The holiday season is just around the corner and with that time of year comes employees taking time off to relax, unwind and be with their family and friends. However, for those who do not have enough annual leave saved up to take off as much time as they want, this time of year can cause lots of frustrations. To combat these frustrations, employers should leverage collaboration technologies that allow employees to work remotely during the holiday season.
Digital Journal: How popular is remote working becoming?
Becky Linahon: Remote working is becoming very common. In fact, it’s rare to come across a company that doesn’t at least provide remote work/WFH as an option. Given the tight labor market and younger generations entering the workplace, employers know that they need to keep up with their demands and preferences if they want to remain competitive.
DJ: Does this apply to all industries?
Linahon: There are definitely industries that are less technology savvy that will stay grounded in the cubicle mindset, but we’ve seen a greater shift in the last few years toward flexible working policies. In fact, Gartner has stated that by 2020, organizations that support a “choose-your-own-work-style” culture will boost employee retention rates by more than 10%. Organizations that are reluctant to adapt to this new way of work will suffer when it comes to drawing in new, younger talent.
DJ: How important is this for work-life balance?
Linahon: We’ve found that work-life blend is a more accurate representation of the modern day worker’s reality. We live in a new day and age where our mobile phones have tethered us to work at all hours of the day, creating unrealistic expectations for accessibility and responsiveness that didn’t exist in previous generations. This has blurred the traditional 9-5 working hours and has created the trend of work-life blend versus work-life balance. Remote work follows this trend, allowing employees the flexibility to choose the working style that makes most sense for them and their day to day lives.
Further, given the holiday season approaching, having technology that allows employees to work from anywhere is a real lifesaver. Oftentimes, the joy of the holidays can be overshadowed by limited vacation days or holiday leave. Additionally, organizations that provide client services work have strict policies regarding how many team members can be absent on the same day, requiring that at least one member be available at all times. Remote work allows employees to travel or enjoy family time while still staying available and ‘online’ during necessary business hours.
DJ: What types of collaboration tools promote home working?
Linahon:Collaboration platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams make working remotely or from home super easy and seamless since users are able to communicate in real-time. Other tools that make this type of work possible include video conferencing and presence.
DJ: Which types of technologies offer the best experiences?
Linahon:The best experience is going to depend on each user and what he/she is looking for. However, it would be safe to say that technologies that offer the best experiences are ones that enable users to communicate in real-time with colleagues and managers, share any materials/documents and show who is online when to promote transparency and collaboration.
DJ: How will collaboration technologies develop in the future?
Linahon:Over the next few years, we’ll see more advanced integrations to embed the way we communicate and collaborate into our day to day business operations. The ultimate goal will be more efficient communications that align with the way organizations operate. Meaning that your business isn’t adapting the way you work to fit your collaboration system. Instead, your collaboration platforms are being customized to fit your business. Additionally, we’ll start to see traditional contact center functionality move into the back office, creating a more consistent customer experience and better client visibility throughout the entire organization.