How can businesses make working from home a long term success?
There’s no question that 2020 has been an incredibly disruptive year for business, as both national and local shutdowns have forced many firms to temporarily shut up shop.
Though the UK has now emerged from a state of lockdown, workers are still being urged to work from home if they are able to.
Before the coronavirus crisis hit, many companies were sceptical of remote working and what it might mean for productivity and employee oversight. However, the increased productivity and reduced costs seen during both the first and second lockdowns have caused many business leaders to consider whether working from home is a viable option in the long term.
But how could working from home be beneficial to firms, and what must they do to ensure that doing so is a success?
What is smart working?
In order for businesses to truly benefit from remote working on a long-term basis, it is integral to understand the ethos behind 'Smart Working'.
This can be defined as a new managerial strategy that is focused around offering workers flexibility in where they choose to work, their schedules, and the technology that they use, albeit with a greater responsibility for producing results.
While Smart Working is a concept that existed prior to COVID-19, it has only been in the midst of the crisis that it has been adopted on such a broad scale, with businesses choosing in increasing numbers to introduce sophisticated connectivity tools to guarantee powerful and dependable communication in any form and from any location.
What are the benefits of Smart Working for employers?
Those employers who introduced Smart Working effectively during Lockdown 2.0., or will in the next few weeks, are likely to see a range of significant operational, cultural and growth benefits within their business, both now and in the future.
Not only can firms reap the rewards of increased productivity as employees are able to work whenever and wherever is required, but business owners who show that they are willing to be flexible are considerably more likely to attract and retain top talent.
By shifting to a more flexible working model, day-to-day operational costs are kept to a minimum, given that fewer workers are in the traditional work place at any one time, thereby reducing the need for additional desk space.
Without the constraints of having to source and invest in office space and its associated infrastructure, employers have far more time and money to focus on implementing other strategies that will help the business to grow at scale.
How does it benefit workers?
One of the most significant advantages that Smart Working ascribes to workers is the freedom to choose, when, where and how they wish to carry out their work.
With a Smart Working approach, staff performance is no longer measured by the time that employees spending in the office, but rather their level of productivity and output outside of it.
Furthermore, remote working provides a far greater work life balance, and allows for substantial savings in both time and money to be made thanks to the elimination of often lengthy commutes to the office.
What must be done to make long-term remote working successful?
It is evident that Smart Working has the potential to be hugely advantageous for many business in the long term, though it is not enough to implement this approach and simply expect everything to fall into place – a number of key things must be considered.
Firstly, employers must evaluate whether they and their workers have the correct IT and telecommunications equipment in place.
The introduction of an effective, unified telecoms and connectivity solution encourages greater team collaboration and enables the transfer of office number calls to mobiles so that client queries and new business opportunities do not get missed.
Business owners must also remember the responsibility that they maintain for the health and safety of their staff, even when they are working remotely.
Health and safety assessments should be conducted on all remote working environments to make sure that employees are working in both safe and adequate conditions.
While some employers may well be eager to return to the office as soon as possible, it is important to consider that workers may wish to continue working remotely, citing increased productivity and reduced costs as key reasons.
Ultimately, Smart Working can provide business owners with a big boost to productivity, as a well as considerable savings in both time and costs.
Those business that want to make a real success of such an approach on a long term basis must ensure that they have fully understood the needs and desires of their staff, but also that the right infrastructure is essential to creating a seamless, collaborative and virtual Connect Workspace.