How Remote Working Has Changed The Business Landscape Forever
Since 2020, we’ve all seen a huge increase in the number of businesses choosing to work remotely or adopt a hybrid working system. Now, many big businesses are leading the way regarding remote working and flexible working. Whilst this has mainly been triggered by the COVID19 pandemic, in which many businesses were forced to close their office doors and start working from home, it looks like remote working will now be here to stay, as many enterprises recognise the benefits it can bring to their business and the welfare of their employees.
Here at alldayPA, we’ve helped over 24,000 clients since 1999 with our telephone answering services, virtual receptionists and Outsourced Call Centre package, all of which are ideal solutions for any business that would benefit from outsourcing their customer interactions. We’ve also been passionate about helping businesses that are working remotely. No matter where you are, we can help your company to thrive! Whether your business has moved to a hybrid working model or you’re working remotely at all times, let us take care of your customer interactions and help you to grow! To get in touch with our friendly team who will offer more information and answer all of your questions, call us on 0345 056 8888.
Why remote working has been introduced in many businesses
Before looking at how remote working has changed the business landscape, it’s important to understand why remote working has been introduced in many businesses in the first place. Here are just a few reasons as to why remote working has been introduced, and why it might be here to stay…
The impact of COVID19 & lockdown restrictions
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, many business owners were forced to close their office doors and their employees had to adapt to working from home. This was in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus amongst the population and bring transmission rates down. It also removed the need for employees to travel to work and use public transport, which could also play a part in the transmission of the virus.
Many set up home offices with IT and equipment from their employer, to ensure that they could carry out the job to the same standard from home. Many employees, who were also parents, were also forced to juggle working full-time with homeschooling, as schools were often forced to close for long periods of time. These additional needs during the pandemic taught many businesses the importance of flexibility and support, which is a lesson that they’re sure to carry forward!
To save money
Whilst the pandemic has been the main driving force behind the move to remote working, there are other reasons as to why businesses introduced remote working before the pandemic, and why others are considering adopting this way of working permanently in the future. One of the key reasons is to save money.
The amount of money saved will differ from business to business, but usually the saving is down to two main factors. Firstly, businesses don’t need as much office space when their employees are working remotely or in line with a hybrid working policy. As such, many businesses have downsized or sold their office space to save the money that was previously spent on rent and other costs that come with running an office.
Secondly, thanks to video chats, businesses soon realised that employees didn’t always have to travel to meetings. This usually came at a high cost if accommodation was included, or if employees had to travel abroad. Working from home has demonstrated to many businesses that meetings can be just as productive via video conferencing, removing the need to travel.
For many people, working from home has resulted in a boost in productivity. When you’re in the office, it’s tempting to catch up with your colleagues in the kitchen about what you got up to at the weekend, or you might find yourself wandering over to another desk to have a chat about what you’re having to eat that night. Of course, chatting to your colleagues to build those personal connections is important, but a two-minute chat can turn into ten minutes, and before you know it you’ve been having a natter by the water cooler for around half an hour!
Working from home can remove all these distractions, and studies have found that a shift to remote working hasn’t had any negative impact on productivity. Many employers have realised that the job gets done just as well at home, which is one of the reasons why remote working may be here to stay within some organisations.
To benefit the mental health of employees
Whilst remote working has affected some people’s mental health, for most, it has had a positive impact on their wellbeing. By cutting out stressful commutes and spending more time at home with the kids, many employees have reaped the mental health benefits that come with remote working or a hybrid working structure. This is especially true for companies that have introduced flexible working arrangements too, where employees can adjust their hours if required, to fit around their personal lives. Even for those that initially struggled with working from home and felt isolated, many organisations now offer support to combat isolation and help employees to thrive whilst working from home.
Industries that have been affected…
Industries that have embraced remote working
During the pandemic and beyond, many industries have embraced remote working. Of course, employers working from home must have the ability to do their job from anywhere, and to the same standard as they would in the workplace. Many businesses have facilitated remote working though, providing their staff with the equipment and the resources they need.
That’s particularly true for IT professionals and those that work in app development – with the right equipment, most of these roles can be carried out remotely. Another sector that’s embraced remote working is marketing and advertising. Again, many of these roles can be carried out to full potential at home, using just a laptop!
Many big companies are leading the way with this approach – Buffer, a company offering social media tools, has a team of 85 across 18 countries and allows staff to work from anywhere. Other companies, such as Dropbox, have decided to let employees work from home permanently but have chosen to convert their office space into Dropbox Studios – this gives employees a workspace to use when they fancy a change of scenery!
Other departments and sectors that have moved to a remote working approach include HR, business administration and business management. With key systems accessible from anywhere online and using VPNs, these roles can still be fulfilled from pretty much anywhere! Similarly, many customer service representatives are now based at home, with the technology and the equipment they need set up in their home offices.
