While COVID-19 has dealt a devastating blow to economies across the world it has also created a whole new work ethos and proved that while offices have their purpose, a fair proportion of companies can continue to run at optimum efficiency with a remotely based workforce. The pandemic has created a new norm for millions of people worldwide who have thrived on the opportunity to set up a temporary office in their own home. Business owners were given no choice but to place their trust in their staff to remain motivated without supervision and leave workers to their own devices.
There are obvious advantages to the home office environment as staff do not have the opportunity to interact and become distracted. Most of us use our office as a place to socialise to some degree with fellow colleagues but remove this element and you have a focussed staff member who is free to concentrate on the job at hand.
Using Microsoft 365
For those companies without Microsoft 365 the transition to a remote workforce was far from smooth as the transferring of documents to an online server was not something that could be completed overnight. The delays in setting up an online database through Microsoft 365 and familiarise staff with Microsoft Teams to allow collaboration to continue, resulted in costly downtime. Cross to the Netherlands and there you will find a pre-existing infrastructure where 14.1 percent of the workforce regularly work from home. The Dutch have the advantage of having 98 percent of homes with high-speed internet access whereas here in Australia and in many other countries, the sudden office shut down forced by the coronavirus created significant issues. The sale of internet dongles skyrocketed and staff struggled under the pressure to get data online overnight.
A recent US poll showed nearly 60 percent of remote workers would like to continue to work from home as much as possible once the coronavirus restrictions on workplaces are removed. In Australia surveys have shown many staff have thrived on the new remote working culture and are deep in negotiations with their managers to see if a more flexible work schedule can be adopted on a permanent basis, as it is in the Netherlands. Surveys show a significant proportion of people would like the opportunity to work from home two to three days per week while business owners have been asking themselves whether their expensive city centre office space is actually needed.
The ease of sharing data through Microsoft 365 during this global pandemic has helped companies realise they can reduce their huge overheads associated with office complexes and that they do not need to monitor staff throughout their working day to ensure productivity is maintained. The Dutch culture of trusting staff enough to provide a flexible work schedule has paid dividends and it also leads to a happier, more motivated workforce with higher levels of retention.
The global shift to remote work will have a long lasting imprint on the working culture worldwide and it will be interesting to see how many business owners continue to give their staff the credit they deserve and allow them to continue to work from home on at least a part time basis. Coronavirus enforced the trial run and proved efficiency and productivity do not collapse into an unrecognisable heap when staff members are trusted to manage their own time. The core of success though is sound IT infrastructure and with that in place many companies can reduce their overheads, cut down on office space and increase profit margins by allowing staff to enjoy a more flexible work culture. Covid-19 has created a new world for companies internationally and an opportunity to embrace an entirely new approach to how to ensure their business thrives in the future by placing a little more faith in the people they employ and the incredible efficiency and flexibility Microsoft 365 provides.
At Inspired IT our services are focused around Microsoft 365 and are able to help companies transition to the Modern Workplace. If you require some training check out our new M365 Resource Hub for Training Videos and M365 Updates