There are a lot of different terms for the concept – working from home or WFH, teleworking, remote working, flexible working – but whatever you call it, it’s been a growing phenomenon in Australia. Around 74% of Australians consider flexible working to be the new normal, and in 2019 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that 34% of all employed people in Australia regularly worked from home.
In many ways, the development of a flexible working culture and enabling our people to work from home has prepared us for the current coronavirus pandemic. As we combat the spread of the virus, it has become imperative for people to observe social isolation, which means our teams will need to access corporate systems and work together remotely. The good news is that a lot of Australian organisations already have well-established flexible working policies, and the technology and systems in place to support them.
However, the biggest issues we now face are the scale and capabilities of our remote workforce. While on any given day an organisation might have 10-20% of its staff working remotely, for many organisations (including our team here at RingCentral), that figure is now approaching 100%.
Difficulties staying in contact with colleagues might have been an inconvenience for the occasional remote worker in the past, however with so many people now working from home on a full-time basis those minor difficulties rapidly turn into ‘mass’ productivity killers.
To solve these productivity issues, we need to consider how easy is it for remote workers to participate in meetings and discussions, and to access internal documents and data.
Here are a few things your organisation may be in the throes of working out right now:
- Does everyone in your business have an adequate broadband Internet connection at home, or at best 4G or 5G mobile data?
- What about a laptop or desktop PC or tablet device with a good quality camera and a microphone/headset?
- Can everyone answer calls to their normal office extensions via a soft phone or their mobile device?
- Do you have an audio or video conferencing system with enough concurrent user licences so that your teams and departments can continue to meet and collaborate remotely with the same ease and frequency that they usually do in the office?
Communication and collaboration are crucial to any workplace. Without good communication, you not only threaten the productivity of your organisation, but you also risk alienating and damaging the psyche of your people. Working remotely means you don’t get the pleasure of interacting and speaking face-to-face with colleagues and customers. You also need to be able to show your manager and co-workers that you are online, active, and available.
If you don’t have the systems in place that enable your remote workers to communicate and collaborate effectively, it’s important that you look for a solution that can – one that can be implemented quickly and scale easily to meet any sudden changes in user demand. It’s also important that you ensure your people are given the support and resources they need to learn how to use the tools they need to make calls, participate in meetings, send messages, and collaborate remotely.
For more tips on working from home be sure to check out our selection of blog posts to help you set up remote working for your business.
Originally published 20 Mar, 2020, updated 22 Mar, 2020