Industries that need to maintain in-person services
There’ll be plenty of industries and businesses that maintain in-person services, either because they have to in order to provide their service, or by choice. Many industries have no choice but to offer in-person services – that’s at the core of what they do.
For example, in the medical sector, in-person appointments are vital. Some roles can be carried out virtually – for example, counsellors can still carry out sessions through video conferencing. Whilst many dentists and doctors have offered online consultations during the pandemic, they must still offer in-person conversations and examinations for some patients, due to their concerns and needs. As such, the medical sector will always need to maintain in-person services.
Next up – the hospitality sector. Perhaps one of the hardest-hit industries by the pandemic (PDF), many businesses in the hospitality sector have struggled to stay afloat. Many restaurants had to quickly adapt to offer takeaways during the lockdown, and then create an outdoor space for customers to enjoy once lockdown restrictions began to ease. Because of the very nature of the hospitality industry, they have to offer in-person services!
Similarly, the engineering, manufacturing and trade sector must continue to offer in-person services. Without it, they couldn’t get the job done and the industries would grind to a halt! The same can be said for the property industry – whilst some services were offered online during the lockdown, such as online property valuations, the majority of services have to be carried out in person to meet the usual standards.
How remote working has changed the business landscape…
Whilst some employees have been working from home for quite some time, many have only just started to experience remote working because of the pandemic. Because the pandemic has accelerated the move towards flexible and remote working, it’s now more obvious than ever that, inevitably, remote working has changed the business landscape. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying its impact! Let’s take a look at how remote working has changed the business landscape…
Our working patterns
One of the ways in which working remotely has impacted the business landscape is with a change in working patterns – many employees can now work flexibly to suit their personal lives and other responsibilities. One of the ways that employers are facilitating this is with a hybrid working model – this is a working arrangement that’s flexible in location, allowing employees to work both at home and in the office.
Some organisations have a rota in place to decide who’s in the office and who’s at home at any given time, whereas other companies leave this decision to the staff, allowing them to work wherever they like. Whilst usually introduced as lockdowns were easing to control the amount of staff in an office, to maintain social distancing measures, hybrid working models look like they might be here to stay in many businesses.
Flexible working doesn’t just involve location-based freedom either – it can encompass flexitime, compressed hours and job sharing. This flexibility is often appreciated by employees with extra responsibilities, such as those that are parents or carers.
The impact on public transport and the environment
Because so many people have made the switch to remote working, they’ve become less reliant on using public transport to get to and from their office. Not only does this impact the general business landscape in terms of how people are getting to work and back, but it also affects the travel business landscape – the number of people working from home will likely be considered in the future when public transport planning takes place.
Aside from public transport, there are fewer cars on the road as people make the switch to remote working. When opting to work from home, there’s no need to get in the car and make a commute. Fewer cars on the road mean less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is a big benefit for the environment! Aside from the effects on levels of air pollution, there are loads of environmental benefits thanks to remote working including a reduced amount of food and plastic waste!
Health and wellbeing
As we mentioned before, a shift to remote working means better mental health for many people. Working from home can cut out the commute, increase productivity and increase the time that you spend with your family. You can be around to pick up the kids from school and get dinner on the go as soon as you log off. In other words, you have more time to do the things that may have previously stressed you out, which certainly has a positive effect on your mental health! This free time can also be spent doing things to benefit your mental health, such as exercise.
However, this is just one side of the story. Whilst some people have seen the benefits for their mental health by working from home, many believe that their mental health has suffered. In-person meetings and verbal conversation were replaced with video chats, Slack messages and Teams calls, leaving many employees feeling disconnected from their colleagues. As a result, many felt isolated and alone whilst working and missed the collaborative environment that the office facilitated.
As many businesses were forced to adopt a remote working policy during a global pandemic, this highlighted to many business leaders that their employees could potentially struggle. Not only this, but it emphasised that their lives extend far beyond their role in work. This shift to flexible working has prompted many businesses to put resources in place to help employees with their mental health such as 1-to-1s, activities to raise awareness of mental health issues and the introduction of roles designed specifically to support staff with their mental health.
Whilst mental health whilst working from home is often under the spotlight, many people often forget about the impact that remote working can have on your physical health. Many offices are equipped with ergonomic workspaces to help ensure that your body posture, wrists and eyes don’t suffer from being sat in front of a screen for long periods of time.
Yet by having the freedom to decide where we work, we have the freedom to decide how we work. If employees don’t have video meetings to attend, many give in to the temptation of staying in their pyjamas and working from their beds or sofas. Whilst this might sound comfy, it can play havoc with your physical health!
Without an ergonomic workspace and comfortable set-up to keep your posture in check, you may start to suffer from backache and muscle ache. Whilst in the office, you’re probably more likely to leave your desk more often to go to meeting rooms, the kitchen or to a colleague’s desk for a natter. So, it’s important to still take regular breaks and stretch whilst working from home.
