If every cloud really has a silver lining, two positive outcomes from Covid will be Flexible Working and the accelerated adoption of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC). Flexible working is part of a hybrid workplace defined as the mix of office-based work and working from home or another location – something pretty much everyone has done during the pandemic.
Flexible working has long been regarded as the future of work, and we’ve witnessed its transformation before our eyes. Businesses have been discussing long term workstyle futures, and how to balance loss of supervision with employee productivity and output.
Recent Cisco research reports that 89% of employees are frustrated by the ‘in office’ experience and 94% want better working from home collaboration experiences.
Keeping hold of talented people is vital, and organisations mustn’t risk losing valuable employees just because the competition are offering better work life balance alternatives.
Sceptics may see widespread flexible working as temporary, but with businesses operating very effectively using hybrid working practices, it’s surely here to stay.
Secure access to cloud-based business systems and the ability to route calls to softphones, mobiles and remote landlines has kept communications flowing, and most callers are unaware that they are dealing with home-based agents.
Meetings have been just as effective virtually as in the office, though technology will never entirely replace the need for face-to-face meetings, and nor should it. The benefits of a blended approach using the most appropriate meeting format for each event is a sensible way forward.
Hybrid working reduces the amount of travel down-time, and employees re-invest much of that time into company activity, and all the while staff morale is increasing as work life balance improves.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental issues also receive a boost as our carbon footprints are reduced, and by extending the geographical recruitment area companies have greater scope for hiring new talent.
The part the physical office environment plays in a hybrid or blended approach is also adapting, and face-to-face interaction will always be needed to build and maintain a team ethos - and try as we might, ‘virtual beers’ don’t really work.
Recent workforce surveys by Forbes and Slack found that only 9 - 12% of workers expect to return to exclusive in-office work, suggesting that employees are fully invested in hybrid working. The needs of the organisation will still take precedence and it remains to be seen whether those opinions are shared at board level.
Enforced and improvised flexible working practices that have helped organisations survive during Covid are now being formalised into secure digital solutions, and when we look back at the impact of the pandemic, we can reflect on the fact that it wasn’t all bad news.
Our Professional Services team are actively helping customers deploy hybrid environments to meet new workstyle requirements. Contact us for more information on how we can help you.
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