What remote working really is (or should be)
There’s understandably a lot of talk about remote working at the moment – companies talking about how well equipped they are to have their entire staff work away from the office should they need to. Something that is constantly ringing in my head is what a hugely positive development this could be for many people, despite the circumstances that have brought it about. But – and there is a but, quite a big one - are organisations a little misguided as to what to what real remote working is – or at least should be?
To me, remote working isn’t just being able to access a couple of documents that an individual was working on. It certainly isn’t emailing a couple of files to yourself so you can access them at home – I literally shudder when I think of how many potentially sensitive documents are being sent to personal email addresses at the moment. Proper remote working is a seamless user experience that is essentially no different to being in the office. It’s your people having secure access to not only all of their files but also all the programmes that they use in their jobs.
I’ve been speaking to a number of business leaders in the last week or so who are convinced that they’ll be fine with tools like Dropbox and Zoom because they have a couple of people that work from home a couple of times a week. Once this is rolled out to include everyone in a company on a daily basis, it’s likely that they’ll encounter significant performance issues.
It’s clear that some are still wary of investing in enabling remote working as a response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, mainly as many companies have long-resisted encouraging their workers to work away from office. This often comes from a nervousness or lack of trust in their people to work as hard as they might do in the office. Many companies that are reluctantly giving in to company-wide remote working to prevent the further spreading of the Coronavirus would very much prefer they were back to office working afterwards.
The evidence suggests that these companies should rethink this approach. Research has actually found that productivity can increase by up to 2.5% when people are given the freedom to manage their own workload and free of constant supervision. Remote working also proven to have a positive impact on employee mental health when they are trusted to manage their own working hours. You could also consider the reduction in operating costs when you have fewer people in your offices. Also, the offer of genuinely flexible and remote working will make you significantly more attractive to a new type of candidates – namely working parents, others with care responsibilities and simply those who prefer to operate more flexibly.
Now this obviously comes with the caveat that remote working needs to be managed well. This doesn’t mean ensuring that your people are actually working (for remote working to work you have to trust your people) but also that they don’t begin to feel disconnected. This can be managed through regular video meetings, team social events and team updates.
At Oz Cloud, we specialise in cloud-based hosted desktops that enable proper remote working in a way that is efficient, effective and reliable – no matter how big your company is. Our systems allow your people to access their full work desktop wherever they are. They can work just as they would at their desk – using any software they need – providing a seamless working experience. This is all done through the cloud and doesn’t rely on high internet speeds – I was able to do it from a plane last week (anyone who has tried to use plane WiFi will understand what a feat this was). Most importantly, no matter where data is accessed it is safe and secure – protecting you at all times.
As COVID-19 looks set to force a huge number of UK businesses to have their staff work away from the office, having the proper systems in place to enable this will make all the difference. With effective Hosted Desktops, you can ensure that you see a minimal impact on productivity and performance. Once this incredibly unpleasant time is over, you’ll be able to continue to enjoy the significant benefits that remote and flexible working offer.
If you're interested in talking more about how you can enable true remote working for your people, please get in touch.