If the recent National Work from Home Day is anything to go by, remote working is here to stay. Far from being a trend along with office dogs and free beer in the fridge, the last few years (and a significant body of research) has shown that most businesses could benefit from at least offering employees the freedom to work from home.
But effective remote working is only possible with the help of the right communications infrastructure – and that means channel resellers need to help customers make the leap.
Why remote working?
The benefits of remote working are varied, and you should certainly encourage your customers to take advantage. A recent study showed that 99% of workers said they’d like to work away from the office at least some of the time throughout their careers, with many citing benefits like flexibility and the freedom to travel as motivating factors.
Remote workers also regard themselves as more productive, with many saying they get more done than their colleagues in open plan offices. So it’s not just employees who benefit: senior decision makers may see a productivity boost as a result. Not to mention the fact it can help to save on office costs.
The flipside of the coin
Yet for all the benefits of remote working, there are also a number of potential downsides – so channel resellers must be prepared to help customers address these issues. Not least because they could be used as customer objections during the sales process.
The biggest problem caused by remote working is often a social one. The quality of communication can suffer when in-office time is reduced; there’s no denying it’s easier to talk, collaborate and build relationships when you’re in the same room.
When the Bustler study asked respondents about their biggest remote working struggle, ‘loneliness’ and ‘collaboration and/or communication’ were two of the most commonly cited issues. Another report found that ‘70% of remote employees feel left out of the workplace’.
It’s not hard to see why. The reality is that while many businesses have embraced remote working, some haven’t invested heavily enough in the tech to support it, meaning employees are relying on fairly basic tools with no real integration.
Using tech to tackle challenges
While mobile phones and laptops are certainly essential pieces of kit for those working out of the office, dialling into a conference where everybody else is sat around a table can be a disjointed, uncomfortable experience. And, as pleasant as working from home can be, many will miss the banter of the office and the ability to chat with colleagues as they work.
There’s a balance to be had, and you can steer your customers towards achieving it. For example, by providing an ultra-reliable business class mobile network and the right handsets, you can help to ensure that employees are always able to communicate with each other – whether they’re working from home, getting in touch from the road, or even sat in a local coffee shop.
Or, a tool like Gamma Collaborate can offer a unified experience with video calling, instant conferencing, and instant messaging, as well as calls. This can empower employees to seamlessly communicate with one another across a range of channels, moving between platforms as required for maximum efficiency.
Employees can even utilise a ‘Presence’ feature which shows how a staff member is best contactable – all of which should tackle some of the inherent problems of remote working, as well as improving the employee experience.
Remote working: the new normal
Increasingly, remote working is less of an employee perk, and more of a basic expectation. To attract and retain the best staff, your customers will need to get on board – meaning the number of potential businesses looking to implement the relevant technology will undoubtedly increase over the coming years. Channel resellers should be prepared to adjust to this new normal, with a clear strategy in place to help customers get the tools and platforms they need.