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Is flexible working here for the long run?

Discover if flexible, or home working arrangements are here to stay for the long haul… 

Flexible working from home

Nearly two years on from when the government first told those who could to work from home, many of us have continued doing so, even when we were encouraged back to the officer last summer. 

Many employees have found flexible working from home a positive experience, but is it viable long term?

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Who is working from home?

During the summer of 2021, as lockdown restriction began to lift, employees were being encouraged to return to the workplace. 

Despite this, around half of British workers are still working from home at least some of the time, which is up from 37% pre-pandemic.

Many employees and employers have taken a cautious approach towards returning to the commute to a busy office as the uncertainty continued about the path the pandemic would take. 

In December, this caution seemed warranted as a new Covid strain appeared and the government asked those who can to WFH again.

What is it about WFH that people like?

Pre-pandemic, many employers were reluctant to let the majority of their employees work from home on a regular, albeit non-permanent basis, but the pandemic provided an opportunity to test the arguments for and against working from home. 

For many, both employees and employers, the situation has positively proved that a more flexible working arrangement can be made to work. In fact, there seem to be plenty of benefits to flexible working, including:

  • No more commuting
  • Saving money on travel and lunches
  • More flexibility to manage hours
  • Increased productivity, with less distractions and no travel time
  • Better employee retention
  • More time with the family (ok, the jury is still out on this one!)
  • Saving costs on office space
  • Easier to attract new talent from beyond your location’s commuting range
  • Less sickness and sick leave

Many of these benefits added up to a better work-life balance, improving health and wellbeing. 

However, for some these benefits are outweighed by the challenges of working remotely, such as distractions, reduced collaboration and feeling isolated, but it seems as though the appetite for continued flexible working is as strong as was during the height of the pandemic.

Why could flexible working be here to stay?

While 100% home working seems unlikely, a hybrid approach, in which employees divide their time between the home and office, seems a very likely long-term change initiated by the pandemic.

Some major UK firms have already announced plans to introduce hybrid working on a permanent basis, Aviva, Nationwide and KPMG to name a few. 

Even employers encouraging their teams to return to the office are reporting that they aren’t at the same occupancy they were before March 2020 and the Institute of Directors reported in a survey that 80% of business leaders said they would be increasing their use of remote working.

Another hint that flexible working may be here to stay is that adverts for homeworking in May 2021 were three times above their February 2020 average.

85% of people already working from home want to continue with a hybrid approach and, with 79% of business decision-makers and 70% of the general public believing city centres will never see workers return at the same rate as before the pandemic, the world is unlikely to return fully to the old working model.

What does WFH mean for IT support services?

Many business IT support teams have had to do a lot of work to get their businesses where they are today, in managing a temporary shift to flexible working. 

Teams will now have to look at what a permanent transition to hybrid working means for IT infrastructure and processes.

Keeping business systems and data secure will remain a top priority. 

IT teams will need to ensure employee training and reinforce practices that support this, while at the same time incorporating the required changes to reflect the hybrid world. 

Information will also need to be readily available, no matter where employees are working, so security, accessibility and connectivity must underpin whatever new approaches are adopted.

Migration to the Cloud, information access, strict security protocols, VPN and ensuring that employees don’t create their own shadow IT systems all feature in IT planning for a flexible future. 

They must also ensure that their own staff can adjust to new ways of working, communication remains effective and IT issues continue to be resolved quickly.

Outsourcing IT support for remote working?

Where companies don’t have the capability or capacity for in-house teams to transition and support a permanent move to flexible working, finding the right external IT support services partner will be essential. 

The nature of outsourced IT means remote working is often hard-baked into their way of operating. 

Not only can they offer expert knowledge and experience in what it is to manage IT services remotely, it’s also an opportunity to enhance your existing team and begin building a brave, new and flexible, world.

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Team Productivity:
You and your team are able to see where they are using there time and how productive they are actually being.  Also they are able to clock in and out, so really good for flexi-working.

Team Monitoring:
If you would like to know what your team are doing and how productive they are being, we are able to monitor them and create screen shots of what they are working on.  This can be run in normal or stealth mode.

Book a FREE fact finding session to discuss the different options.

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Because of our engagement with this charity, we can directly track the impact Syn-Star has on the lives of many. Every new client allows us to provide a new donation to this cause.

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Desk phones, cordless phones or conference phones, Syn-Star can provide you with whatever you need. 

From conference calling facilities to the headsets which work best for your team. We’re able to provide all the equipment you need and complete any telecoms job from start to finish.

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There is no need to be in the office to make and receive phone calls from your companies number. Our market-leading Telecoms platform gives you the flexibility of desk phones, soft phones and mobile apps as standard.

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With a range of products, our team can support you by installing exactly what you need for internet connectivity. We work with the very best products to provide speedy bandwidths which play a part in the increased productivity of your team.