Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

“A boring office on a tropical island?” Why SMBs would rather WFH

August 16, 2018

Do you ever find yourself sitting in the office, daydreaming of being on a distant tropical island? We’re talking azure skies, palm trees, risky falling coconuts…the whole shebang.

What if it was a choice between working in a tropical island inside a boring office, or from your living room in your home city?

That was the question we put to a group of small business owners in a game of “Would You Rather?”

Business Owners Play Would You Rather

"As a ginger person, I would burn."

Posted by BuzzFeed UK on Monday, June 18, 2018

The dilemma prompted some important reflections. Rory at The Profs pointed out: “As a ginger person, I would burn and die in seconds,” on the imaginary island.

But the response was overwhelmingly in favour of working from home. As Tamara at Blackwork Entertainment put it: “There’s no way I’d want to work in a boring office, anywhere.”

Out of the office

We’re in a new age of employee demands when it comes to remote working.

Job patterns are becoming more much more flexible – driven not only by the preferences of those relative workplace newbies, the millennials, but also older generations staying in their jobs for longer.

As a result, we not only want, but expect, to be able to work from anywhere. Flexi-scheduling and working from home opportunities can determine whether employees take a job and certainly whether they keep it.

Why remote is right

Positively flexible working isn’t only good for the team – it’s good for your business.

A mobile workforce is typically more productive and more creative, as well as feeling more valued.

You don’t lose valuable time when employees are on the move, while in many cases collaboration tools mean you can duck out of travelling for meetings, full stop.

As an SMB, mobile working enables you to keep up with customer demands, all while maximising the flexibility and speed that helps you to compete with “the big boys.”

So creating a workforce that’s not only able to work remotely, but can do so productively, is the name of the game.

The right tools in your armoury

To work from anywhere employees need to be able to reach the people and the information that they need at any time.

Luckily there are a whole host of collaboration tools available to make this happen. From audio and visual conferencing, file sharing and instant messaging, right through to the good old desktop phone.

Some platforms also consolidate these services into a single integrated platform, such as Cisco Webex Teams.

And importantly for the cost-conscious, many of these services are based on monthly subscriptions, so won’t cost the earth and can scale as your team grows.

With so much choice, it’s important to define the approach that will work best for you.

What works for you

Sadly it’s not as simple as deploying remote working tools and waiting for the productivity gains – and employee satisfaction – to come rolling in.

You have to consider collaboration platforms in the context of other business processes. Who needs what, when? And what’s the best way to work with colleagues and customers? Can your network support these tools to keep everyone working at speed?

Developing a clear remote working strategy will pay dividends. And remember, as and when you introduce new tools, treat it like any other company change and ensure you have plans in place for your people and processes.

Paradise in your living room

In today’s world, people really would rather work from their own flat than be confined to a single office, wherever that might be. As an SMB, it’s your role to ensure that remote tools work for your employees – and work for your business.

For more information on how Cisco can help your SMB click here.

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