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The Remote Working Revolution

This blog in brief

The Government have announced plans to ease the lockdown. It’s easy to think that remote working will soon come to an end.

However, attitudes to remote working are changing. Coule remote working become a normal part of working culture?

So lockdown is easing?

So. The lockdown is starting to wind up now, they’re looking at re-opening the schools, you can go out as often as you like to exercise and enjoy the sun and life is set to return to normal in the next few months, right?  Think again. 

I’m sure that as an eagle-eyed business owner, you’ve been keeping a really close watch over the news and the sentiment of your staff during the lockdown – and we have here at A2Z Cloud, too. 

One thing is clear – it’s now more important than ever to get on top of your remote working strategy

The rise of remote working

It’s clear from what we’re seeing in the world today that things just aren’t going to be going back to normal any time soon. There is a substantial amount of shifting sentiment from people all around the world concerning their working environment. 

Effectively, the lockdown has been one of the biggest experiments in remote working that anyone could have mustered with 80% of the working population working from home. 

If you’re like me, you might be thinking “Well, it’s just been a couple of months.” – but the reality of it is that it’s been half a year since the coronavirus took hold in China and people have been living it for months already in the UK. Employees are actually starting to become accustomed to working at home with many staff expecting that these practices will continue. 

In a survey conducted by 02, ICM and YouGov, 45% of responders said that they expected more flexible work after lockdown, 33% expect to be working from home for at least 3 days a week and 81% expect that at least 1 day a week will be spent remote working.  

 Working from become a legal right

If you’re thinking that now is the time to ride it out and just wait for things to return to normal, then you could be in for a bit of a shock. Not only is working from home a preferential option for a lot of people, but there are rumours that workers could get legal rights to work from home with a draft proposal reportedly gaining support from ministers.

Being dubbed the “workplace revolution.” the goal of the legislation will be to prevent employees from being forced to go back after lockdown, giving parents new parents more flexibility, making it easier to carry out safe social distancing and reducing commuter congestion. 

It is not yet clear what shape these new regulations will take, however – according to some sources it would mean that companies could only refuse an employee’s request to work from home if their duties could only be carried out in the workplace. 

The downsides of working remote

While the majority of people appear to favour the idea of a remote working split, it’s clear that it’s having some adverse impact on the remote working force. 

In a poll conducted by the institute for Employment Studies, they found that 50% of their 500 respondents said that they were struggling to find the right life-work balance and were working longer and more irregular hours. 

In the same poll, a third of the respondents said that they felt isolated. For team cohesiveness, many businesses lack robust communication software that allows people to feel connected – in a lot of cases, most people are only able to communicate with their colleagues in their regular video meeting. Outside of that, they’re left to float around and solve problems by themselves.

How how will life be in the office?

The government has hinted at some of their plans for workers to return to the office and a lot of them sound as if they’re going to be fairly disruptive and include: 

  • Face Masks

  • Setting up screens

  • Keeping social distancing

  • Sanitisation stations

  • Wipes and hand sanitisers

  • Less sharing of equipment

  • Staggered working times

  • Adding signage to your business

While the full scope of the plan hasn’t been released yet – it’s clear that some of these changes are going to be very disruptive to the average ‘day in the office’ as people learn to adhere to these new protocols and it will certainly leave numerous businesses thinking that remote working is probably a more attractive alternative.  

Some firms are reportedly considering remodelling their offices to minimise the risk of more infections including long rows of desks, shielded work-stations and new office flows. This approach is clearly going to be far beyond the scope of most small businesses, many of whom will likely need to embrace remote working practices.

Many unions are concerned with the Governments return to work’ guidance 

A second peak? 

With people rushing to enjoy the sun and the Government is encouraging people to get back out there and work, some experts are warning that this is premature and that the country could face a second peak as the much discussed ‘R’ rate will soon surge above one and make the virus an exponential threat once more. 

In the Government’s conditional plan, this would see all the businesses being forced to shut their doors once more and send all their employees back home until such times as the ‘R’ number has dropped back down below one. 

This ‘to and froing’ is sure to be frustrating for businesses and employees alike.

Is it time to embrace remote working?

With all these indicators that remote working is going to be a necessary option for people and businesses it makes sense to take this opportunity to look at ways that businesses can embrace this new remote working meta that goes beyond email and the occasional Zoom Meeting.  

In order for your business to thrive in the remote working future, it’s going to be essential to have software that helps you support that goals – there are plenty of cloud-based applications and ‘software as a service’ offerings that you could use.  

I would strongly recommend giving Zoho a try – we’ve been working from day one of the lockdown without interruption thanks to enjoying a suite of cloud applications that are build with remote working in mind – Zoho’s applications aren’t just pieces of software that you run from the cloud. 

They’re a part of a connected ecosystem that they call “The operating system for business.” each application comes with multiple online collaboration features, a feed so that you can share and comment on updates, integrated live chat so that you can involve yourself in the instant collaboration that you just can’t get with email conversations. 

This video from Zoho shows their ‘remote working’ suite of applications called “Zoho Remotely” which has 13 applications to empower your team to work from wherever they are without interruption. 

Remotely is also free until July 01st, 2020 – so it’s worth trying it out to see what you think of it. Click here to give it a try

Whatever your approach is for this problem, it’s going to be important to start making the decisions quickly – the remote working revolution seems to be here to stay, and with millions on furlough, one of the best ways to pump up our economy is to start to embrace this culture and get people back to work. 

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