Where is the future of work? And how Technology can help your business work from home.
Where is the future of work? Is it fully remote? Is it 100% in the office? Or is it Hybrid? Talking to our clients, it doesn’t appear there is one definitive answer. It’s a matter of what works for your business and client base. We’ll take you through what some of our clients are doing and what are some key considerations to ensure your business has a productive workforce.
Can technologies support a hybrid work policy?
Absolutely. We saw during our lengthy lockdowns that most businesses could switch to a Work from Home quickly and effectively. With the web browser the most common way to access business tools, working from home is easy and effective.
Add to that the business phone is now an extension of Zoom meetings or Microsoft Teams; you can work wherever you have an internet connection.
Is working from home secure?
There is no reason it can’t be, but because a home network setup also contains IT equipment that is outside of the control of your IT department, there are added risks.
There are computers on the network that may not comply with your business requirements. The router/modem the internet connection runs through may not be patched and secured against the latest threats.
All of these can be managed with additional hardware and software, but they are not front of mind for most business owners. Considering these issues should be part of any work-from-home policy your business implements.
What does Hybrid look like?
Here are some examples of the businesses we support and what they are doing
Set days in the office
You’ll be required in the office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
A risk with your Hybrid work policy is that you can come into the office and find that no one else is around. You’ve made a trip into the city for nothing. So, set days in the office really helps to ensure your team will be around you when you come in. This is an excellent option for businesses that have the floor space to accommodate all of their employees.
The downside is you are paying rent and services for days when the office will be empty or almost empty.
If you found a business you could share the office space with, and they worked from the office on the days you worked from home, you could save $$$ on rent. It could be a business idea in that. Match-making businesses!
X number of days in the office
You’ll be required in 3 days a week.
This is great flexibility for your staff, where they can manage their week and schedules for what works best for them. Again, the issue can be that on the days someone comes in, it could be a ghost town for them. This depends on the size of your organisation and your team structure. For some businesses, this won’t be an issue.
Minimum number of days in the office
You’ll be required to come in at least 2 days a week
Similar to the above, but your staff can work from the office 5 days a week if they want. This is how we work in Intuitive. We have reduced our office footprint and moved to a more convenient location for the team, but what happens if we all turn up once? Well, we have a booking system for our desks, and if you miss out, do you have to trudge back home? No, there is overflow hotdesking space in the building, so you can still work from the office.
WFH on request only, aka Work from the Office
You’ll need permission to work from home tomorrow
This is the pre-Covid model. The expectation is you are to work from the office every day unless you are granted permission to work from home. We’re all familiar with this model, and many workers are reluctant to return to this model.
How do I know my staff are working?
So that’s the wrong question to be asking. The question needs to be, “Is the work getting done?” If the answer to that is yes, then there shouldn’t be an issue. Your team are doing what’s required of them. If you are unsure if the work is getting done, then I’m afraid that’s not an issue for IT. That’s a business process issue.
But what about monitoring software?
I hear you ask. Yes, they exist, and yes, we can install employee monitoring software on your staff’s computers, but what does it say if you need to implement that? Staff will feel like you don’t trust them, and the evidence is clear that you don’t.
What will happen to my company culture?
Many businesses have strong work cultures and are 100% remote. Culture can be defined by your office, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a great video I watched recently by Ruth Burr Reedy, who is the CEO of UpBuild. We’ve taken some of her points and created a Work-from-home policy to ensure our culture is vital no matter where we work from.
Should I enforce WFO?
This is a decision for you and your business. I would ask yourself the following questions and, depending on the answers, make a decision.
- Do you need to have your staff in the office to get their work done?
- Do you have the technology to enable effective WFH? If not, what will it take to implement?
- Do you have the business processes in place to enable effective WFH?
- Are you willing to lose a team member to an organisation allowing WFH?
Please reach out if your business wants to ensure its technology is aligned with your WFH and WFO office policies.
About the author
Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.