Let Them Eat Cheese

Let Them Eat

Bo-Jo is wrong, working from home does work

“My experience of working from home is you spend an awful lot of time walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop,” said Prime minister Boris Johnson. Worryingly, he’s not the only person to believe the office is essential. Here, Ross Slogrove, UK country manager at cloud calling specialist Ringover explores exactly why Boris Johnson’s cheese-nibbling analogy does not represent Britain’s flexible future.

A rummage of the fridge may be all too tempting for Boris Johnson and, while other WFH critics have not divulged their snacking habits, they haven’t hesitated to reveal their disapproval.

When PwC offered its 22,000 UK staff the chance to finish early every Friday this summer, providing their work is complete by lunchtime, The Apprentice tycoon Sir Alan Sugar took to Twitter to brand flexible workers “lazy gits”, saying “there is no way people work as hard or productive as when they had to turn up at a work location.” And then there’s those desk notes left on the desks of civil servants by cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Out of Touch

Something these office admirers have in common, besides perhaps their age, is that data does not support their claims. In fact, research into remote working and productivity paints a very different picture.

A survey of more than 1,000 employers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggests 41 per cent of businesses believe flexible working policies have increased productivity, compared with under a fifth who say flexible working has had a negative impact. Data from IPSOS in partnership with the World Economic Forum goes even further, finding that 65 per cent of employees are more productive with a flexible work schedule.

Other research, conducted by Tracking Happiness, concluded that the ability to work remotely increases employee happiness by as much as 20 per cent, with millennials thought to be happiest when at home.

As we know, this doesn’t mean everyone is happy working where they please. The CIPD’s findings also state that both employers and employees are concerned about inclusion risks that could arise from a move to increased hybrid or remote working. Nearly half of organisations report being concerned about this, while a quarter of employees worry about being treated less favourably if they work at home while their colleagues remain in the office.

Move with the Times

Despite some concern, it’s fair to conclude that there’s one thing all employees seek — choice. After two years of restriction, it’s what they deserve. Rees-Mogg didn’t need to leave government-printed paper notes on the desks of his staff. He could have written them in the cloud.

Cloud calling provides users with calling and other voice-based communications via an internet connection. Though cloud calling technically refers only to voice-based communications, most providers are offering all cloud-based enterprise communication needs, often referred to as unified communication as a service (UCaaS). Typical services that cloud calling providers offer include collaboration tools, data insights, text or instant messaging, integrated contact centers and web conferencing.

Without clunky landlines, communication is simpler and accessible from any device, often without even having to download a new software program. It gives employees more information at their fingertips, helping them save time searching for data. And it’s remote-friendly, everyone in an organisation can work from anywhere with an internet connection.

Cloud calling does more than just facilitate calls. The ability to call and monitor calls is a vital training tool, as new employees can go back and rewatch any instructional meetings, allowing them to learn at their own pace. For scaling up, it’s also a more cost efficient resource than providing landlines to each new employee, or for each new location a business acquires. Ultimately, it’s a tool for future proofing both businesses and their people.

If Boris Johnson had swift, streamlined cloud calling software while he was working from home, he may have spent less time trudging to the refrigerator. Remote working still has it’s vocal critics but a wealth of data, and advances in communication technology, showcase the flexible remains the way forward.

About Ringover

A leader in cloud communications, Ringover seamlessly combines unlimited calling, group messaging and video conferencing into one easy-to-use app. No expertise is needed to set up and integrates with your CRM or helpdesk tools. Within a few clicks, you’ve gained access to all the data you need to enhance your call centre or sales team’s performance and boost customer engagement.