The COVID-19 pandemic thrust the world into the future of work a lot faster than we expected. One moment, people were sitting in an office, waiting for their next meeting, or chatting to team members. The next, practically every business sent its employees home. Remote and cloud-based working became the new norm, and we all adapted to a different landscape.
Since July, the conversation has shifted to the return to work, or not, or the management of a hybrid arrangement. Some employees will have the freedom to return to the office and some more traditional methods of working. However, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever go back to the way that things were before. Teams and their leaders have discovered how beneficial remote and mobile working can genuinely be.
In the public sector, the future of work will likely require a deeper consideration of how remote and in-office environments can merge.
The changing nature of work
The lockdown in the first half of this year served as proof that employees could be just as productive when working from home as they are in the office. Businesses have seen first-hand that remote working is a viable option. Not only are team members more efficient, but business leaders save money on office overheads and in-house technology too.
Of course, some components of the office are difficult to replicate in a digital environment. Face-to-face contact, for instance, is only something that can happen in person. However, some tools can help us to mimic those experiences. Video conferencing means colleagues can stay connected and communicate more efficiently in an environment where in-office interactions may not be possible.
For the public sector, having the right tools in place, like video collaboration, could make remote working a more accessible opportunity. With video, for instance, companies can keep communication and information flowing naturally. Employees get the benefit of a better work-life balance. According to the State of Remote Work survey, remote workers are up to 29% happier in their jobs than those operating on-site.
Switching to a new style of work
Remote workers in the public sector can deliver the same productivity and efficiency as in-office employees. With cloud-based tools, team members can complete tasks easily. Tools like RingCentral give you the option to set your team members up with business numbers so they can respond to customer queries and service requests from whichever device they’re using.
As the pandemic persists, the public sector organisations that struggle less will likely be the ones that learn how to remain flexible. Offering remote work as an option at least part of the time will save costs for businesses and improve employee work-life balance.
Because remote work is such an attractive benefit, it could pull more talented employees into the candidate pool. This will be crucial as pressure continues to mount and recession starts to bite.
Moving forward, public sector bodies will need to consider how remote and flexible working policies could allow them to accomplish more with their teams. The age of remote work is here, and there’s no turning back.
Originally published Oct 22, 2020, updated Apr 26, 2021