In 2020, working from home became essential in a way we never expected it to, exposing the gaps in many businesses’ remote working capabilities.
Now, we’re looking at a future at work that needs to be a lot more flexible, and quickly. In this blog, we’ll examine the rise of remote working and discuss five ways an anywhere working future is good for business.
The history of the office
Take a moment to think about the classic office of the early 2000s. An open plan office with desks and desktop computers at regular intervals, servers that were already outdated, meeting rooms with whiteboards and nothing else. Feels antiquated, doesn’t it? Today, we have so many expectations of our workplaces: we need constant Wi-Fi connection, personal laptops, and the accessibility to work from home. It’s almost unrecognisable, and it probably seemed unthinkable 30 years ago.
But today, we continue to push the boundaries of the office for the better. Thanks to cloud technology, we have devices that we can work from in any location and we expect to be able to. The concept of hybrid working is where working that can flexibly take place anywhere and be effectively aligned with processes that also take place in the office. Long after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, we’re still going to move towards a future of hybrid working environments. Here are some of the key benefits that businesses can expect when they embrace it.
1. Hiring international talent at no extra cost
In the past, recruiting was limited to the pool of people who were both qualified for the job and able to travel into the office five days a week. When it became possible to work remotely, this opened up an enormous talent pool. Anyone with an internet connection could dial in remotely and communicate via email, collaborating on work asynchronously. Take it a step further, and people can work from other countries in other time zones. Today, tools like Microsoft Teams make it easy to have videoconferences at a moment’s notice, sharing work in real time and getting rid of unnecessary delays in your processes.
2. Making working hours more flexible
There’s a lot of life admin that we all have to manage, especially for parents and those who rely on a flexible approach for health reasons. Before hybrid working was possible, people missed out on jobs they were qualified for because their lives just didn’t work around a nine to five schedule. In a hybrid working environment, it’s possible and even beneficial to have remote team members working hard wherever and whenever suits them. It’s never been easier to ensure that workers have the tools they need accessible to them via the cloud, so that they’re always well equipped. Microsoft 365 is hailed as a productivity platform that can transform remote working practices because of how well it enables efficient work from anywhere.
3. Saving money on office space
Workers will be beginning to return to the office after the series of lockdowns that began in early 2020 – but what about regions with local lockdowns? What about people who are vulnerable and are still shielding? What about people who commute a long way and feel they work better from home? Well, they don’t need to be in the office. Downsizing your office could be a smart move to prepare for the unpredictable financial future we have ahead of us. Instead of spending money on office rent, investing in your hybrid working practices mean that workers can work wherever they’re comfortable and perform optimally.
4. Improving collaboration and communication
People are used to a near-constant level of being in communication in their social lives because of social media and messaging. These apps have set a precedent for communication: it should be instant and easy. Microsoft Teams provides the same kind of support for workers, enabling them to stay in touch via instant message, phone or video. It’s closely integrated with every other Microsoft app, meaning it’s easy to share work and collaborate. Modern devices from the Microsoft Surface family are industry-leading tools that have been designed with hybrid working in mind. Designed to enhance the human ways in which we work, they reimagine and refine the way that we interact with our co-workers and our tasks.
5. Creating better client relationships
Winning clients is often a matter of impressing them, whether it’s with your unique ideas or your intelligent services. When it comes to technology, clients don’t expect to see people dropping out of remote meetings due to poor connection, or technical gaffes. During lockdown especially, it’s essential to be seen as technologically well-equipped. After all, if businesses can’t cope with working remotely, how can they deliver excellent work? Having a hybrid environment automatically improves the way that you can manage clients, transitioning seamlessly between in-person and remote work without losing a single note in the process. That’s the power of the cloud.
For more information about how remote working will transform SMBs, read our eBook, and also discover the steps and solutions needed to keep operations running smoothly and productively whilst we all continue to adapt to anywhere working.