Before the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses favoured traditional, office-based working practices, rather than embracing newer work styles such as remote working.
In doing so, a lot of companies missed out on the benefits this brings because of either insufficient means, technology or simply because of a lack of trust in their workforce.
But ready or not, remote working was forced upon UK businesses back in February and those able to continue working during the crisis, have seen a huge shift in the way they work.
According to data from the Resolution Foundation 63% of all UK workers were working from home at some point during lockdown. Compare this to the ONS’ report from 2019 where just 5% of the UK workforce said they worked from home and you can see how quickly things have changed in such a short space of time.
Although Covid-19 has been hard to navigate, it has given the UK workforce the opportunity to prove that remote working can work – and work well. Because of its nationwide success, lots of businesses are considering allowing their people to work wherever they choose. Whether that be from home, in the office, at a local coffee shop or in shared communal space.
In fact, it’s been so popular, research conducted by Dale Office Interiors found that 71% of managing directors (MDs), CEOs and business owners are looking to make flexible or remote working a permanent fixture going forward.
While it’s unlikely the office space will disappear entirely, it’s likely many organisations will look to downsize as they take a blended approach, which we’ve seen a lot of our customers already implementing.
The truth is, Covid-19 has shown that remote working and flexibility can be unlocked by more industries and companies than once thought. And allowing staff to work remotely can have hugely positive effects on businesses and the wider population including reduced emissions, reduced staff absences and improving employee wellbeing, boosts in productivity and reduced operational costs.
REMOTE WORKING AS A CONCEPT
Sometimes referred to as “working from home”, the term “remote working” refers to any work you complete that doesn’t require entering the traditional office space.
Thanks to advancements in technology and an increase in cloud-based communications solutions, you can now work from anywhere providing you have access to an internet connected device.
This means you can communicate with your team, complete projects and do everything else you would in the office, but without being in the same room, the same area, or even the same country as them.
So now your workspace is anywhere you are – whether that’s home, a coffee shop or even on holiday!
REMOTE WORKING BENEFITS
There is a wide range of research and strong evidence to suggest that remote working offers lots of benefits for both employers and employees. Some of these benefits include:
Offering remote working is said to increase employee wellbeing because it allows staff to maintain a better work/life balance.
Remote working helps employees to avoid busy rush hour commutes and their associated stress whilst enabling them to spend more time at home with family or loved ones.
This is likely to make staff happier, which in turn, will have a positive impact on their performance!
Staff that work remotely are thought to be more productive because they have fewer office distractions and can focus better on the tasks at hand.
According to a survey by CoSo Cloud, 77% of employees report greater productivity when remote working compared to when they are on-site.
And it’s reported that remote workers tend to get more done in less time.
Office Operational Costs
Office space is expensive especially if you rent. While you can claim some of the costs of this back as part of your capital allowance, this factor is still likely to be one of the biggest fixed costs to your business.
According to a survey by Hitachi Capital, a typical SMB can save around £10,000 per year by allowing employees to work remotely at least some of the time.
This is saving on overheads like: utilities, cleaning services, employee travel and expenses.
Recruitment & Retention
For younger and highly skilled employees, surveys suggest that workplace flexibility is something that they want and expect. Remote working is thought to increase your chances of hiring these types of candidates because 70% of workers feel that remote working is a benefit that makes a job offer more attractive to them.
Plus, according to Gartner, businesses that adopt remote working strategies see an increase in their employee retention rates too. So not only will you attract better quality employees in other locations or demographics by embracing remote working, you’ll also be more likely to retain those employees for longer because of it.
Remote working can support businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and in turn, help do their bit for the planet.
In allowing employees to work from anywhere and avoid the daily commute to the office, you are contributing to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Global Workforce Analytics estimates that by businesses offering remote working option for a few days a week, we could reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons every year!
So help the planet whilst offering remote working; win-win!
FMC & HOW IT WORKS?
Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) is the concept of utilising a single, integrated telephone system. ‘Fixed’ refers to landlines and the broadband that makes use of them. ‘Mobile’ refers to networks such as GSM 4G and 5G that are used for mobile devices.
Until recently, these two types of communication solutions have been completely independent. However, the concept of convergence brings everything together into one cloud-based platform.
This integrated platform allows businesses to utilise a mobile device as their main telephony option as opposed to needing a traditional desk phone. This means users have the option to work from wherever they choose, increasing overall productivity.
FMC combines the benefits of a fixed desk phone, the added flexibility of mobile networks, and the security of the cloud so businesses can keep track of and maintain ownership of their communications without any restrictions, whilst keeping data secure and confidential.
FMC & REMOTE WORKING
FMC works well in complimenting remote working because it allows businesses to maximise how employees engage with one another whilst supporting how organisational structures, workflows and processes are managed.
You can make and receive calls using an FMC remote working solution no matter where you are in the world. This means you will never miss a call and can allow staff to work from whatever location they choose without compromising on quality or feature-set, as all the functions from their desk phone can be accessed via their mobile device.
Security has always been a fundamental issue to stop businesses from adopting remote working solutions. Whether that’s because of poor networking or worries over public networks – it’s been a problem. However, using FMC for remote working overcomes this by providing users with a secure platform that enables team members to access the office’s telephony system via the cloud for a convenient, hassle-free solution.
Whilst remote working, ringing people from mobiles rather than the office numbers can be confusing and worrying for clients and colleagues. Avoid this through FMC’s capability to present multiple CLI’s (Calling Line Identity) for outbound calls. This allows you to use mobile devices and select what number you want to present when calling your clients. This not only protects the visibility of your employees mobile numbers but also gives a more professional look to your business. And as mobile devices can be added to call groups, your clients can still call the office number and speak to your staff as if they were in the office – helping to maintain business continuity whilst remote working.
It’s here to stay
Working flexibly has become a reality for many more of us and research shows that the overwhelming majority of people do not want to return to the way they worked before. In a recent Flex The UK survey, results showed that 97% of people would like to work remotely because of the flexibility this brings.
It’s unlikely the normal we once knew will be the normal going forward, and that’s ok. Adopting new technologies like FMC will not only be key to making sure businesses adapt to this ‘new normal’ but will also help ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.
2020 has been a challenging time for UK businesses and the coming months will be tough too but it’s also an opportunity to change workplaces for the better and for good. The time for change is now.
REMOTE WORKING IS HERE TO STAY: ADOPT FMC TODAY!
As remote working becomes the norm in the UK and beyond, think about adopting FMC technology as a way of supporting this shift and maximising your margins. Speak to a member of the team today! Call us on 0333 150 6780, email or fill out the contact form below and one of our experts will be in touch.