By Anthony Cotter.

 

The coronavirus crisis has seen a worldwide explosion in the numbers working from home. However, remote working is not new; in fact, it’s been a global trend for some time now. The latest data from Eurostat shows that in 2018, 25 million people were working from home in the EU alone. Certainly, for employees the advantages of home working can be irresistible. No daily commuting, more quality time spent with the family and a better work-life balance make it likely the demand for home working will only increase once the pandemic is over.  

Long-term remote working is, however, completely different from merely working at home. A company laptop plus access to the cloud and office intranet won’t be enough. When it comes to successful remote working, the drivers are engaged communications and a socially connected workforce. 

Are your intranet and communications platform still fit for purpose? Or has the lockdown exposed inherent weaknesses? Now is the time to review your systems in preparation for life after lockdown and here’s what you need to consider.  

Your Intranet Platform And The Transition to Remote Working

Making the transition to effective remote working requires an intranet platform that addresses several needs at once. These include the following: 

Easy to use and set-up: The current Covid-19 crisis has seen many companies shift their operations to home working almost overnight. There has been very little time to prepare and staff need to be up and running as quickly as possible. Often this has meant working from mobile phones or tablets. 

Those companies that have been most successful have intranet platforms that are easy to set up, intuitive to use and mobile accessible. Home workers don’t have the luxury of colleagues on hand to help them navigate the software. 

Easy-to-use, mobile-accessible intranets mean higher rates of adoption, superior employee experience and, ultimately, better business outcomes.  

Able to integrate with other systems: The intranet has to be a one-stop-shop for employees. Integration with existing office systems is essential to provide streamlined business processes. It could be customer relationship management systems like Salesforce, or content management systems like SharePoint. With an integrated platform, staff won’t need to juggle multiple apps, screens, or passwords. It’s all available with just a single single-on, making it easy to share data and information. 

Includes all the tools staff need: Whether it’s real-time chat with Slack or Teams, or collaborative spaces to connect and interact, the intranet should support staff in getting the job done. This includes transactional or operational communications as well as opportunities for more informal connections. 

Supports company culture: Remote workers often feel a sense of disconnection from the company and its overall mission. You will have to work harder to maintain that shared company culture and a sense of common purpose. An intranet can provide that vital connection. Use it to bring your company goals and values alive with quick and easy links to content. Celebrate successes in the activity news feed and encourage staff to give shout-outs to colleagues. 

Provides opportunities for social connections: Social isolation and loneliness are significant issues for long-term remote workers. Unlike office-based staff, they don’t have the opportunity for casual conversation at the coffee machine or around the water cooler. The intranet needs to replicate those opportunities virtually. Whether it’s to chat about Saturday’s big match, discuss the latest storyline in the soaps or swap holiday plans, far from being a time-waster, a social intranet offers a lifeline. And in providing that all-important sense of community among employees, you will also be supporting their health and wellbeing. 

Allows you to measure success: Finally, the intranet should also include integrated metrics so that you can measure progress and the impact on employee engagement. As well as giving you a snapshot of where you’re at, you can also measure trends over time. 

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Business Benefits of Remote Working

And if you are still unsure about whether remote working is for your business long term, then consider this. It’s not just employees who are set to benefit; there are business benefits on offer too. 

Save on office costs and operational overheads. One major advantage of a remote working business model is that you can make big savings on overheads and office costs. And, without the physical constraints of an office, your company has greater freedom and flexibility to expand.

Widen the talent pool. Remote working means you won’t be restricting your search to only local candidates or those with specific location needs around transport or childcare. Technology and intranets make it possible for your employees to work from anywhere around the globe. 

Increase employee satisfaction. Recent research from Glassdoor has confirmed what you probably instinctively knew anyway. A better work-life balance plus a company culture that values staff are important drivers of employee satisfaction. Organisations that value their employees and offer flexible and remote working see higher rates of satisfaction. 

Improve employee retention rates. It will come as no surprise to learn that satisfied and engaged employees tend to stay longer in their jobs. Remote working offers that flexibility and work-life balance that’s important to employees. Your staff are, therefore, more likely to stick with you for the long term. Staff turnover is reduced which in turn will positively impact your recruitment budget. 

Workvivo’s Comprehensive Solution

When it comes to intranet software and employee communication platforms, there are several vendors out there. 

However, if you’re after an integrated solution that ticks all the boxes, then Workvivo is hard to beat. Book a free demo today and check out for yourself just what a difference it can make.  

Change out your intranet to Workvivo