While face masks and elbow bumps might be quick to disappear, one thing that will be sticking around after the pandemic is remote working. Despite being forced into it by COVID-19, both employees and businesses have seen first-hand the benefits it can have in terms of cost, work-life balance, and productivity.
The question going forward is how do you facilitate it on a long-term basis? In this post, we'll explore the new remote-friendly norm and some essentials for your business.
It's fair to say remote working was gradually on the up before 2020. New technology like cloud-hosting and video-calling naturally made it easier for some people to work away from the office. That said, it was still a definite minority. By the end of 2019, the number of people working mainly from home in the UK was still around 1.7 million.
That's nothing compared to the instant rise caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown. At the peak of the crisis, as much as 60% of the UK workforce were operating remotely. While that was inconvenient for many, it did highlight the benefits of remote working.
Without a commute, employees were able to save both time and money, providing a better work-life balance. Employers benefitted in many cases from happier staff, better productivity and – in the long-term – the potential for reduced office costs.
Looking forward, it's no surprise that many people want remote working to stay. With lockdown slowly easing, it's time for employers to consider how they can make that possible and avoid falling behind the competition – both in terms of productivity and attracting the best talent.
The first step is to have a clear remote working policy in place. Spend some time thinking about the key questions and challenges when it comes to working from home. Do you want to go fully remote or will you balance remote and in-house work? Will there be a fixed number of remote-working days, or will it just be up to employees to decide? Do you keep your office, downsize, or get rid of it completely?
Consider all parts of the picture too. While remote working might be hassle-free for experienced members of the team, will it be practical for onboarding new staff? Remember it's not always one-size-fits-all. There are some roles which lend themselves more naturally to remote work.
Next, you need to get tools in place that still allow your staff to be a team. This typically breaks down into two types of software – project management and communication.
There are plenty of options when it comes to project management, allowing staff to see what they need to do, check off completed tasks and stay in the loop. These applications also enable managers to track progress and make sure everything's running smoothly.
As for communication, you want an application that allows your team to collaborate with ease. Video calling is hugely useful as it creates a more personal environment, which can improve team morale. So too is instant messaging, which reduces the number of emails being sent back and forth for quick updates or questions.
Finally, and perhaps most critically, your team needs access to the all-important files and assets they use to do their job on a day-to-day basis. While basic tools like Dropbox and OneDrive are okay for one-off remote days, they don't have the kind of advanced capabilities you need for remote productivity.
A feature-rich digital asset management system allows you to organise your files using innovative metadata, which makes it easier to retrieve the right assets in an instant. You can stay on top of who sees what, with sophisticated access control based on each account or role.
Remote working is here to stay. If you want to make sure your business is ready for the change, feel free to get in touch with the team at iBase. Our innovative digital asset management system can make collaboration a breeze, wherever your team is based.