As we get further into 2016 many of us are feeling the effects of the January blues. But there’s never a better time to take stock and review your business practices to make sure it’s fighting fit for 2016.

With recent figures from Office for National Statistics showing that Britain’s productivity is lagging behind other G7 nations, businesses are increasingly looking towards technology and new working policies to help boost output. Research has shown that workers who have the tools, systems and processes to enable different ways of working, regardless of being in the office, are both happier and healthier, resulting in improved productivity and lower staff turnover. We actively encourage our own employees, customers and other organisations to work smarter, so they can be as productive and efficient as possible no matter where they are.

It’s important to go beyond just talking about working smarter and start fostering an environment in your business where it is accepted and encouraged too. Over the last few years, smarter working has become a common practice for us – and this has been driven from the top allowing us to de-stigmatise remote working and working away from the office. Presenteeism and face to face meetings still remain necessary but this way of working encourages staff to find a better balance between their work and private lives, which is ultimately more beneficial in the long run. Recent research from the CEBR (Centre for Economics & Business Research) has shown that employees are more self-motivated when they have the freedom to work anytime and that employees are more likely to enjoy greater job satisfaction from attaining a better work-life balance, which in turn increases their productivity.

A report we published in conjunction with the CEBR found that mobile phones, emails and business software are continuously improving productivity, and technological developments are expected to further increase it by 22% in the next seven years as new products enter the market and the choice of technology increasingly expands. Laptops equipped with Microsoft Office 365, the cloud based office system, for example, means staff can work anywhere. These tools can be deployed easily across a workforce enabling each employee to be equipped for work wherever they are.

So channel your January Blues by seeing how your business could work smarter in 2016.

By Paul Lawton, O2 Business General Manager