Coronavirus and business: Opportunity in disaster
Updated: Jun 18
Coronavirus has lit a fire under the homeworking situation for UK businesses.
Working remotely has so many benefits, for workers and businesses alike. And now, in the face of a global pandemic that has disrupted worldwide working patterns, we’re seeing that some of the challenges remote working presents have solutions too.
Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, 5.2% of the UK’s workforce operated mainly from home, while 26.7% had at some point, according to government research released in March 2020.
The following month, figures released by the UK's Office for National Statistics showed 49.2% of adults in employment were working from home.
Countries large and small around the world are in the same boat.
But is this a temporary measure to combat a generational global disaster? Or is this the start of a new normal for workers everywhere?
Tech giants lead the way for homeworkers
“There's just so much we've learnt about Covid and that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that.”
That’s New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaking on a Facebook Live. But it could just as easily have been any number of high-profile business leaders from around the world, many of whom have been effusive in their embracing of flexible working.
Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey has said that employees can work from home “forever” if they wish.
And his counterpart at Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has said he expects half of its workforce to do their jobs outside of offices over the next five to 10 years, as he “aggressively” moves towards remote hiring.
In the East you get much the same picture.
Hitachi Ltd and Mitsubishi Electric Corp have said they will retain half of their staff working from home for the foreseeable future, as reported by Kyodo News.
These are some of the biggest, most innovative companies on the market – and you can bet that thousands more will be making similar preparations without the heft to attract media attention.
No more 9-5, but it was no way to make a living...
Even before the coronavirus crisis, the world was awakening to the benefits of work arrangements outside of living in the office.
Microsoft reported a successful trial of a four-day working week in Japan in 2019, and has also said it will be flexible as it enters the post-Covid landscape.
It’s easy to see why.
Remote working gives businesses unprecedented access to pools of talent from all over the world. Where once a post was open to those within a commutable range or people willing to relocate, now there are no barriers.
Alongside that, if teams and businesses are spread across continents, large city-centre offices will begin to look anachronistic – and expensive.
Ditching these large sites means businesses will get the double-whammy of cutting costs while improving access to talent. Win-win.
And the people they employ could well prove to be happier and more productive too.
With more time spent at home with loved ones, flexible hours, less money spent on lunches on the go and hourly high street coffees, and exercise an option whenever a break from screen time is needed, the welfare of employees could shoot through the roof.
What’s the use of office sleeping pods if you’re working next door to your actual bed?
There are challenges – but we can help
Of course, home and remote working isn’t some kind of business nirvana. There are challenges.
But they can be solved, and we think we know some of the answers.
Communication is going to be key for remote working to be successful. There will be no more popping over for a chat with the manager, no more impromptu spitballing when a solution isn’t immediately evident, no more gossiping by the kettle.
Or at least, that won’t happen in the flesh.
Clickacall provides instant video and voice calls. No training. No downloads. No sign-ups. Just a link, a click and a call.
This will be so important in so many ways.
Call centres can be moved remote, with agents having calls diverted to their phones wherever they may be. Teams can be connected instantly regardless of country, time zone or browser. Meetings can be arranged by simply sending a link in an email, text or social post.
And that’s just the headlines from our Clickacall Convert product. We have so many ideas on how to simplify comms, and we’re making progress bringing them to you every day.
The 2020s will be the decade where remote working becomes the new normal. Instant, simple, effective communication will be the key to making it successful.
Fortunately, that’s why we’re here.