The pandemic has spurred companies around the world into facilitating their workforces to work remotely. But that raises the big question: what happens next? Once the pandemic starts to subside, will we go back to normal or has this transition changed the business landscape forever?
The majority of us have now become well accustomed to working with some form of flexibility, with a number of us being able to fully work from home since the start of the national lockdown earlier this year. But now, with the ‘new normal’ shifting towards a flexible working approach, operating a business needs to be less focused on simply getting through this period and instead, working more towards a thriving, adaptive and efficient business primed for this new environment. That is, to provide the best technology and solutions so that your employees can work from wherever they are without having to compromise on productivity.
Multiple large corporations, Like Google, Microsoft and Twitter, are giving their employees the option to work from home indefinitely or going into the office if, and when, they choose through at least January 2021, pushing work-from-home policies into the forefront of business operations. The pandemic has proven how effective working from home can be, it’s now about the initiative to continue this into the future.
“As we start to return to workplaces and find a new normal, alternative working patterns will also help to reduce commuter traffic and social distancing measures”
So how can we make this new normal work?
In order to get the most out of your business, the working structure you implement will need to complement both ways – employees being supported by the business and vice versa. Overcoming concerns about operational pressures and meeting customer requirements will need to be addressed quantitative and qualitatively, ensuring your employees maintain both service standards and the ability to be flexible when needed. This will in return boost their productivity and benefit your business.
In terms of technology, there a number of basic things that you may not have thought about that can be adopted – whilst you may not be collaborating directly together, there can still be an increase in cohesion and co-operation from employees.
There’s nothing worse than having a video call with someone and having the video freeze unexpectantly or experiencing choppy sound exactly when you need it most. But there are some nifty tricks you can put into your routine to avoid worrying about your connection.
For one, try scheduling your calls away from the hour or half-hour – with the most common times for meetings being scheduled at the most common times, there can often be congestion on internet speeds. By pushing meetings forwards or back by 5-10 minutes, you can help to avoid connection issues.
You can also try a portable, mobile broadband Wi-Fi device, like the Vodafone GigaCube. Its great if your Wi-Fi just can't handle your internet usage when you need it most. The GigaCube is a lightweight portable, wireless router that transforms 4G and 5G networks into a Wi-Fi connection that you can then use wherever you are.
Plus, why not use a video conferencing software that records the meetings for you, or even transcribes the meeting as you go? That way, if your internet falls short, you’ll still have access to what was discussed on the call and not be left behind.
Connecting to the right phone
When working remotely, you’ll want communication services that can adjust to wherever you’re working from. It’s not simply just diverting people to a mobile number when you’re not in the office, but you’ll want a system that is interchangeable and can accommodate any location without taking any more effort on either yours or your counterparts to make sure that they can actually get a hold of you.
This is where unified communications systems such as Xelion can come in. The Xelion solution can be delivered via a PC desktop client or a smartphone app. This means that your business can access all the extensive features that Xelion includes, from any of your devices. And you can link your mobile, desktop, or deskphone so that whenever anyone rings you, you can pick up from anywhere.
Take your work anywhere
You don’t need to have a permanent set-up to take full advantage of all the services you’d have in the office. If you’re constantly interchanging between locations or working on a smaller set-up, make sure that your work can be moved along with you and still be used to its full potential.
Programmes like Cloud 365 and Samsung DeX enable you to be easily mobile with your workload. Cloud 365 is a cloud-based version of the popular Office 365 offerings that allows you access to their popular apps (from Word to PowerPoint, to Excel) on any of your devices and keep all your files secure and easily accessible in OneDrive. With Samsung DeX, you can turn your Samsung device into a mobile desktop and connect to a larger screen for a PC-like experience from anywhere.
Printing and Scanning
Lots of us may have gotten used to having a printer next to us in the office whenever we need any documents that may come our way. You may not have a printer at home but that’s not necessarily a disadvantage. It’s easier than ever to send all types of documents electronically and in the case that you do need a scanner, many modern phones with embedded cameras now have the ability to take photos of documents and convert them into PDFs. If you are unhappy with the image quality, check your phones app store, you'll be sure to find a raft of apps that will help you scan documents with your camera.
Implement a structure
Working from home or flexible working comes with both risks and technical challenges. To improve security, data privacy and security deficiencies remain paramount to ensuring that employees working from home stay secure, compliant and that work can carry on securely without any worries.
When implementing remote working, business leaders must first define a goal. Company leaders need to ask why they want to implement remote working beyond the demands of the current crisis. Is the aim to reduce office space? Can it be used to reduce carbon footprints, reduce stress caused by daily commute or introduce more flexibility into the corporate culture? At the very least, continuing Covid-19 concerns mean even organisations that aren’t enthusiasts of WFH won’t be able to bring all the work back into the office anytime soon – so utilising solutions that can help ease a remote working setup will keep your business thriving.