Ironically, research indicates that quite the opposite has happened, with face to face interaction dropping by 70% and email use instead increasing! So are we set to go in the complete opposite direction and start working from home, hoping to improve collaboration?
Remote or home working has increasingly become commonplace worldwide, with the United States alone seeing a 157% increase over the past 10 years. Despite this significant growth, the concept can prove divisive, with questions lingering around the productivity and team integration of remote workers. On the other hand, proponents argue that these doubts only arise when the correct tools to support workers and facilitate effective remote management have not been applied.
With the ever-increasing functionality and enterprise security of cloud-based productivity software, workers are less tied to their desks than ever before. Even users with ineffective file management arrangements can get access to the documentation they need from home via a simple search in a system like Google Drive. There are no concerns around remote workers not having access to files or systems; cloud creates a virtual back-office.
Working from home is typically suggested to be beneficial foremost to the employee, but businesses can also derive great value from having a fully automated workforce. If an employee (especially one with customer-facing responsibilities) can hold all meetings via an instant video conference tool, such as Hangout, from the comfort of home, the hour-long meeting lasts just that, with no top and tailing of travel and all associated hassle. So to any concerns that those working from home are less efficient, you'd have to say that someone sat at their desk all day will be more productive than someone in the car! In fact, research indicates that remote workers clock more hours .
In addition to the time saved, businesses can remove the travel expenses involved with said meeting. One drive up the road may not seem like much, but amplify this across international operations and the capital savings can be pretty hefty. Of course there will sometimes be a need for a traditional face-to-face engagements, but a video call is perfect for those weekly, routine catch-ups. You may even hold them more often and enhance client relationships!
Not only is this good for the bottom line, but as businesses become increasingly environmentally-conscious and look to reduce carbon footprints, significant reduction in unnecessary travel has a positive impact on sustainability.
Increasingly there is an expectation from employees that they can work from home some or all of the time. Integrating a career into their personal commitments is going to be a concern for all employees and the opportunity to work remotely will not only find favour with colleagues, but also with potential recruits. Rather than choosing from a talent pool within commutable range, businesses with an effective 'WFH' setup can hire the best talent from virtually anywhere. This is particularly beneficial to organisations with multiple office locations or to those based outside of typical industry heartlands where the majority of talent resides.
The extent of WFH policies is determined at the discretion of the employer, but we are regularly seeing these become more open. Many 'digital native' organisations are using working from home as a proposition that also keeps operating costs down, whereas some allow remote working because 'they have to' due to legislations imposed by the government. New ways of working, such as remote, are only likely to grow as emerging talent becomes the management of tomorrow, but those businesses that choose to embrace working from home policies rather than see it as a necessary imposition can experience some significant benefits across cost savings, recruitment, productivity and employee morale.
Moving to an effective working from home culture doesn't need to be an arduous process. Once migrated you can be up and running on a cloud collaboration platform such as G Suite in just a matter of minutes and then users can simply jump online and work, while experiencing the additional benefits of document collaboration and inline editing. And once management start to see this new way of working in action, it won't just be the digital natives working from home.
If you are considering a move to the cloud to enable a working from home policy, Appsbroker can support you in making this a seamless transition. We have been empowering businesses to work better with G Suite for over 10 years and manage some of the largest G Suite estates in the UK.