In April 2020, the UK’s Office for National Statistics revealed 49.2% of the UK’s workforce were operating remotely as a result of COVID-19.
Although lockdown measures have started to ease, businesses that can physically operate remotely have been advised to continue to do so, and despite initial challenges, resounding opinion is that remote working could soon become the norm.
However, as William Copley, Founder and Managing Director, Armstrong Bell explains for businesses used to the confines of the office, it is imperative to have the right tools, technology and infrastructure in place to maintain operations and ensure both team collaboration and customer engagement does not suffer.
That said, what exactly should businesses consider when embracing the ‘new normal’?
The Smart Working Revolution
The outbreak of COVID-19 has emphasised the importance of having the tools, workspace and technology to be able to work anytime, anyplace and with anyone.
In recent years, many organisations have taken steps towards a more collaborative and flexible way of working, but very few had rolled out a complete remote or ‘Smart Working’ policy prior to coronavirus. This effectively demonstrated by a spike in laptop sales during Q1, together with the number of daily Zoom users soaring from 10 million to 200 million during March alone.
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the pandemic has shown us just how quickly and easily businesses can ‘pivot’ and adapt, with portable devices, Wi-Fi and Cloud Services proving that employees can work remotely and can be just as productive, if not more.
With lockdown measures starting to ease, many organisations are now faced with both the challenge of how and when to return to the office. It is likely businesses will face resistance from workers who have shown increased productivity in operating remotely, while others will question why they have spent a 5 or 6 figure sum annually on office space, when workers have proved they can deliver a stronger output when working remotely.
As a result, the ‘new normal’ for many will be the long-term introduction of ‘Smart Working’, empowering people with the workspace and technology that they need to choose when, where and how they do their jobs. A concept 80% of workers believe will positively impact their lives.
For businesses looking to embrace the new, smart way of working, having the right technology – particularly in telecoms and connectivity – is key to success.
Simple, Fast and Flexible
Too many business owners have traditionally been discouraged from implementing effective tech solutions due to concerns over complexity and cultural buy-in.
However, with entire workforces proving they can adapt to digital – and quickly – concern over staff capability is no longer a viable excuse. Therefore, for businesses thinking about how they can adapt to the ‘new normal’ beyond the use of Zoom or Teams, now is the time to act, starting with telecoms and wider tech solutions that are simple, fast and flexible.
When employees have a system that is enabled for mobility, supported by messaging and integrated into meetings and team collaboration, they have a simple way to build strong relationships with colleagues and customers, all from the comfort of their home. Aside from ensuring employees are connected and engaged, smart working systems will also enable businesses to remove geographical constraints and attract the right talent to drive business growth from any corner of the globe.
In addition, a digital working environment that is securely connected with improved reliability regardless of workspace or location will not only maintain business operations but will also ensure businesses can quickly adapt to current challenges, market trends or customer requirements.
Since March 2020, COVID-19 has torn through the economy and forced businesses to adapt and think differently. However, from adversity many have found opportunity in how they do business, driving a new smart working revolution that removes constraints and enables employees to focus on their impact and outputs, as opposed to their time spent in the office.
For many organisations, this will be the ‘new normal’ and can be implemented with any remote working model, assuming the implementation of simple, fast and flexible business communications solutions.