August 23, 2021
Working from home is not a “one size fits all” situation.
As the pandemic forced new workplace configurations, employers and employees alike have learned the benefits and hindrances of using just one structure.
The general consensus is a hybrid or combination of workspaces and models allows workers at different stages of life and career their most productive choices.
While flexible home working is a good thing with many perks, it is most successful for high earners and middle-aged homeowners with well-tended gardens and more spacious homes for quiet office space.
Technology industry companies and employees also seem to embrace work-from-home (WFH) very readily. The Economist reports that before the pandemic, around 35% of job listings on a popular computer programmer website mentioned remote working options, almost double the number from 5 years before. Today a whopping 77% of job postings mention remote working options.
These folks, in part, are boosting productivity in the U.S. economy by up to 5%. They’re saving commuting time and costs, meal and wardrobe costs, and actually devoting more time to work in many cases.
The Drawbacks for Some
But hazards that work from home can mean for younger workers cannot be overlooked.
The remote knowledge worker experience varies greatly depending on age, gender, education, skill set, experience, home space and geographic location. Technology solutions have made mobility easier, but it has created a new set of challenges.
Reflecting on my career, being in the office in the early stages was vital to learn the ropes from more experienced colleagues as well as participate in ad hoc meetings, network, and of course socialize. I learned the unwritten codes of work that stand me in good stead now.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that over the last 18 months 48% of 18-34 years old have felt isolated or undervalued. The Beamery Talent Index found that bad leadership, poor employee support and stagnant growth opportunities during the pandemic is driving enormous employee churn in the UK workplace.
Among its findings, 74% of respondents felt that WFH has hindered personal development and progression in the workplace; 27% believe they have regressed rather than progressed in their role due to WFH and the pandemic; and 84% are keen to return to the office or have the option of a physical office ready to return to.
Only 13% of 18-34-year-olds enjoy WFH and want to get rid of office work. I believe it's important for organizations to quickly recognize this, and not mandate a sole WFH policy or indeed have ghost town offices where nothing really happens.
The Flexibility of Hybrid
As leaders within our businesses, we need to help upskill younger people, not just in the hard skills of the job but also have plans to help them fulfill their potential.
We need to start thinking of working in a hybrid way. It gives those who want to work from home the opportunity to do so, and employees who require ongoing support and experience the time to mix with other more experienced workers.
There is a lot of planning required and adjustment of systems and services for the hybrid model to achieve its best potential, but the rewards and subsequent productivity increases are fantastic in the long term.
The Communication Key
The key is seamless communication between everyone with everyone’s easiest chosen device: the mobile phone.
It's now possible to expand a company's communications footprint to include deskless workers and work-from-home employees with business-class quality while keeping things simple.
Using next-generation Fixed-Mobile Convergence technology, Mobile-X creates full-featured Mobile Unified Communications and does so without requiring any special apps or phone clients. It makes business communications features usable via the phone’s native interface and eliminates the hassles and poor user experience around legacy mobile UC apps.
The employee can be armed with any mobile phone that supports a SIM card, even their own personal phone. The SIM ensures the device is always integrated with the corporate communications system, so the employee is consistently reachable with high quality communications.
Employees can even operate features like call forwarding and holding directly from their mobile phones' native interfaces, and IT can control compliance recording and monitoring of both calls and texts. It’s just like employees are carrying landline desk phones in their mobile phones.
These benefits are why the Mobile-X service is becoming the communications solution of choice for companies seeking to maximize productivity of workers at home, in the office or anywhere they happen to be.
That includes programs for remote working, telecommuting and business continuity, as well as deskless workers, employees in hybrid work environments, and especially workers on the go with mobile jobs like service technicians or traveling sales personnel.
Mobile-X actually is one size fits all when it comes to supporting a distributed workforce, what we call “Work-from-Anywhere.” Working from home has benefits. Working from the office has benefits. Businesses using Mobile-X can make it all work seamlessly regardless of where employees are getting stuff done.