Other companies following suit include Slack, Twitter and Zillow, all of which have announced that employees can work remotely permanently if they choose.
The benefits of remote working include increased productivity, a better work/life balance and not needing to commute. However, working remotely full-time is not suitable, or indeed viable for everyone. A report by our client Cushman and Wakefield stated that: “it is nonsensical to take recent events and extrapolate to a future world where everyone works from home.” and they went on to state that they believe: “the workplace ecosystem of the future is a mix of traditional office spaces, home offices and semi-public spaces.” What we do know is the future of work is likely to become much more distributed, and companies need to identify the right technology that can aid this new style of work that’s here to stay.
The benefits of remote working include increased productivity, a better work/life balance and not needing to commute. However, working remotely full-time is not suitable for everyone. In a survey by Gensler, only 12% of employees surveyed wanted to work from home full-time permanently and 74% said that the people are what they miss most about the office. Undeniably, the face-to-face interactions that we get from being in an office environment cannot be replaced. However, what has changed forever is people’s attitudes to work, with flexibility high on the agenda.
For most companies and their employees, a mix of office-based and remote work will be the most suitable option when it’s safe to return to the office, with an office providing an opportunity for social interaction, training, face-to-face meetings and group sessions. The ‘hub and spoke’ model is anticipated to be a popular choice, with the decentralisation of office space to facilitate a distributed working style. This model is made up of a smaller central office HQ with various regional offices located closer to people’s homes.
So, without further ado, here are some tools that can support this new distributed work style – helping to optimise productivity, satisfaction and engagement in this new era of work.
Plann3r simplifies meetings into a simple and personalised one-pager which holds all of the meeting information you’ll require. You can share the page with colleagues and invite external guests and sync the meeting to your calendar, CRM and other tools. The tool saves time through back-and-forth emailing and copying and pasting meeting information. The meeting page can be shared with prospects, clients and candidates making it easy for them to schedule a meeting – as it also syncs with your calendar’s availability – perfect!
Taskblitz makes it easy to manage your tasks and brings a new level of structure to projects. The tool works collaboratively, so you can assign tasks to colleagues and chat in real-time to get the answers that you need about a specific task. Tasks can be viewed as a calendar visualisation, so you can easily navigate your weekly or monthly workload and you can attach files, discuss details and comment on tasks and projects. Taskblitz can be used to optimise KPIs by creating projects for each, you can then create milestones and control progress. Working remotely has its challenges when it comes to working collaboratively – but this tool definitely makes it simple.
Do you ever find it difficult to find the resources you need whilst scrolling through a drive or server? Slab makes it extremely easy to browse and discover resources and files. Organising via posts, subtopics, activities, and even providing context to further aid in finding exactly what you need. It’s not just another place to search; Slab integrates seamlessly with your other tools including Google Drive, Slack and Dropbox to provide you with the most relevant results all in one place. Taking the strain out of working from home, resources can be assigned to a person, so you know who to ask if you need more information about it and they’re also ranked by relevance by tracking reads, views, links and mentions.
One of the key challenges of working from home is the lack of isolation and the sense of loneliness. District have combatted this by offering a virtual workplace community in the form of an app. Employees can check out the latest company news, browse and join events and connect with their colleagues. Companies can keep their employees in the loop by sending push notifications and employees can get the answers they need through the HR chat feature. Polls can be conducted in the app to get feedback from employees on services or support. It also has a variety of functionalities that support office life too, so it’s an ideal app for supporting a new way of distributed work. It can aid with workplace re-entry and can support teams as they begin to return to offices such as health check-ins and meeting room bookings ensuring that they can return safely. Engagement levels can be tracked through the analytics dashboard so experiences can be constantly monitored and iterated.
One of the issues with working remotely is employees can feel like their hard work is going unnoticed. With Bonusly, you can ensure your team gets the recognition they deserve in an engaging way by rewarding employees with bonus points. Bonuses can be used to buy rewards such as vouchers or your own custom company rewards like lunch with the CEO. Bonuses appear on a social feed helping team members to feel valued and recognised through social recognition, with other team members being able to like and comment on bonuses. Each team member also has a budget of bonuses each month that they can give out to fellow colleagues to recognise them for their work. Making it even easier, Bonusly can integrate with existing communication channels like Slack so employees can give and be given recognition through their usual channels.
One of the issues identified around remote working is the ability to access suitable training and mentoring and the ability to manage remote teams effectively. Sounding Board Inc have identified this issue and have come up with an ingenious solution to ensure that leaders can get the skills they need to drive and measure successful business outcomes. The solution matches leaders with their ideal coach through an algorithm that matches based on cultural fit, functional area, management level, experience and social style. They offer 1:1 executive leadership coaching and group coaching programs for all levels of leadership from new managers up to c-level execs. Their coaching is delivered virtually over a course of sessions and progress can be tracked in real-time through their analytics which collects data through reports, surveys, ratings and journal entries.
Companies that transform digitally will be better equipped to support distributed teams and ultimately deliver better results. Robert Bolton, Head of Global People & Change Center of Excellence, KPMG International, said: “Just as those companies that were furthest in their digital journey adjusted the fastest in response to COVID-19, those that continue with digital transformation and go beyond organizational agility can position their organizations best to face the next event.” So, if you haven’t already, take the time to research and implement new technologies to adjust to this new reality.