08 Sep Coronavirus lockdown looks set to tip the scales in favour of the work/home balance
One of the best things about our industry is it gives us a real insight into how the world of work is evolving, through the demands of our clients.
Before this year, our order book showed us that staff coming into the office on their daily commute and sitting at a desk was still set to be the norm for the vast majority of companies. This meant their IT needs were, by and large, focussed on the technology being consumed on their premises.
Relatively few companies – despite us waxing lyrical about the technology available for remote working and the advantages of flexible working saw this as a serious alternative to the 9 to 5 commuting model.
For them, as for most people, coming in and logging on was the norm.
The coronavirus lockdown changed all this in an instant.
It’s now it’s safe to say there is no turning back.
Britain has officially, forced by the lockdown, had a taste-test of working at home en masse – and it likes the flavour.
We know this because we have had a considerable increase in interest in implementing the remote working solutions that we supply, working with Citrix, Microsoft and Dell Technologies, to deliver a digital workspace which allows staff to securely work from anywhere, on any device and any network.
But here at Axess Systems we too have embraced the benefits.
As creatures of habit, and despite the technology at our fingertips, we had a work culture that followed the tried-and-tested traditional model of requiring the majority of the team to come to the office and work.
There were exceptions to this, but in the main, this was how we did business. Now, five months after lockdown, we’ve adapted to the new norm. We’re reaping the benefits of providing flexibility and are making plans to make remote and flexible working part of the package that we offer current and new employees.
That is not to say that we would ever want people to work at home and never come into the office. Personally, I feel people need to come in for reasons of team-building, creativity and innovation.
Online meetings have many advantages, but they sorely lack when it comes to the subtle interpersonal stuff that colleagues need. They only reward those who talk the loudest – so less confident and talkative colleagues don’t get a chance to contribute – and you don’t get the non-verbal body language cues that people used to communicate around a table.
Every member of the Axess Systems team will always have a desk in the office, but remote working means we can become better employers and can cast our net wider for new staff.
Just this month we have taken on two new talented members of staff who do not live in the immediate area and who would not be in the job very long if they had to commute to us every day.
They will be able to come into the office on some days and work at home on others. It also means that we can recruit different people – such as working mothers who do not have the robust childcare arrangements in place to free them for a full working day sandwiched by the morning and evening commute.
This gives us options, and the technology makes it desirable and this possible – which is just what we were telling clients, even if, until the lockdown, even we didn’t quite know just how much ourselves.