'Flexible working' is a buzz-word that appears on many a job description, but in most cases what companies really mean is flexi-time: letting staff clock on and off at times that suit their needs. Whilst working more convenient hours has enabled many an office worker to dispatch a child to school or wait in for a parcel, it's really only a small part of truly flexible working.
Whilst they may not realise it, today's schools are preparing young people for jobs that don't yet even exist, as the IT revolution looks set to change the face of the employment market. At Atos we have been thinking about the sort of careers that lie in store for our so-called digital natives - as well as roles that may not be around for much longer.
As the market enters its first extended period of growth for half a decade you would be forgiven for thinking that the hard work is all but done. After a turbulent five years UK businesses have now reached a cross-roads - they understand the need to spend, but are fearful that one wrong move may mean ruin.
Technology has come a long way over recent years with advancements in areas such as broadband, data accessing solutions, and IT benefiting consumers and businesses. However, despite these advancements it seems that many businesses in the UK are continuing to miss out on the benefits due to failure to deploy IT.
There's no doubt that low latency networks aren't just for Wall Street anymore, and that today, in almost every walk of life, people are in a position to benefit from them. Whether it's personal or professional, for use with gaming, or for fast access to company systems, low latency networks will provide the foundation for our technologically-enabled future.
My key message is empowerment. Technology is here to empower people. But that doesn't work if human structures, habits or fears constrain them. If businesses won't let their employees be free, they'll be doing the 21st Century equivalent of trotting in front of a car waving a length of scarlet cotton.
It's very much in its infancy, but the ability to create a sophisticated ICT solution without compromise, eliminating painful and slow IT projects and instead being able to react with fast IT solutions may yet convince your CEO to let you carrying on playing Angry Birds. After all,l if you're smart it's simply ALT TAB and no one will everknow.
This is a pivotal time for the UK. Economic growth and a strong technology sector demand that business and UK education work towards the same goals in order to create highly skilled young people that have the ability to strengthen UK industry. Universities need to be flexible and address the needs of students.