Remote working or back to the office?

At Dr Logic, alongside many other businesses, we became a fully remote workforce overnight in early 2020 – running IT Helpdesks, meeting with our clients and even doing virtual site visits from our homes.

As we moved into 2021, the success of our fully remote workforce led us to downsize from our large bespoke offices. The improvements in work-life balance, reduced office costs, positive environmental considerations, and no real downsides reported by our clients meant this model could be an option for us going forward.

So today we’re asking the big question on everyone’s minds right now – should we continue remote working or head back to the office?

What does the future hold for office working?

There’s no doubt that the future of office work is changing. With solid remote working solutions in place and flexibility at the forefront of people’s minds, the options for office or at home working are growing.

While lockdown forced many companies into a position where 100% of staff were working remotely, we envisage a future that is truly flexible. This might mean a combination of office working, home working, and shared office spaces, as well as a mix-up from the normal nine to five.

Everyone works differently and has different home life challenges, so putting the choice in the hands of your employees will start to shape the future of the office.

If nothing else, the environmental benefits of remote work are likely to have an impact on the future of the office. With less commuting traffic and fewer big offices to run, remote work can result in reduced emissions, power consumption and even paper and plastic usage.

As environmental issues become more and more prevalent as the years go on, we can see this being an extremely important consideration for all businesses.

Building your own ‘new normal’

Finding the balance between keeping your team happy and ensuring productivity remains high and will be the ultimate challenge in order for businesses to be successful.

A big trend for technology this year is that there isn’t going to be a ‘normal’. Instead, it will be important to figure out what ‘normal’ means to you and your company going forward, and this will include learning how to manage a hybrid workplace, with people working both remotely and on site.

When thinking about the hybrid workplace model, it isn’t always as straightforward as giving all team members a laptop and letting them work more flexibly. Decision makers need to be thinking about how IT affects everyone – and a few questions recently posed by cloud directory platform, jumpcloud, include:
● Do employees work from shared desks they reserve, and what equipment is necessary to support a variety of devices that may need that space?
● Does the company pay for internet at employees’ homes to ensure adequate bandwidth for online collaboration; and if so, does that reimbursement change with how often they are in the office?

Remote working lessons for managers and reliable technical set ups will play a key part in creating the right environments for your staff to work from. Making sure your staff have the right equipment for remote working, as well as useful communication tools and behaviours will be a good start.

The pros and cons of remote working

When deciding what’s best for your company, it’s always worth weighing up the pros and cons. There are many arguments on both sides for remote working, such as:

The upsides
● Talent fishing – you’ll have greater access to talent with the ability to recruit from a much wider pool of candidates.
● Flexibility – the more capable and independent an employee is, the more they will appreciate having a flexible approach to their working day.
● Productivity – remote working can increase productivity, especially if previously the business premises were busy, noisy and distracting.
● Opportunity for smarter tech – the IT Support you put in place for your company has always been important but with geographically spread teams it’s now critical to get this right. So use this change of operating model as an opportunity to upgrade, upskill and speed up.

The downsides
● Distance – remote working teams can sometimes feel distanced from the office based teams, losing out on fun projects and socialising opportunities.
● Virtual recruitment – for all its benefits, the virtual recruitment process isn’t perfect yet. As humans, we take cues from body language and make intuitive decisions which can’t always be portrayed accurately online.
● Cyber security – an important technology trend this year is an increased focus on cyber security risks. You may have sent your staff home to work remotely before you had the chance to migrate your teams from their office based desktops to laptops. The “bring your own device” model provided a short term fix but has “compromised security” written all over it.

Overcoming the home working challenges

While the upsides are great, we know that working from home doesn’t come without its challenges. But the remote working issues most commonly experienced such as communication, cyber security and virtual recruitment, can all be overcome with the correct remote working tools, software and training.

Outsourcing your IT with a company like Dr Logic helps to ensure your staff have all the tools or data they need from wherever they are working. For example, we can integrate Cloud storage and password saving tools to your IT systems ensuring your employees can access their work instantly.

Communication tools are extremely important to help your team work as a team, especially when they’re not in the same building. Make sure you install the best video call, instant messaging and project management equipment and software so you can overcome any distance barriers.

IT Partnership

Supporting employees with the transition

Finally, one of the most important things when transitioning into the new normal for companies is supporting your employees.

Phasing into your new remote working setup will involve a lot of open communication, keeping your team in the loop and potentially even investing in equipment development and new hardware.

Another big trend for 2021 will be an increase in technology training for staff. While traditionally staff have been left to their own devices with their tech, as things change rapidly it’s going to be more important than ever that your employees are up to speed with the technology they rely on. Proper training will be essential.

Some of your staff may be excited about continuing with remote working and the new IT development that it entails, while others may be quite anxious. Knowing how to manage high anxiety employees will be imperative to ensuring the transition is as effortless as can be.

At Dr Logic, we’re excited about the prospect of a fully remote working model. We’ll still encourage face-to-face meetings with clients now and again, and it goes without saying that we’ll be attending the client’s premises for any fixes or maintenance.

So, ultimately, we’ll let our clients decide how they want to engage with us.

Whether you’re considering a fully-remote operation like us, or you’re bringing everyone back to the office – you need to make sure your IT systems are fully equipped to accommodate the future of working. Get in touch for a consultation with our experts.

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