With home working now the norm for many, 2020 has presented numerous challenges for businesses when it comes to remote communications.
An office space full of employees will seem like a distant memory for many businesses. In fact, a recent McKinsey report found that across all sectors, 15% of executives surveyed during the pandemic said at least one-tenth of their employees could work remotely two or more days per week going forward. This figure varies by country, with 20% of executives surveyed in the UK and Germany stating that at least one-tenth of their employees could work remotely two or more days a week going forward.
While many people assumed business would return to normal when schools reopened in September, rising COVID-19 cases mean the UK is now facing further home working and local lockdowns. It goes without saying that some of the short-term workarounds initially put in place aren’t viable long-term. Businesses must therefore consider more robust, reliable technology to support their remote workers and remain competitive.
While your organisation may have incorporated some innovative remote team communication strategies over the last few months, there’s always room for improvement.
Although there are plenty of benefits to remote working, such as greater productivity and a stronger work-life balance among employees, there are three key challenges which businesses must address to support strong business communications remotely.
Read on to discover the top three remote working challenges we’ve found our customers are facing, as well as how we’ve helped them overcome these.
The best ways to communicate with remote employees:
1. Bring collaboration and telephony to the home office
In a regular office environment, most employees will be used to having a phone on their desk and the ability to transfer and record calls as needed. However, not everybody has the same home office setup when it comes to their telephony.
While some employees will have taken their work phone and other hardware home, others will be purely relying on their mobile devices or home telephones — blurring the lines between work and play. Unsurprisingly, not every employee will be comfortable with this.
With employees relying on different telephony solutions, inefficiencies will naturally occur when it comes to both internal and external communications. Calls are likely to be missed, transfers may fail, and communication with colleagues and customers may break down.
For industries such as the financial services sector, call recording is mandatory and this was no doubt in place for the office. With staff now having to work from home, calls made via Microsoft Teams or mobiles aren’t necessarily being recorded, which could lead to compliance issues.
Organisations with contact centres are also facing challenges when it comes to agents working remotely. This includes an inability to manage staff face-to-face and reduced visibility of call statistics — making it especially difficult for contact centre managers to monitor agent activity off-site.
Bringing consistent communications capabilities to your workforce through a combination of unified communications, cloud telephony or integrating desktop applications such as Microsoft Teams with business telephony solutions will enable employees to make and receive calls wherever they are. As a result, your business can enjoy the benefits of flexible working without compromising on service and efficiency.
2. Strengthen data protection, compliance and security
Security is another key issue your business might be facing in the age of remote working. Put simply, how employees are accessing company data has changed. Confidential data is no longer confined to the office on a reliable network in a specified location.
If data isn’t accessed in a secure way, on a secure network, your company data could be at risk. You could even be at risk of breaching GDPR regulations if employees aren’t careful.
Establishing a robust enterprise-grade security solution and deploying it across the cloud is therefore key. To help your employees stay secure wherever they are on any device, you need a dedicated cloud solution. This will enable you to apply security measures across all employee devices.
3. Maximise connectivity across busy family homes
In a professional office setting, connectivity was rarely an issue, with bandwidth pre-defined based on your company’s unique requirements. Then along came remote working en-masse, and suddenly employees are competing for bandwidth with partners and children in the family home.
In short, if an employee’s internet goes down, they’re unable to work — disrupting internal and external communications and harming productivity. To combat this, your business should be looking to invest in mobile backup and 4G options to help keep employees connected anywhere, anytime.
Is your business ready for a post-pandemic world?
Discover how we at Opus can support your business to prepare for life after the pandemic and how you can begin to prepare your communications estate today.