Back in April almost half of UK adults found themselves suddenly working from home. An unprecedented situation for most, the shift to mass remote working wasn’t the easiest of transitions. While few envisaged the situation continuing for a prolonged period, it’s now the end of October and we’ve been advised to resume WFH wherever possible until further notice.
According to the most recent stats, a quarter of us are once again working exclusively from home but, with hasty solutions in place, do employees have the tools they need to work effectively long term?
Over the last seven months, many employees have been required to work from spare rooms and kitchen tables, juggling childcare and trying to overcome the challenges of operating a business through a pandemic. Amongst businesses that had more staff then usual WFH, almost a a quarter reported seeing a decrease in productivity.
However, it may not be distractions and lack of motivation to blame. In the urgency to facilitate remote working on the scale required, employees have reported a failure to be supplied with sufficient tools and equipment. 37% of IT leaders say that staff weren’t provided with the right tools to be able to carry out their jobs effectively when the transition to remote working was first made.
Employee productivity is not the only factor at risk. The hasty transition has also raised security and compliance issues for many businesses – 41% have admitted the remote working systems they’ve put in place may be in breach of data privacy regulations. With most sectors negatively affected by the pandemic, a compliance fine is the last thing many can afford right now.
Security threats have been ever present over the last seven months too, as hackers tried to take advantage of the surge in home workers who may not have been taking the right steps to protect their networks.
Almost one in five workers have had to switch devices to allow them to work from home, with laptop use soaring by 70% as desktops got left behind in the office. Without access to their usual devices, day-to-day tasks that rely on anything other than cloud-based applications have been compromised. 84% of remote workers say they lost access to applications at least once a week, with 11% experiencing this blocker daily.
On average, an organisation of around 100 people relies on 100-200 applications to run the business – for larger enterprises of 100,000 people this can be as many as 1,500 to 3,000 critical apps. Facilitating secure, reliable access to these is the most effective way to ensure employee productivity remains high while staff WFH.
Communication and collaboration also take a hit when teams are forced to work apart. Without the right tools in place employees can feel isolated and unable to carry out their duties effectively. In fact, 62% of remote workers during the pandemic have reported that they would like their employer to provide better technology to help them stay connected to their colleagues.
Despite 25% of employers reporting a drop in productivity, 63% of the global workforce feel they’re more productive when they work from home. And, overwhelmingly, it does seem that remote working works. Research has shown that not only is productivity increased, but absenteeism is down by 40%, staff retention levels are better, and businesses are saving money from lower overheads.
It’s no surprise then that almost a fifth of UK businesses intend to implement permanent remote working following the pandemic. Most of the businesses that report no intention to allow for remote working in the future cite incompatibility with their business model – although 10% thought WFH prevented efficient communication. With the right tools and processes in place, however, this challenge could be overcome.
While remote working has been a bumpy road for many, the potential is plain to see. With WFH set to continue for the foreseeable, now is the time to assess your remote working strategy and solution.
Explore our remote working products to find a solution that works for your business.