By Ian Bevington
More than a decade ago, when unified communications was relatively new, I’d talk about the relationship between flexible working and business continuity. The ability to work at home and collaborate over the web can help organizations with a wide variety of threats from denial of access to the workplace and freak weather through to pandemic. Back then, the threat from Avian Flu had ebbed away to be replaced by post credit crunch budget cuts. The story was well received by larger publicly listed organizations who have an obligation to manage risk on behalf of their shareholders. I know of one London-based FinServ firm that instructed key staff to only use their newly installed home working phones in the case of an emergency.
The past few weeks has shone a light on organizations ill-prepared for a sudden switch to homeworking in public and private sectors. So, what have we learnt and what are the long-term implications?
1. Laptop computers are essential for most work at home employees. With more and more cloud-based business applications, the need for a powerful desktop computer in the office is increasingly rare. Whilst many tech companies are on the ball, others are playing catch-up, especially where roles which we never believed could be done from home now need to be.
2. Our love affair with desktop phones may be at an end. Over the past few weeks, more of us have had to get to grips with softphones and voice enabled applications like Slack. Cloud based communication services, like LogMeIn’s excellent ‘GoTo’ product range, have become essential, helping us to stay in touch with suppliers, customers and colleagues, regardless of location.
3. After years of being ‘the next big thing’, video is the new normal. Forget dress-down Fridays: we accept the ‘WAH look’ – sweatpants, pets, hideous wallpaper - with the understanding that what we achieve is more important than the hours we work and how we dress.
4. A whole new group of workers have discovered they can work more efficiently at home. Those who travelled to see suppliers or customers have found a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to do business. For many, the experience will change the way we work forever.
5. Schools and colleges that embraced learning environments like Google Classroom have successfully embraced distance learning. Sorry kids, snow days may become a thing of the past.
How Can Oak Help?
Managing a highly distributed team comes with its own challenges. Oak are committed to helping businesses communicate better by providing innovative communication management tools to help manage the quality of conversations, uphold service levels, protect reputation and make better use of people and technology. Oak are a provider of call recording, analytics and integration applications, focused on making life easier and improving customer experience.