Has it really been over two years since many of us swapped the usual morning traffic jam for a much shorter commute? Even as many offices have now reopened, the working landscape appears to have shifted permanently. A global study found that 76% of companies have transitioned to at least some kind of hybrid working.
So, what have we learned about remote working and how can you ensure your business continues to thrive in the new normal?
It’s here to stay
Remote working isn’t going anywhere. Employees around the world have enjoyed the benefits of a hybrid work structure and are hesitant to return to the traditional office 9-5. The same study mentioned above found that only 11% of companies expect a return to full-time office work.
Companies now actively advertise their commitment to hybrid working in vacant job descriptions to attract potential employees. A strict office approach might actually be enough to prevent someone from applying.
The pandemic showed that businesses can continue to thrive and succeed even if their staff aren’t together but only if the right tool and processes are in place.
Businesses can access a global talent pool
This is simple geography. When hiring for a position in the past, you’d need someone who was fairly local to the office – or at least someone who was willing to relocate. Now, a business can commit to remote working in some capacity and search for talent in much larger pools.
This is especially useful if you’re hiring for a niche position which requires highly sought-after skills. Instead of paying a premium to one of the few eligible candidates in the area, you can advertise to similar individuals around the world. You’ll find someone just as capable without having to compete as fiercely against your competitors.
It’s still a challenge to keep work and life separate
From day one, one of the most common conversations about hybrid working is how it impacts our personal lives. For some, it gives us more chance to spend valuable time with our families whereas for others, it causes distractions that make it hard to keep the two separate.
It’s easy to fall into bad habits, like checking your emails late at night because your “office” is right there. This can ultimately lead to job unhappiness and make it feel as though your work and personal life are blended.
If you or your team do ever feel this starting to happen, think about setting clear boundaries between the office and home. We recommend avoiding looking at their inbox after a certain time of day and turning off notifications on work devices in the evening.
It’s not for everyone
Just as many people have enjoyed the shift to hybrid working, many have had a hard time adjusting. Some of the most common complaints about remote working are:
- I miss being able to interact face-to-face with colleagues and customers.
- Team communication is poor.
- There are too many distractions at home.
- My home setup isn’t as good as the office.
These reservations with remote working are why many businesses around the world have opted for a hybrid approach. Those that enjoy the freedom of working from home can do so, while those who prefer the structure and social aspect of office life can continue as if the pandemic hadn’t happened.
Businesses need to put structures and processes in place that accommodate everyone so that productivity, efficiency and communication aren’t hindered.
Communication is more important than ever
If you are a business that has employees at home and in the office, then it’s your responsibility to prevent silos from forming. Everyone should have access to the same data, tools and opportunities no matter where they are.
You’ll likely already be using emails, instant messaging and video conferencing software to keep everyone connected. When working apart, it’s easy for things to fall through to cracks or for important information to be misinterpreted.
Establish which communication channels are used for company updates, important customer information or just for a catch-up with colleagues. Without establishing a clear charter of communication, you might find that there’s too much noise.
Remote workers are as much part of the team as those in the office. They continue to reflect your brand when they speak to clients or customers. With that in mind, you should ensure that they can be as professional as possible when communicating with external parties.
This doesn’t just mean that they have an appropriate home setup. It means they utilise the very best tools and equipment when carrying out their work. A customer shouldn’t have to deal with poor connection or phone quality when speaking to a member of your team on the phone for example.
Our cloud-based phone system allows your teams to work seamlessly, no matter where they are. Team members can communicate with each other, offer outstanding customer service and make sure callers reach the right person simply and effectively.
For a closer look at CircleLoop and how it can power your remote working teams, sign up to a completely free trial now by using the link below.