The 2017 Global HR Talent Trend Report by Mercer recently revealed that 51% of employees want more flexible working options in their business. This is supported by 2017 research by Vodafone, which found that 86% of workers now claim flexible working to be one of their main requests from an employer. But despite the demand for flexible working increasing, the reality appears to be different.
Recent findings in the United States have revealed that the number of workers who worked partially or fully from home dropped from 24% in 2015 to 22% by the end of 2016. The reason being that large enterprises such as IBM believe that “bringing people back together will lead to faster, more productive, and more creative workers.”
Of course, the benefits of remote working are well documented. A study from Vodafone found that 83% of employees working flexibly believe they have increased their productivity as a result. But ensuring employees are set up effectively—with the right technology—is key to ensuring that this trend from the United States does not spread across the pond and around the world.
Adapting for Flexible Working
Thanks to the consumerization of technology, employees are more connected than ever and are regular users of cutting-edge hardware and software at home. As a result, they crave the ability to use these same tools in their working environment. Whether it’s connecting with extended family members through WhatsApp, sharing documents with friends through Google Docs, or using live video to meet with volunteer committees, people today understand how consumer-focused applications can make big differences in their lives.
So with technology playing an integral part in millions of consumers’ lives, it seems only natural that these tools are carried across to working environments. But deciding which technology to focus on is the first challenge.
Implementing the Right Technology
Whether it’s a cloud-based document storing application like Google Drive or OneDrive, instant messaging programs such as Slack or Workplace, or project management tools like Wrike or Trello, investing in technology is vital to help employees work remotely. Fail to effectively implement the right technology and the warnings are clear. Bad implementation results in frustrated employees, wasted dollars, and a lack of clear communication. Plus, workers today are less loyal than they used to be, and without effective collaboration tools to enable remote working, they are more likely than ever before to leave a business.
Thankfully, for companies looking to strike a balance between office and remote working, live video helps bridge the gap. Face-to-face connectivity while working remotely is the new norm for companies—and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t continue to be so. Video conferencing has many benefits, including improving communication among team members, reducing travel costs, and allowing for better work-life balance.
The New Norm
For some companies, the idea of remote working still raises concerns of reduced productivity or an isolated workforce. However, thanks to live video, the human factor—something which is so important in modern office culture—is not hindered. With the rise of video meeting capabilities, colleagues, partners, and customers can engage anywhere, anytime, without losing the all-important personal approach.
Live video connectivity also means that those working remotely still have access to crucial meetings, company announcements, and group brainstorms. This has the potential to influence positive cultural change across the whole business. With live video conferencing, those who work from home are no longer the forgotten few—they are the connected many.