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As the business world begins its own recovery from coronavirus, it’s clear that things will never be quite the same as they were. Top of the list of changes in the ‘new world of work’ is working from home – something many employers still viewed with suspicion prior to the pandemic but are now building into their future plans.
Many employees will have enjoyed the break from commuting, the extra time at home with the family, the increased sense of independence… and will be pushing to make that a more regular, if not a permanent, part of their working life. At the same time, employers will be eyeing up the financial benefits of reducing their real estate requirements and increasing the flexibility of their workforce.
Rather than switching wholesale to working from home, the more popular model is a hybrid of home-based and office-based employees. So how will this work? And what do businesses need to consider in order to make it a success?
For many companies it’s taken several years to come round to the idea of their staff working from home. The main concerns were the impact on supervision and employee development, loss of company culture and values, loss of inclusion and team spirit, loss of focus and timekeeping and lack of faith in the technology. Despite the boom in remote working as a result of COVID-19, these pitfalls remain and should be addressed by any company planning to go over to a hybrid workforce in future.
As an IT company that has facilitated remote working for a wide range of companies over recent years, we are familiar with these pitfalls and how digital solutions can best be used to mitigate them.
One of the biggest challenges for employers will be ensuring that all their employees, home-based and office-based, feel an equal sense of belonging. It’s very easy to neglect one group in favour of another, or to inadvertently skew your business practices and processes to suit one group more than the other.
This can be overcome with digital solutions, such as communication and collaboration tools, cloud-based IT and online file storage. Create a digital infrastructure that can be accessed in the same way by all staff, from the office, at home, or from elsewhere in the world. Use communications tools to bring teams together, discuss work, socialise, share the latest news, acknowledge achievements and keep your leadership visible. This will help to maintain a feeling of inclusion and recognition and to keep the company values and culture thriving.
There have been concerns expressed about the security of online conferencing tools, and every piece of information that is shared or stored online represents a risk. It’s very important to make sure your IT security is robust, both in the office and out. Apply a comprehensive security solution across the whole business, covering every device and connection, including the privately owned devices that your staff use at home. By placing your IT in the cloud, where files and applications are stored in ultra-secure data centres, you actually remove the security risk of keeping physical files and servers in your office, where they can be stolen or destroyed.
At Origo, we are experienced at providing businesses with digital solutions that are ready for the new world of work. We can help you design and implement an IT infrastructure that enables your people to work freely, efficiently and securely from anywhere, while remaining close to the heart and soul of the company.
The future is flexible. Let us help you stretch.