A look at the future of remote and flexible working and how Trustmarque ConnectIT LIVE 2.0 aims to help you ‘connect your workforce’

It is now almost six months since the UK officially went into lockdown in the fight against the spread of Covid-19.

On 23 March 2020 Boris Johnson announced to the nation that people should ‘stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS’. Organisations everywhere were forced to shut up shop or rapidly adopt remote working wherever possible to achieve business continuity.

But now almost six months into the pandemic, what happens next with regards to how and where people will continue to work seems somewhat unknown.

Currently, the UK Government is keen to get people back into offices to save so called “ghost towns” and inject movement back into the economy of large cities. The furlough job protection scheme is also due to wind down by end of October with no extension confirmed. However, the back to work drive has been met with mixed feelings from those contemplating going back on-premise.

According to a recent report by academics at Cardiff University and the University of Southampton, 90% of employees who have worked from home during lockdown, would like to continue to do so in some capacity. The report, Homeworking in the UK: Before and during the 2020 lockdown, also highlights that many remote workers feel the impact on productivity has been neutral or even positive. In other words, we don’t necessarily work better when we are physically together. Work is an action or output and not a space.

Continuation of remote working

“The myth around home working in local government has gone. This has proved that it can be done depending on which department you work for. I certainly think there will be more flexibility in the future.” 

Many large employers have stressed their preferation to remain remote or flexible for the foreseeable future. Amazon, Google, RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) and Indeed, all gave employees the green light to work from home until at least 2021. Twitter went further and said some employees will never return to the office.

Even in the public sector, which was largely perceived to be somewhat behind the remote working curve prior to the Pandemic, organisations are predicting a much more remote-enabled future. Earlier this year one of Trustmarque’s customers, a large local authority of around 2,500 seats in the north west of England, told us in a case study that the transition to remote working was far more seamless than expected.

Our contact, a Senior IT Analyst, confirms: “The myth around home working in local government has gone. This has proved that it can be done depending on which department you work for. I certainly think there will be more flexibility in the future.”

Like many organisations, Microsoft 365 and especially Microsoft Teams are pivotal to their remote working success, providing a way to keep colleagues connected and helping to promote a culture of collaboration and togetherness. Our contact went as far as to state that Microsoft Teams “saved” their organisation and “revolutionised” how they work. For more information on the benefits of Microsoft 365 visit our dedicated page FastTrack to Microsoft 365.

A hybrid approach with the flexibility to choose

How, when and where we work in the future seems increasingly likely to be inspired by a hybrid approach with a mix of remote-based (i.e. your local library or coffee shop), home and office working.  Some organisations may wish to move away from a remote-first policy to a remote-friendly policy. A more flexible approach will allow organisations to utilise their office space investments while retaining the best talent by way of providing employees with the flexibility of choice.

There are other benefits of being on-premise of course and not just utilising empty office space. Remote meeting fatigue, lack of connection and a feeling of “groundhog day” are symptoms of prolonged remote working.  Many have stressed that at least some office-based work breaks the routine and the day-to-day monotony. And some office work allows them to better define the boundaries between work and home, which for many have been somewhat blurred in 2020.

If you’re worried about team morale, you may find our recent blog helpful: How everyday tools in Microsoft 365 can support remote workers wellbeing.

The importance of employee connectivity

Whether you’re keen to get your employees back to the office or you want to enhance your remote working or hybrid model, workforce connectivity is central to success. Earlier this year, research from workplace software company Names & Faces found that employees who don’t feel visible in their organisation, are more likely to report a productivity slump.

To help you better connect your remote or hybrid teams, Trustmarque is hosting the second edition of our online event series, ConnectIT LIVE.

Taking place online from Tuesday 3rd November to Thursday 5th November 2020, ConnectIT LIVE 2.0  brings together technologies from a wide selection of partners, aiming to show you how to connect an agile workforce and achieve your digital transformation goals in a post-pandemic world.  Discussions will range from the role of VDI (virtaul desktop infrastructure) to securing your remote-enabled and home devices, and how to provide seamless access to your company assets, apps and data with always-on cloud platforms.

Building on the success of the first ConnectIT LIVE in June, our second series of webinars will help you maximise and future-proof your IT investments with top tips from key players in the industry, as well as our own subject matter experts. We’re in IT together.

Register for ConnectIT LIVE 2.0

Register now for ConnectIT LIVE 2.0 and connect your workforce, wherever they are

To keep up-to-date with the agenda, make sure you register early and avoid missing out. We’re confident it is going to be another great event.

By Katherine Murphy, content enthusiast