Remote working means that businesses now have to consider their employees’ health outside of the office and whilst they’re working from home. As a result, many businesses have now had to invest in equipment that their staff can use whilst working from home, to ensure that they are comfortable and can keep their physical health intact.
The impact on communication
One of the biggest changes in the business landscape is internal communications and the way employees communicate with each other. Regardless of the type of business, it’s likely that methods of communication have changed drastically whilst working remotely, as verbal communication has been substituted for online methods of communication.
With a remote working policy, organisations have to implement methods of business communication that don’t hinder the service or product the company provides, whilst allowing employees to connect and converse easily. In other words, they have to find effective communication channels for people in the workplace, that can still facilitate discussions colleague-to-colleague, training sessions, team meetings and other activities that would usually take place in any business environment.
Not only do these forms of communication need to be effective and efficient, but they must also ensure that bonds between employees are maintained and active participation is encouraged. After all, messages and video calls are no true match for in-person chats and meetings! That’s why businesses need to invest in technology and applications that are the next best thing and are an effective form of business communication.
The impact on customer service
Just as employee communication has evolved with the move towards remote working, so has the way that businesses offer customer service. Since 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic, customer service has evolved drastically and it will probably continue to do so. Many customer service teams now work remotely, as businesses have realised that they can still carry out their jobs just as effectively at home.
A remote team can be a lot cheaper than an office-based customer service team and there are nowseveral solutions – such as our alldayPA packages – that allow customer service teams to work just as efficiently from home. Customer service is only just as effective and efficient from home though if companies invest in the right software and technology to still provide the same level of service. Above all, to run a successful business, the quality of service shouldn’t be compromised in the shift towards remote working!
How we can help remote workers…
It looks like remote working will be here to stay, so businesses must make worthwhile investments in their technology to ensure that their productivity isn’t affected and their services and products can still be delivered. We’ve helped thousands of businesses over the years, but we’ve recently seen that many business leaders are taking advantage of our packages to help their businesses succeed whilst they work remotely and flexibly. If you and your employees are working remotely, it might be time to consider teaming up with us! Here’s what the alldayPA service entails…
Flexible packages tailored to your needs
Telephone Answering Service
If the prospect of answering every single inbound call leaves you feeling swamped, then let us take care of your calls! Missing a call could result in missing a potential lead, and it can also damage your reputation too when it comes to customer service. With our telephone answering service, we can take care of your incoming calls 365 days of the year, 24/7.
Our Virtual Receptionist package lets you enjoy the benefits of our Telephone Answering package as well as so much more! Added perks include call triaging, diary management, remote switchboard services, multiple staff availability, customer service outsourcing and access to our Virtual Office app to easily view important call data and communications. This allows you to free up heaps of time to deal with other important business matters!
Outsourced Call Centre
This package is our most comprehensive yet! You can enjoy all of the above as well as additional benefits that allow us to take care of your customer interactions whilst you enjoy more free time. Features include white labelled customer services, CRM integration, email, live chat and social media message monitoring and so much more!
24/7 as standard with a UK based team
Some companies offer a 24/7 service for an additional cost, but that’s not how we roll! We believe that every customer should be able to access your customer service team whenever they need to, regardless of what time of day it is. That’s why all our packages are 24/7 as standard, so your customers can always reach you at the other end of the line. Better still, offering 24/7 customer care can boost your reputation and customer loyalty!
The alldayPA team are all based in the UK too, so language barriers and time zones are never an issue when communicating with us. We know that some companies outsource their calls abroad to cut corners and save money, but this often compromises the quality of their customer service. That’s why staying UK-based is important to us – all our staff live up to the high standards that we set!
The perfect balance between modern technology and high-quality human interaction
Our services are so effective because we combine innovative technology with the best customer service in the game. We’ve invested £15m into our call handling technology, spread across four different contact centres to preserve business continuity in the event of a power outage. Our state-of-the-art technology means that your customers will enjoy a quality service with every interaction. We know that many people still appreciate chatting to a real person about their enquiries though, which is why our services are always delivered by humans – that means strictly no answering machines or bots!
If you’re working remotely and need a hand with your customer interactions, get in touch with alldayPA today…
It’s clear to see that a shift to remote working has drastically changed the way that businesses operate. Not only that, but it’s changed the lives of employees, society and the environment too – you really can’t underestimate the impact that remote working has had on the world! Whilst remote working can offer many benefits, you mustn’t let your standards slip when it comes to customer service. Thankfully, we’re on hand to make sure that doesn’t happen. With flexible packages to suit you, we can help you to maintain that fabulous customer service whilst enjoying a new way of working!
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your business to grow and succeed despite the ever-changing business landscape, get in touch with our team on 0345 056 8888 between 9am and 6pm on weekdays!