How Will COVID Change The Workplace?

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For some smaller firms, working remotely is nothing new and most have comfortably transitioned to full time online collaboration. For others, this is a whole new world! It cannot be denied that this period will have a lasting impact on the workplace and we believe this impact will be ultimately positive. We’ve jotted down a few notes on where we feel the most will change.

  1. Flexibility

With many companies being forced to rapidly implement procedures so that their employees can work from home, this comes with more challenges than just slow wifi.

Video calls or phone calls are the new normal, reducing travel time and in theory, increasing productivity. However, at home we have children, relatives to take care of, dogs to walk etc. etc. Across the workplace, life and work need to become collaborative to ensure the maximum performance of your staff. What better way to practice an increase in flexibility than now.

This acceptance of flexibility will promote trust (more on that later) and will improve the productivity and happiness of your team.

  1. Health and wellbeing

With more people working from home and therefore not having a daily commute, your employees are wealthy with time and hopefully, will start to build some new, positive habits that should not be wasted. Lunch-time bike rides, long dog walks and even the early-morning run are now accessible with no easy excuses ("that commute home was awful, I'm too tired to exercise now")

When work returns to “normal” this may become more of a priority to people’s lives and that needs to be encouraged. Enable flexibility to promote health & wellbeing habits throughout your team and reap the rewards of a happy, healthy workforce.

This atmosphere will result in your team being able to weather this storm more than companies which resist the change.  

  1. Efficiency & meeting miles

The acceptance and adoption of video conferencing has been significantly accelerated by this crisis. We believe Face to face meetings are far better than teleconference calls, they are less of a chore and feel far more personable. Our use of Microsoft Teams and Zoom has increased across our team and we love the ability to host video calls at the tap of a button.

A positive from this time will be a decrease in long-travel for short meetings. We still believe traditional face to face relationship building will always have its place, but for short, practical meetings, video-conferencing should take over.

This will save time and also reduce the carbon impact of constant travel.  

  1. Security

Going forward the requirement for robust data security will increase significantly and the opportunity for further cyber security tools will emerge (we are keeping an eye on this). Businesses are likely to take more precautions to protect their data and we are likely to see a rise in start-ups which can provide this security. With phishing attacks becoming more prevalent, as the value of data increases as more companies move online.  

We predict that more software specifically designed to connect people remotely will be developed and made available, causing the main players in the market to constantly improve and develop their market offering to compete.

Large business is starting to appreciate that the modern world does not need an office as much as we did 20 years ago. We are not wired in to a server in the corner of the room, we have all our files in the cloud and we do not print every document we receive. A mass adoption of remote working has never occurred due to security concerns of major corporates and that is still valid, employers need to be aware of data leakage and data usage. I recommend this article if you'd like to read more;

Ultimately the physical office isn’t going anywhere but businesses will work more efficiently by reducing incremental inefficiencies and reducing the amount of travel time, therefore freeing up more time to implement meeting action points. It will also force larger organisations which find it harder to implement new technology rapidly become more flexible and hopefully embrace the technology. It can take a big unexpected change to force habits to change with outcomes improving previous processed which haven’t changed because they didn’t need to.

  1. Trust  

When a traditional office-based business transition to remote work, accountability becomes a completely different beast. How can a remote manager know their people are working? How can remote employees prove their value?  

By fostering a new form of trust, traditional office based companies can thrive way beyond the current lockdown working policy.  

One of our key policies at Acceleris is full transparency and collaboration within our team. This is assisted with the use of Microsoft Teams that has enables us to work remotely on the same document, share notes and share one large to do list with assigned actions. We use the chat functionality to dump our thoughts, relevant to certain projects we are working on.  

By keeping all of our discussions in public channels, a culture of trust, honesty and teamwork naturally follows.  

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