While remote working has been talked about for many a year, the forced changes brought about this year has shown that this is not just a vision, but an actual possibility across several industry sectors. At a recent conference in New York, Bill Gates said he envisioned a future where over 50% of business travel and over 30% of days spent in the office would go away, with organisations rather turning to digital communication and collaboration tools to save costs and improve efficiency.

While many companies are taking a hybrid approach, or requiring employees to come into the office on certain days, some digital companies like Twitter have told their employees they can continue working remotely for as long as they want.

Reinventing the traditional office

More than just the employees, these changes also have implications for their employers. If staff are allowed to work remotely for a high portion of the time, an organisation will be able to reduce its expenses by cutting down on office space to better suit requirements, and introducing concepts such as hotdesking.

Organisations will also be able to save on other costs associated with running a physical office, such as parking bays, energy costs, and consumables, while also bringing down spending on travel costs, be it for fuel, flights, or accommodation.

For companies that have been impacted by the various restrictions and social distancing guidelines – or even just those looking to move beyond their legacy systems – this is an opportune moment to kickstart their Digital Transformation journey by shifting to the cloud and taking advantage of the benefits this brings. This also helps organisations shift away from capital expenditure toward a consumption-based model, which gives them the flexibility to scale up or down in accordance with their requirements.

Turning to a unified communications (UC) solution, which integrates voice, video and chat into a single platform, makes for an ideal entry point into the cloud, as it helps generate significant cost savings when compared to traditional on premise solutions. Other benefits of UC include:

  • Integrating real-time communications (such as instant messaging) with non-real-time channels (such as email)
  • Allowing customers, suppliers and all stakeholder to communicate with the  medium of their choice
  • Eliminating premises based equipment costs, line rental charges and maintenance costs
  • Giving the most competitive call rates, allowing for free inter branch calls and further zero rate call costs with the Telviva on-net community of over 50,000 users.; and
  • Standardising, simplifying and streamlining communications infrastructure

Creating a professional home office environment

By turning to the cloud, organisations can unify their communication and collaboration, integrate their CRM systems in order to enhance customer engagement, use cloud services from major providers (via APIs) to power big data analytics, and more. It also means that employees can access the tools and data they need from any device at any time.

This is critical; as workers spend more of their professional time working remotely (whether from home or at a coffee shop) or while on the move, organisations still need to ensure that there is a consistent quality of service being provided so that employees can maintain and even enhance their productivity.

Just as an organisation has measures in place to ensure quality of delivery when physically servicing a client or customer, similar measures have to be put in place when it comes to remote working, especially when it comes to video conferencing. Do you want dogs barking, loud passing traffic and construction work from your neighbour to be the background score to your presentation? Is it acceptable to have blurry images or video at a significant meeting?

Factors that come into play here include connectivity, camera and sound equipment, location, lighting, more. There is a cost to doing all of this; however, just as there is a standard that is set for business being conducted through physical interactions, companies will need to determine the requirements, and set the bar when it comes to remote working and virtual interactions too.