Managing time away from the office
At this time of year, it is difficult to avoid pictures advertising the latest mobile phones, wireless Internet Broadband connections and other gizmos, as their purveyors fight for their share of the lucrative Christmas market.
It is no exaggeration to say that mobile technology has revolutionised the way we work. The treasurer travelling on business, whether visiting another group office or attending a conference for example, can stay in touch with the office. The same technology also allows the treasurer to work from home on a regular basis.
This technology also allows companies to restructure their treasury operations. Communication around the world is much easier, so it is now possible to manage global treasury operations from a single location.
Yet this mobile technology also represents a serious threat both to companies and to their employees. There is evidence to suggest that employees who work from home tend to work longer hours. In particular, they find it harder to ‘switch off’ in the evenings and at weekends. The same technology which allows them to work from anywhere puts them within reach of the office at all times.
Now the technology is no longer revolutionary, companies need to rethink how they and their employees use it. Two things are particularly important. Firstly, mobile technology allows many companies to run their treasuries on a smaller staff, whilst enhancing the segregation of duties. Companies need to take care that the system of control is not compromised when staff are away on holiday or ill. Secondly, all employees need a break to recharge their batteries and to maintain their health. Time away from the office allows the employee to return to work refreshed and much more productive.
Companies need to think how the use of mobile technology is impacting on their employees’ lives, as well as how it can improve productivity.