Vodafone and SFA join forces to help firms embrace smart working

7 Jan 2019616 Views

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Irish businesses have one of the lowest rates of investment in digitisation in Europe.

Telecoms giant Vodafone is joining forces with the Small Firms Association (SFA) to hold regional workshops across Ireland to bring businesses up to speed on smart working and the future of work.

Across Ireland, an Open Conversations series of workshops will be held between January and April in Siro-powered co-working spaces including: The Mill in Drogheda, The Hatch Lab in Gorey, PorterShed in Galway, Republic of Work in Cork and the Bank of Ireland Workbench in Limerick.

‘The number one issue impacting small businesses is the ability to recruit and retain the right people in a highly competitive labour market’
– SVEN SPOLLEN-BEHRENS

Coinciding with the recent Vodafone industry report The Future of Business in Ireland: A Conversation with SMEs, the telco, along with remote-working recruitment player Abodoo, will host workshops on smart working.

Local economy boost

The purpose of the workshops will be to equip regional business owners with relevant knowledge on areas such as HR, business growth, increasing revenues, and attracting and retaining top talent through smart working.

“We believe that smart or flexible working is the next frontier for SMEs,” said Treasa Doran, head of small business at Vodafone Ireland. “By adapting to new ways of working and using the technology available to them to create more efficient operating models, SMEs can attract and retain top talent, reduce costs, and increase productivity.

“It also has the added benefit of supporting the local economy and decreasing carbon emissions through a reduction in long commuting times for employees.”

Results from a global New Rules of Business survey commissioned by Vodafone showed that 63pc of Irish business leaders see customer expectations as the area of most profound change over the last five years. This is followed by changes in the competitive landscape at 50pc, and talent attraction and retention at 33pc.

The survey of 4,000 business owners across Europe, Asia and the US also found that Irish businesses have one of the lowest rates of investment in digitisation and technology at 32pc. The country that invested the most was India, at 56pc. Ireland has the second highest percentage of firms with between 10 and 499 employees, at 44pc.

As part of the workshop series, the SFA will introduce its new Engage and Grow framework to help companies increase profits and retain top talent. There will also be experts on hand to discuss the HR and technology requirements for making businesses smarter, helping to transform traditional workplaces into more digital ones.

“The number one issue impacting small businesses is the ability to recruit and retain the right people in a highly competitive labour market,” said Sven Spollen-Behrens of the SFA.

“Our regional workshops with Vodafone and Abodoo will help small businesses to future-proof their business in a rapidly changing environment. Our recent survey finds that 70pc of our members recognise that smart working will benefit their business; it improves productivity and enhances employee engagement.”

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of Siliconrepublic.com for 17 years.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com