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Remote Working is SImple!

Remote working is a subject that has quickly bubbled to the surface given the current climate, and there is no escaping the fact there are obvious tangible benefits for employee health, wellbeing, and work/life balance plus a major boost to employee productivity… and it reduces business costs too.

So, ‘Remote Working’, what does it really mean?

Avoid the commute (or sick bug going round the office!), save time, work in your PJs… answer emails from a hammock. Sounds blissful doesn’t it?

Simply put, a remote working job is one that can be done away from an office in a remote location, such as one of the snug corners of your home, a coffee shop, a customer site, a tree-house perhaps… The work you do can be performed in a co-working space, home office or even whilst on the road.

To perform remote jobs, employees need to have access to lots of tools such as phone, internet, email, video calling, CRM, documents and so on. This is the stumbling block for many – sure this can be achieved using a VPN into your office, but it’s slow and a bit flakey really, and it doesn’t give real-time presence views. Simply put; it’s a bit 2005.  What you really need is a cloud based infrastructure and a set of cloud based collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and SharePoint. It’s all Microsoft based so it’s friendly and familiar, and easy to use. You can EASILY collaborate on docs at the same time as colleagues (co-authoring) you can video call with pure simplicity (you can even blur your background if the inside of your car needs a clean), and lots, lots more.

The good news is that today, remote jobs can be found in almost any career field or industry. As with any job though you need the right tools to be able work effectively, be that remotely or otherwise

A global survey carried out by Ernst & Young with workers from different generations found that, especially for so-called millennials (globally, the dominant generation in work), flexible working is extremely important. As the following chart shows, having a boss who doesn’t let you work flexibly is among the top five reasons millennials would leave a company:

Leading reasons full-time workers quit

So it is clear that the ability to work remotely and with increased flexibility is absolutely key with today’s workforce – to support that need you must provide the tools to enable people to do their job effectively, with no excuse of “being out of the office” – quite simply that doesn’t and shouldn’t matter these days – that means you, as a leader, need to find peace with the fact your team members don’t all need to be sat in front of you to be productive. Trust them.

Today there is a wider range of remote collaboration tools than ever before, allowing a far wider range of employees and job types to work flexibly. For instance, where once you might have only been able to offer flexible working to knowledge workers – via a VPN with access to SharePoint from their home office – you can now provide maintenance people visiting a site with cloud access to a CRM to log their completed jobs or a cloud based Intranet to obtain key documents on the move as well as enabling them to self-serve where needed. Essentially, the massive growth in cloud technologies in recent years has made it far easier to provide tools and apps for all kinds of remote workers.

Let’s have a look at just a couple of the options that remote collaboration tools now allow:

  • Office 365Provide anytime, anywhere access to a huge range of essential productivity apps, Office 365 can offer flexible workers with a hub for almost any activity. Office 365 is accessed in the cloud, meaning employees can access it from anywhere they want on any device.
  • OneDrive replaces the antiquated “My Documents” allowing employees to access and work on their documents wherever and whenever.  Imagine how much more loyal an employee would feel if they could work collaboratively on a Word document at home but be able to pop out at 3pm and pick the kids up from school before returning to the document. Despite the short pause in productivity, they’d be far less likely to think “I need to quit this job and find something that lets me spend more time with my children”.
  • Cloud based CRM By providing remote workers with access to the company CRM from wherever they are, you significantly open up potential for improving customer service. Employees can log completed jobs, interactions with clients and feed in details to the system in real time.  Imagine the increase in productivity if employees could log new leads to your CRM direct from their tablets. Picture an employee at a trade show who can immediately enter a potential lead’s details into the system – rather than carrying around a very losable business card for a few days.
  • Cloud based Company Intranet Enables everywhere, anytime access to your company’s central hub… a place where people, meet, share and collaborate and get things done, together.  Imagine your employees being able to access all of the key information they need, get the latest updates and provide them with a wealth of self-service options – wherever and whenever they need it.
  • Immediate collaboration and communication tools Office 365 now includes Teams in all their plans (even offering a free version with 6-month trial (correct 6th March 2020), meaning remote, home and flexible workers can always be in touch with what’s going on in the office, display their availability and use Skype’s instant messenger feature to have quick chats. Yammer gives users the medium to get the latest updates and works incredibly well for geographically dispersed organisations who require a central hub to communicate.  A common fear of home working is that employees will feel totally out of the loop and not be able to easily collaborate with their peers – With Teams the instant messaging, video calling and screen sharing and the ability to easily organise calls or online meetings allows them to keep in constant contact with colleagues.

Remote collaboration tools that fit around youFlexible With flexible working becoming ever more popular among employees, companies that can offer this option with remote collaboration tools will be a much more desirable proposition.  At ISAAC, we have expertise creating and helping small and medium sized businesses building the cloud based environments that they need, including Microsoft Teams configuration, best-practice and Training. We have a range of instantly deployed, easy-to-use apps which fit around you and the way your business works, all accessible remotely via the cloud. To learn more about our approach or discuss the cloud based environment you want to build, get in touch with us today!

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