Homeworking – has its time come?
Will the daily commute soon become a thing of the past?
Homeworking has been a hot topic since the early 2000s. With advanced communications technology, better broadband and societal changes, will the daily commute to the office soon be a thing of the past for millions more of the UK workforce?
In 2001, Bill Gates said that he used video conferencing only three or four times a year, mainly because of scheduling and cost issues. How different things look today. As video calling technology has improved in quality and cost-effectiveness, so has the level of adoption, and this has not only resulted in more online collaboration, but also a boom in home and flexible working. In 2008, there were just over 880,000 people working mainly from home (source: ONS Labour Force Survey). In 2019 that figure had risen to around 1.7 million (source: ONS Annual Population Survey).
The Coronavirus crisis has upped that figure dramatically in the short term. But will there be a lasting effect? Will companies finally look seriously at new ways of working? Will employees find they’re more productive at home and can achieve a better work-life balance? As ever, the game changer is technology. For home working to be viable in the longer term, it won’t be enough for employees to rely on their home broadband and personal devices. Employers will need to put in place effective, reliable remote working solutions.
The magic of VoIP
In terms of infrastructure, the obvious choice is Hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). It provides all the flexibility and scalability needed for effective remote working, from video calling to instant messaging. With our industry-leading Hosted VoIP telephony packages, Daisy’s HV.Select and Hosted Voice, Vodafone’s One Net Business, and Mitel’s Business VoIP we can deliver the ideal solution for all types and sizes of business, from SMEs to large corporations. VoIP is also the obvious choice for the two million or so businesses who will be affected by the forthcoming ISDN switch-off. Find out more here.
As for online communications apps, they’ve come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Zoom has become the go-to solution for videoconferencing, with millions of daily users even prior to the Coronavirus crisis, and the company is continually evolving its offering to ride the wave of homeworking, adding features such as AI-powered meeting scheduling and transcripts. Microsoft Teams has the advantage of seamless integration with Office 365, making it ideal for itinerant workers. Even lesser-known solutions such as MiCollab from Mitel are helping empower a quiet revolution in remote working and collaboration.
The right tools for the job
There are key benefits in deploying a robust, permanent communications solution for home workers, rather than relying on ad hoc arrangements. For example, with a VoIP system the remote worker can communicate with colleagues and customers as if he or she were working in an office. With a reliable broadband connection, Cloud-based apps can be used to work productively and efficiently.
The benefits of home working go beyond efficiency and cost savings. Less travel to work means a reduced carbon footprint for both employer and employees. Businesses can save on investment in bricks and mortar. And of course, there’s the potential for workers to be more time-effective, with fewer hours spent travelling to and from work, not to mention less risk of having to attend ‘freewheeling’ meetings that take up big chunks of the day.
Getting the right solution is mission critical. At Cambridge Telecom we can help with a complete range of integrated communications solutions. From hosted voice to mobile, broadband and security products, we’ve got everything you need to make homeworking work for you.
To find out more about how Cambridge Telecom can assist, call our sales team on 01223 661636 or email email@example.com