Funding for Lending (FLS) scheme was down by £700 million compared with last year. Chancellor George Osborne recently urged the UK’s biggest banks to increase competition in lending to small and medium-sized businesses to boost the economy, stating that smaller companies still feel that they are being shut out by the banks when it comes to lending.
Many small businesses are also struggling with cash flow problems. A study from Santander Corporate & Commercial published in May, found that almost one in six small businesses in a UK-wide study are ‘very’ concerned about managing cash flow effectively over the next 12 months, with a further 27 per cent saying they are ‘quite’ concerned. One answer to the problem is vendor finance – short-term loans offered by vendors to familiar customers to enable them to buy assets including IT equipment and ease their cash flow requirements.
However, another and perhaps better solution is for them not to require the IT equipment in the first place. Just as businesses lease cars rather than buy them, or pay energy bills rather than buying generators and fuel to operate them, the same trend is happening in IT.
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There is always something that requires employees to work from home. Last week it was the general strike, but a few weeks ago it was the underground strike. Over the winter, parts of Britain were badly affected by flooding and in the summertime, some parents can be left stranded at home when their child care arrangements go wrong.
The patterns of modern working life have evolved significantly over the past few years. Workers are rarely in the office all week, with many combining office and home working. Demands for flexible working have also increased as employees of all ages want to balance their working lives with their responsibilities.
Businesses that run their IT through the cloud, using services such as a Desktop as a Service, (DaaS), often referred to as a Hosted Desktop Service, are able to offer seamless remote working to their employees. Selecting a Hosted Desktop Service involves outsourcing the company data and IT to a Hosted Desktop Provider who will manage it in a secure UK datacentre behind corporate grade firewalls and deliver it to users over the internet at a low cost monthly rate per user. The Provider gives their customers the very latest software and performs regular data backups on their behalf.
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From 30th June staff with 26th weeks employment can ask for flexible working although there is no legal guarantee that employers will grant it!
The Flexible Working regulations have been amended to allow any staff member with 26 weeks employment to request flexible working. While companies do not have to agree to such requests they may need to be careful about how they approach their decisions, especially as they could be liable for compensation of up to 8 week’s salary if the employee feels they are being unfairly treated.
Originally this regulation affected only parents and carers where it was becoming increasingly accepted that there was a need for companies to be flexible. For those who want to move to flexible working they can make their request in writing from 30th June and companies must give it fair consideration.
Until there is some case law on the changes companies will need to be confident in their defence of “good business reasons” to reject any claim. Employees should be aware of the bigger picture though and business cover is likely to be a legitimate reason for companies to reject changes to working hours. For smaller businesses, there will also be concerns that being too flexible will have a significant impact on their ability to function, especially as temporary staff cover is often expensive and comes with little knowledge of the business.
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The countdown is on for to a new law that comes into effect at the end of June, giving employees the right to request flexible working. David Sturges, chief commercial officer of WorkPlaceLive, a provider of cloud-based hosted desktop services in the UK, looks at how ‘the cloud’ can help businesses implement flexible working practices.
At the end of this month a new law comes into effect that will allow workers with six months’ continuous service the right to request to work flexibly, one of the biggest steps forward in working conditions for years. However, it seems many UK companies are completely unaware of this new law and how it might affect their business.
Research by online career portal Jobsite released earlier this month revealed that 53% of British businesses are still unaware of the forthcoming changes, as well as over three quarters of employees who do not realise that they could now ask for flexible working. The same report however revealed one in three people of the UK workforce (35%) already cite flexible working as the most important employer attribute, and two thirds (66%) would request it if given the opportunity to do so.
Unfortunately, many employers are not prepared for the realities of offering flexible working and, as the Jobsite report found, almost a third (29%) are worried that they will be understaffed due to flexible working and almost a quarter (23%) are worried they will not be able to fulfil employees’ requests – which could include requests for part-time working, flexi-time and job sharing, compressed hours and working from home or remotely.
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Posted in Business Continuity, Cloud Computing, Cloud Computing Providers, Secure Cloud Computing, Top-Consultant, WPL Article
Tagged Cloudbased Business Tools, Flexible Working, Hosted Desktop Services, Secure Cloud Computing, Top-Consultant, Workplacelive
WorkPlaceLive are delighted to be exhibiting at The Business Show 2013 on the 28th & 29th November this year.
What is The Business Show?
The Business Show is where businesses like yours find the next gear. It’s free to attend and offers a wealth of opportunity, advice and information crucial for ongoing business growth within a challenging economy.
The event welcomes businesses from a cross-section of industries, and remains more committed than ever in providing you with everything needed to improve, evolve and expand your business.
At this event we will have staff on hand to explain our services and provide you with a demonstration which will show how WorkPlaceLive:
- Provides a higher quality, consistent & more responsive service to your clients.
- Saves time and money by no longer having to purchase expensive servers or perform IT maintenance.
- Is affordable, with low cost monthly payments for each user.
- Has the flexibility to grow; new users can be added quickly and easily.
- Has everything included in a single managed service and is automatically updated, including the latest software, with free backups and disaster recovery.
- Has 100% compatibility with your chosen candidate management system.
Offers employees flexible working arrangements.
- Gives you the ability to access the same IT systems including the CRM database and talent management software from any location, anywhere in the world.
“The WorkPlaceLive team is very professional and gets the job done quickly. Moving to hosted desktops has changed the way we work and the service we can offer to our clients”.
Simon Healy – Atlantic Executive Search
We will also be able to demonstrate our VoIP services.
With 250 free seminars, 350 Exhibitors, dozens of workshops and 25,000 visiting businesses, why don’t you come along and see us there? You can register for your free ticket here.
For more information on WorkPlaceLive please contact us on 020 8543 3322 or find us at http://www.WorkPlaceLive.com or @Workplacelive on Twitter
The newly christened St Jude storm has been keeping recruitment and staffing firms as well as personnel managers busy across the UK.
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Millions of commuters were left stranded as ‘St Jude’ – The worst storm the UK has seen in a decade hit Southern England.
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