A new younger workforce reflecting different attitudes to work may be more receptive to greater flexibility in working practices. However, many businesses have historically harboured objections to the introduction of remote working: employees too have often resisted change, concerned that this would lead to more work and longer hours. This needn’t be the case.
There are a number of ways to encourage staff take-up of remote working. First, make them aware of the benefits by showing how flexible working and web commuting gives employees more control over their working day and, as a result, provide greater job satisfaction.
Second, demonstrate how remote working tools are easy to learn and simple to use. For employees who regularly collaborate with others, simple web conferencing tools enable them to host or join an online meeting, share their screen and interact just as if they were there in person, dramatically reducing travel times and associated costs.
Employees using the internet to work from anywhere are able to continue working on those occasions which cannot be anticipated, such as family emergencies or bad weather. Maximising productivity benefits the employee as well as the business – after all, your work doesn’t get done in your absence!
Third, show how virtual alternatives can effectively replicate a face-to-face meeting. Any previous concerns around the limitations of virtual meetings have now been blown away by the availability of multi-media solutions where all participants can see each other clearly and exchange and jointly work on all kinds of documents – just as if they were working in the same room.
This will be even easier with the introduction of ‘one click’ high-definition integrated video conferencing solutions, which will truly enable staff to see ‘the whites of their eyes’ in working remotely with colleagues and third parties.
The business benefits from this, as by providing remote access tools that enable PC or Mac users to access their office computer, businesses can ensure employees are able to securely use all of their files, email and applications and so work equally effectively from any location.
The environment also benefits. Surveys continue to show that employees are typically more environmentally aware at home than in the office, as it is made easier for them to be ‘green’. As a result, not only will employees see a reduction in business travel to in-person meetings, but employers will be pushing at an open door in showing staff how this achieves a significant reduction in carbon usage.
In short, everyone’s a winner. By enhancing the user experience in this way, this will both improve engagement and ensure that online isn’t just used as a fall-back option but is adopted with confidence by all parties when it is the most appropriate and cost effective means of communication.
By providing the tools to enable employees to work from anywhere, companies can help staff achieve a work-life balance that will increase satisfaction levels and staff retention, while maintaining productivity and minimising disruption to the business – a rare but powerful example of win/win.