Gemma Smith, head of internal audit and risk assurance at Progress Housing Group, has just one internal auditor and an insurance officer in her team, plus support from a co-sourced internal audit provider, however, she believes that introducing more agile ways of working has made the whole organisation more efficient and has aided communications, risk assurance and security.
“We began by identifying three types of employees – those who, at present, need to work in a fixed location, such as our customer services team; those who have always been mobile workers, for example, repairs operatives and the housing management team; and those who could do their jobs from any desk in any office, or at home, given the right technology and connections,” she explains. Internal auditors fall into this last category.
Progress Housing has four main offices, three in one town and one 30 minutes’ drive away. Staff who are categorised as “agile” can book a desk and a PC, or a meeting room, in any of the offices. They carry iPads and use the Microsoft Lync app to identify where other people in the organisation’s directory are and to check whether they are available or busy. The app shows which office they are in and, if the person is marked as green, they can send them an instant message. The app synchs with their calendar, so marks people as red if they are in a meeting, or as orange if they are not using a computer. Individuals can label themselves as red if they don’t want to be disturbed.
To keep the system feeling human and help agile workers to create and maintain relationships, everyone in the directory has a photo which appears when messages are sent internally. “This means you know what people look like and who you…