Attracting skilled workers is a key focus of any business looking to expand its talent pool and accelerate growth and revenue. However, attracting talent is easier said than done, with organisations needing to tout their benefits in the hopes of gaining a competitive edge in the recruitment market.
The ability to offer employee perks is of increasing value, as supported by a survey, which found 55% of candidates want “Work From Home” days (WFH) and 77% desire flexible hours. With an estimate that 50% of the UK workforce will work remotely by the end of 2020, effective means of communication should be at the forefront of every company’s objective when offering work-life balance options.
Yet, between instant messaging, video conferencing, text messages and the old fashioned telephone, a relatively simple task becomes a maze. With 1.3 million people now taking advantage of a ‘WFH’ option, how can businesses feel confident in their ability to offer these attractive benefits, without risking company productivity due to ineffective communication?
How to help WFH employees stay productive
It is often argued that those who work remotely are less productive than staff who are in the office.
However, a survey showed that 65% of people believed they would be more productive working from the comforts of their house. This is for many reasons, including fewer distractions, interruptions and the removal of a stressful or lengthy commute, which all help to increase activity output.
A key aspect to keeping productivity high is to ensure that all remote workers are still able to access and set up meetings, whether client-facing or internal, in a convenient, fast and hassle free-way.
While this may seem like an obvious point, when working with a remote team it’s important to make sure all potential channels of communication are available at any one time to avoid delayed responses and prolonged periods of decreased activity.
One way to ensure all team members stay connected is through a cloud-based communications platform, which has built-in flexibility that you may not achieve when using disparate services to communicate and collaborate.
Often, lines of communication within a company are disjointed, and frequently businesses have several platforms spread across departments. For example, some companies carry one form of software for instant messaging, a separate phone service and then a special video conferencing system, all employed to essentially facilitate the same task – communication.
With so many different systems in place, it becomes easy to waste time figuring out which system you need to join, and how – dial-in details, links, and pins – all adding confusion and causing delays.
Today, companies no longer need to deploy a number of separate systems to be able to communicate. Alternatives exist with everything in one single cloud‐based application, including voice, video, chat and more that can be easily accessed 24/7. This generates greater flexibility and maintains high levels of productivity.
Diversity across devices
It’s estimated that by 2020 an individual will own on average six connected devices, between smartphones, laptops and tablets, so Flexi-workers will need to be reachable no matter where they are and no matter the device.
With the struggle for IT departments to keep up with the latest advancements in technology, there has been an ongoing trend for ‘Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)’ in the workplace, with 52% of employers offering this as a work perk.
Regardless of whether you work remotely, or just bring your preferred device into the office, organisations will need a communication system with an agility that can work across several devices.
An individual’s personal preferences for communication and type of device they host meetings on should also be considered when promoting flexible work. Across the workforce, some staff may prefer chat only through a laptop, while others enjoy a video call from their phone so they can talk on the go, which creates an incredibly diverse network of potential communication lines.
For companies to drive effective communication and employee collaboration, utilising a cloud-based communication software may provide the best solution. By linking all operations, businesses can ensure continuity over every channel and a steady flow of information between teams.
The future of flexible working is NOW
Several industries are moving away from the rigidity of a 9-5 office job. Instead, there has been a steady move towards flexibility and transient styles of work that has been driven in part by the advancements in technology, communication needs, and our ‘have it all’ lifestyles that require greater freedom.
As we move into the new decade, organisations of all sizes must adapt with the times in order to attract new talent and ultimately thrive. Taking advantage of the cloud communication solutions available in the market can ensure your employees have the tools at hand is key to easy collaboration across the company and maximum productivity across teams.
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.