Remote working is working and it’s embedding itself for a long-term flexible business future
After more than four months since lockdown began, most people are still working from home despite an easing of restrictions.
With the summer under way, holidays to take and question marks about school start dates and whether students will be going part-time, there’s every evidence that the pace of returning to the office is unlikely to pick up until September or October. If not later.
Major blue chip UK companies have already set an example, with several big names, including BT, 3i Group, AstraZeneca, British Land, Landsec and Legal & General still supporting the majority of its workforces working from home. The majority of firms are also putting off any realistic return to the office until at September at the earliest.
A new survey by London’s Evening Standard shows that while some firms already have certain employees back in buildings, with socially distanced measures in place, many are looking to offer more flexible working. There are also businesses not planning on having most staff back in offices at any time this year.
What seemed unthinkable in March, it’s now pretty clear that the global pandemic has dramatically accelerated the move towards remote working after it forced firms and staff to embrace, experiment and endorse the new technology available.
Ultimately, working remotely allows for greater flexibility and autonomy for staff. Technology such as Microsoft Teams, enabling easy videoconferencing meetings, collaboration platforms, chat facilities and access to cloud services, is keeping everyone successfully connected, allowing them to complete projects from anywhere and at any time.
Remote working is working, which is why more companies are confident in its future and why they will ensure the facilities are available for everyone long into the future. Not only that, it saves on business costs, time lost through travel – and even the environment wins as the trudge of a daily petrol and diesel commute is assigned to the past. Productivity rates are as high as they have ever been for those working through the crisis.
A decade ago, many businesses would have seen this scenario as highly unlikely. But this is the new normal and we’re unlikely to go back.
So what do you need to ensure you’re organisation can operate successfully and empower your staff as the economy gets back on track:
Cloud computing: If you haven’t invested yet, you’re already behind and you’ll need it ensure you’re remote working technology is used to best effect. It increases safety and security for users and supports future growth needs with flexible storage. Cloud-based networks are here to stay and, fact is, your remote workforce can’t survive without it.
Audio and video conferencing: Remote working knows no borders and with conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype are revolutionising the ‘workplace’. You will save money and time and you’ll find your attendance rate goes up.
Business Apps: You’ll be surprised what incredibly useful apps you can access. From MS Teams and project management software, payroll, sales, accounting and HR management, they make remote and on-site working a dream.
Mobile tools: By making mobile a key part of your operations, you offer more flexibility and create better efficiency whether and whenever your staff use their phones, laptops and other devices.
From the fear generated by the short notice of lockdown and feelings of many that getting back to the office was a priority, many businesses are now more comfortable about their plans after embracing the technology on offer. Fewer people than previously thought are keen to get back inside a building that isn’t their home and there are many more reasons to keep things as they are, including, above all, everyone’s safety.