Whether you like it or not, the future will include a more flexible approach to work.
2020 has forced many businesses to adopt a work from home strategy out of necessity and it may be that going forward many companies adopt a hybrid approach to working.
A bit of time in the office. A bit of time at home.
Not everyone will welcome it but that’s possibly more to do with the tools and software they have available to them.
Or lack thereof.
Keeping business going in trying times
At the moment there’s a big focus on business continuity. This is all about finding ways to take your business forward, even when faced with difficult circumstances.
We don’t know exactly when the pandemic will end and it may be that the changes we’ve made, actually stick around beyond that.
Many employees and managers will have seen the benefits of home working and want to incorporate that into their business going forward.
So, if you take that approach, how can you make sure you have what you need to do your work, wherever you are?
We’ve got 4 big tools and their main benefits here.
Unified Comms – All Your Comms In One Place
A big part of keeping your business running is about communication and collaboration. Can you do it, even if everyone’s in a different place?
This is the main appeal of unified comms (UC).
For a long time, business communication has been disjointed. Person to person.
Messages left on post it notes. Calls out of the blue. The snail pace of email.
Unified comms platforms seek to bring it all together, speed up collaboration and improve productivity. They’re becoming increasingly popular and a lot of the big names are becoming well known.
The features in UC software vary from provider to provider but most generally have a mix of messaging, file sharing and video conferencing.
They prioritise Instant Messaging over email as it’s quicker, doesn’t require the formality of email and a conversation can happen in real time. Problems get solved quicker and you break down the usual communication barriers created by email.
Dedicated channels provide group communication for individual teams, keeping everyone in the loop.
File sharing is instantaneous and video and audio can be called upon to add another dimension to collaboration. It all comes out of the same platform so that everyone in the team knows where to look.
VoIP – You’re Not Tied To A Desk Phone
One feature that is sometimes incorporated into UC but can also be used separately is VoIP or Hosted Phone Systems.
We’ve talked about this in other posts but essentially VoIP is a telephony system that takes place over the internet.
You can have physical versions of this system on your desk but it can also be used on any device including your mobile phone.
This is good news for anyone working from home as they can use a work number and keep work calls separate from personal calls. You can even take calls on the move.
This solution is a lot more flexible and as long as you’re connected to the internet you don’t need to worry about call charges. Most VoIP systems run on a small monthly charge per person.
If you want more info about setting up a hosted phone system in your business, let us know.
Cloud Software – Everything Accessible Online
It’s not just phone calls that can be hosted on the cloud.
Now, pretty much everything is on the cloud. The expanding range of cloud software provides businesses with a lot of flexibility and increased productivity.
When you use SaaS (software accessed as a service over the internet) you gain a load of benefits, on top of the fact that you can use this software wherever you are.
Being in browser does have that enviable benefit, meaning you don’t have to have everything you use at work installed on your home device.
There’s also the fact that you’re always using the latest version of that software. Regular updates and patches mean you should have the latest features and bug fixes.
Saves and changes are made in real time which makes a massive difference when collaborating on a piece of work. No email updates needed here; your colleagues will see the changes as you make them.
Classic examples of cloud software include Microsoft 365, which Teams is a part of and Google’s G Suite. Many businesses now make use of these to streamline their entire workflow.
Superfast Broadband – Good Internet At Home
The final thing your employees need to work wherever they are and keep your business moving in uncertain times, is to have good broadband at home.
If there’s one thing that will make working from home difficult, it’s bad internet.
Poor video call quality, slow file downloads and software latency will all get in the way of a smooth transition to working at home or on the move.
High internet speeds are now very accessible with high speed fibre broadband so it’s within reach of most employees.
If you want more info about what internet is best for you, get in touch with us today.
What do you need?
It may be that you already have some of this stuff in place. That’s great!
The truth is each business is going to work differently depending on what they do but there’s no denying that combining a number of these processes and tools will contribute to a more efficient and more productive output.
The best thing to do is to pick a process and stick with it, making sure every employee is comfortable with how they fit into the bigger picture.
However, with any changes, big or small, you need to communicate, in fact, you need to over-communicate, to ensure that your staff knows exactly what is happening and what is expected of them when rolling out new tools or ways of working.
We can help with a number of the things above and help your business run, regardless of where it’s primarily based.