As companies embrace the idea of flexibility in their workforce, co-working spaces and hot desking have become increasingly popular. The traditional office-based 9 to 5 is becoming a thing of the past and with the right telecommunications software in place, remote working and flexible environments have been proven to increase productivity and therefore profitability.
This method of working has grown in popularity over the last few years, but with the Coronavirus outbreak in 2020, even companies which were against the idea of remote working have been forced to embrace it. Jobs which were previously considered to be office-based by necessity, have been successfully moved to a home environment. Remote working has become the only option for most companies to keep their staff safe, whilst keeping the business functioning.
Many companies have tested out home working with optional ‘work from home’ days once or twice a week, but with little warning of the potential lockdown, many organisations were not as prepared as they should have been to move their workforce home. However, with the current technology available, we can now successfully work anywhere, whether that be the local coffee shop or our spare bedroom, whilst keeping our lines of communication open.
The challenges of remote working
Home working has proved to be a positive change for many people, offering greater flexibility, less time commuting and the chance to get on with focussed work without interruption. However, remote working does come with its own challenges as staff start to miss the support and camaraderie of the office environment. Some employees may end up feeling abandoned and isolated.
The right telecommunications software can make a big difference to how connected we all feel when working from home. The ability to carry out video conference calls, liaise with clients and discuss projects with colleagues is extremely important for efficient and joined up working.
With the right technology in place, employers can communicate and stay connected with their teams. Regular updates and frequent communication are crucial for staff to feel supported in these uncertain times. Developing trust between colleagues is crucial and this won’t happen without regular communication. This isn’t a one-size fits all – some people need more support than others, but working from home can allow team members to use their initiative and develop independent working practices that allow them to progress in their careers and create a positive workforce.
How does this fit into a business communications strategy?
With the rush to get staff set up from home during lockdown, many businesses adopted a short-term, sticking plaster approach to their communications. From insufficient broadband, lack of equipment and potential security issues, companies are facing problems that they hadn’t predicted, or planned for.
Staff members who have enjoyed working from home are making plans to request remote working long-term, and from an employer’s perspective it offers the opportunity to reduce the overhead of renting office space. Cost cutting is going to be on the cards for many businesses over the coming months as they digest the impact of COVID-19, so this change may be a welcome move.
However, how you manage your businesses budgets is not just about how much you can save, but more importantly, how you invest it. Are you getting the best value out of your telecoms and IT infrastructure spend (rightsizing)? In this instance, you can really improve the quality, simplicity and seamless interaction internally within your teams, and externally with clients, whilst potentially saving money.
For organisations working remotely, now is the time to take a look at how an efficient company-wide unified communications strategy supports the business goals long-term.
The importance of Unified Communications
In order to achieve a flexible, mobile and productive workforce in the long run, a unified approach to our communications is key and provides a way to stay connected and collaborate with colleagues, improve customer service and cut down on costs. Today, most businesses use a number of different tools to communicate, including phones, mobiles, email/fax and instant messaging. However, if these aren’t all interconnected, then you could be wasting time and money. A unified communications strategy brings all of these tools together to work in harmony.
A specialised unified communications system allows for efficient collaboration, stronger customer service, business continuity and cheaper telephony, saving time and money as well as increasing productivity in today’s uncertain economy, as well as in the future.