The first lockdown saw people uprooted from their offices and expected to work from home en mass. No one realised quite how successful this would be and the ease with which it was adopted. In fact, it has been so successful that 9 in 10 workers who worked from home in the first lockdown said they would like to continue in some form. This is according to Chris Potts at ANT Telecom.
With more companies, including Amazon, asking staff to work from home well into 2021, organisations need to invest in supporting long-term home working solutions and adjust their policies and budgets accordingly to ensure staff are receiving the support they need.
Indeed, with the potential for a decrease in office space as more employees call for a hybrid work model in the future, employers have the scope to reassess budgets. A survey found that 74% of 1000 firms plan on maintaining an increase in home working, with more than half planning to reduce the long-term use of workplaces. With the move away from offices, companies will have to invest in the right tools and solutions to make a hybrid working model both viable and productive in both the immediate and long-term, enabling easy transitions between the office and home.
The benefits of working from home
Offering this hybrid model will make most organisations more attractive to both current and potential employees. Nearly a third of people said they would quit their job if remote working was not supported. Technology is fundamental to the shift and the extent to which digital communication is integrated into the workplace increases the likelihood of working from home. And there are numerous benefits to be achieved; productivity increases, a happier and more satisfied workforce, even contributing to a company’s corporate green initiatives.
Communication is key
Bearing this in mind, organisations need to ensure that the right communication tools for working from home are in place. A modern telephony solution that enables this is key. For example, having the same contact number working from home or in the office and automatically routing incoming calls to a mobile device would make moving between the office and home more coherent and efficient, having the security that you have everything you need to do ‘business as usual’ at home.
The HSE’s guidance for safeguarding home workers is that companies should endeavour to ‘keep in touch’ with their employees and 'ensure regular contact’. A solution that enables this is essential to having a safe working from home model.
Technology that will alert if an employee doesn’t log out at the end of the day would provide a level of safety and reassurance to staff members working from home. A solution that also provides additional opportunities for regular check-ins and allows users to quickly trigger an alarm or raise the alarm automatically should an incident occur can provide a trusted and comprehensive safety solution.
Developing a working hybrid model will involve finding balance after an unprecedented year of change. To successfully implement this, businesses must be inventive, adaptable and open to all possibilities and technologies to enable and improve the flexible movement between the office and home.
There are clearly many benefits of working from home for both companies and employees, but in order to use home working as a differentiator, companies must embrace the opportunity to completely safeguard their staff and integrate solutions to support.
By having the right communication tools to allow the office to home continuity and having the technology to ensure employees are safe, it will benefit any businesses who decide to take on a hybrid-model. An automated solution is by far the most effective way of achieving this.