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Smart Flexibility

Moving Smart & Flexible Working from Theory to Practice

Download "About This Book"

Would you like to see some of the key ideas of the book and the approach Andy takes?

Here you can download the preface 'About This Book'.

Download a sample chapter

We thought you might like to take a look at an extract from the book.

Smart flexibility is structured like this: first the Context of the changing world of work, then the Theory and Principles, then the main body of the book on the Practice.

So as a taster, here's Chapter 1 Changing Work in a Changing World (0.9MB pdf).

The chapter includes:

  • How we got to where we are now - and the value of the old ways
  • 9 trends behind the changing world of work
  • Data about the growth of smart and flexible working
  • Introduction to key themes throughout the book.

Extract for starters

.... Trend 7: Beyond Industrialisation

The nature of work has also been changing in the UK, with the decline of manufacturing, the development of a service-dominated economy and in recent decades the emergence of the ‘knowledge economy’.

While flexible working has been developing in parallel with these trends, too often
people make easy – and mistaken – assumptions about the relationship between flexible work and different sectors or different kinds of jobs. It tends to be seen as something more for the service sector or knowledge economy than for traditional industries like manufacturing or construction. While the knowledge economy may be based on bits and bytes, some sectors are irreducibly involved with ‘lumps and bumps’.

But these distinctions between sectors are increasingly artificial and misleading.
Manufacturing today is very different from manufacturing in the 1950s. Factories are
far more automated and need fewer people to operate them. By comparison with the
last century, far more of the people working for, or subcontracted to, a manufacturing
company will be in occupations with high information content: design, procurement,
logistics, research, sales, marketing, HR, administration and many managerial and
professional functions.

In historic terms, we are probably only just at the beginning of these changes. Developments in artificial intelligence, robotics and nanotechnology over the coming
decades will utterly transform our concepts of manufacturing and production. The
boundaries between the knowledge economy and the manipulation of physical artefacts will blur.

Those whose roles are intractably site-specific or focus on the handling of physical
objects are increasingly in a minority, even in a manufacturing-focused industry. This
will particularly be the case in a company that outsources production to another country, while employees in the UK deal with the more creative and information-rich components of work.

‘This type of job can’t be done flexibly’ is increasingly a prejudice rather than an
objective observation. There is usually some kind of flexible work that is possible, even if the tasks involved mean that not all flexible options are possible.

... [continues]

Download all of Chapter 1 Changing Work in a Changing World (0.9MB pdf).


How to buy Smart Flexibility

Smart Flexibility book cover

Smart Flexibility: Moving Smart and Flexible Working from Theory to Practice
is available from:

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Gower Publishing Website,

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