You’ve probably noticed the shift from a traditional workforce to that of a flexible and mobile work environment. If you’re wondering what’s going on, you’ve come to the right place. Here we will explain to you what happened to enable this shift and why a growing majority are jumping on the bandwagon.
Previous generations performed with a steadfast work-life balance and stringent work ethic: they wake up early in the morning, prepare for work, commute to work, stay there from 8 AM to 5 PM, commute going home, rest, and do it all over again the next day. Weekends are spent recuperating before they are thrust back to the daily grind on Monday, where they keep their heads down and work like well-oiled machines.
In return, these workers are able to perform their jobs exceptionally well, particularly jobs that require repetition, such as manufacturing and administrative work. These earnest workers paved the way for companies to become more successful as they could rely on workforces that are laid down the groundwork for success.
Today, we are seeing a growth in Millennial employees. Millennials, a new generation of workers whose work-life balance and work ethics are vastly different from the previous generation’s. They wake up late, go to work, and stay late working. They place heavy emphasis on work-life balance and would like to continue “living” — i.e., going out and having fun — in lieu of being cooped up at the office from 8 AM to 5 PM.
This laid-back approach to working doesn’t mean that they provide substandard work, however. Truth be told, Millennials are very creative and can get work done effectively, in the most efficient manner possible. However, they constantly challenge rules and hate being restricted.
As a result, the traditional work environment, as we know it, has changed drastically. This led to an influx of companies investing in IP phones and shifting their business model to accommodate telecommuting. Most companies welcome this transition particularly if their workforces are composed mostly of young, creative Millennials.
What is Telecommuting?
Telecommuting is defined as a work arrangement where the employee does not have to commute to a central place of work, such as an office. The employee can work from home and continue to be kept abreast of the company’s requirements through IP phones and/or other mobile devices. Telecommuting is becoming a popular option for most employees, as a 2012 poll from Reuters indicates that globally, one in five workers telecommutes.
This mobile, flexible workforce has overwhelming benefits, particularly when it comes to better employee retention and satisfaction.
Other benefits to telecommuting are as follows:
Telecommuting increases productivity – Since employees will be working with minimal supervision, it is up to the employee to prove to his employer that he is working. This therefore provides employees with the drive to constantly use their IP phones and to perform their optimum best, so that their best efforts will become recognisable to the remote management.
- Telecommuting reduces costs – Since employees will be working from their preferred locations, such as their own homes or coffee shops, telecommuting therefore reduces your company’s overhead. You’ll have less employees working in the office, consuming office supplies and utilising electricity. Likewise, you’ll have less users sharing your onsite broadband and data connection, leading to faster connectivity and more seamless integrations.
- Telecommuting lowers absenteeism – Instead of asking employees to file for sick leaves or vacation leaves, telecommuting gives them the option to work remotely. They just have to use their IP phones and log into the company’s systems, but they can work from their own spaces. Think of it this way: if you have an urgent deliverable and you need it from a visual designer who is sick for the day, you won’t have anyone to do it for you. However, if you allow the designer to work remotely, he’ll be able to recuperate while at the same time still keeping your deliverables up to date, so you don’t have any overdue tasks.
- Telecommuting leads to happier, more satisfied employees – Thanks to the flexibility given by having a mobile, flexible setup, employees are then able to enhance their work-life balance. They can work remotely while still attending important functions, such as parent-teacher conferences, a child’s graduation, or attending to a sick child, among many others. Since the company shows employees that they are valuable and that the company understands their plight as parents and/or individuals, then employees are therefore more satisfied with their job. This gives them more of an incentive to do more for a company that has done so much for them.
- Telecommuting improves team work – Thanks to the advent of technology and modern telephony such as IP phones and unified communications, teams are working together better than before. Companies with multiple offices globally are able to reap the benefits of good collaborative tools such as video conferencing. By working remotely, employees are therefore able to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and would proceed directly to the point — what the problem is and what they can do to resolve it. This in turn paves the way for better teamwork, as the employees are then more motivated to work with their contemporaries.
- Telecommuting opens up different sources of talent – If you are working in a creative industry, such as design and advertising, then you need the importance of giving your Creatives space to grow. This is particularly true if your young workforce is composed mostly of digerati, or digital creatives such as writers and designers. These employees have different processes for working and would need inspiration. If they are confined in the office, they may be hard-pressed to find inspiration to fuel that “Eureka!” moment to make your products and services even greater. As such, giving them free rein to work where they want provided they provide results is a great incentive.
- Telecommuting reduces turnover and hiring costs – This brings us then to this crucial point — telecommuting reduces turnover and your hiring costs. Since your employees are happier and more motivated, they are more likely to stay with your company than dissatisfied employees. This means that you won’t have to spend a lot of time and effort training personnel, only for these employees to jump ship and to invest their talents elsewhere. You are then rest assured of a better retention rate, and you can focus on growing your business instead of worrying what would happen to your business should your seniors decide to resign simultaneously.
Overall, the benefits of a mobile flexible workforce are evidently overwhelming. These benefits are often enough to persuade employers to get out of the traditional setting and to embrace this more flexible setup.
However, before you declare to your employees that you will now be implementing a mobile, flexible workforce, you have to ensure that your employees will be equipped with the proper tools to support them while they work remotely.
How your telephony and communications setup can enable a mobile workforce
- Softphone – Your employees would need IP phones if they were to work efficiently offsite. IP phones, or telephones that utilise voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology, have the same functionality as traditional telephones except they harness the Internet to receive or make calls. Now, softphones are applications that are installed on a laptop or a personal computer. It comes with dialling pads that users would have to use to make calls. If you’re considering IP phones, then softphones are going to give your employees great flexibility as they can access their phones through their laptop. To top it off, this technology is affordable and does not require a dedicated installation. It is, in fact, very easy to use.
- Videoconferencing –Aside from using IP phones, you want your employees to have the best of the best, and this is where a handy collaborative tool such as video conferencing would come in. Videoconferencing is very easy to implement — as long as all your employees have your videoconferencing software installed on their personal devices, they would be able to communicate, brainstorm, and collaborate with their peers wherever they may be, at any given time.
- Ensure accessibility anytime, anywhere – You have to ensure that your telephony and communications setup is optimised for remote workers, particularly in the sense that your remote employees do not feel neglected and want for support. You can ensure this by using top-of-the-line unified communications systems integrated into your VoIP system. By doing so, all your employees would be on the grid, at any given time, ready to perform their optimum best for you and your company.
- Cost Effective – Above all, deciding to empower a mobile workforce means you have to find a viable solution to your pressing business needs. This means that you do not have to invest in expensive solutions — rather, you have to use affordable software that delivers the services you need. By having a cost effective unified communications system, you are then reassured that your remote workers will be able to perform their best, without compromising their need for flexibility.
These are just some of the things you have to consider if you are to invest on IP phones and on a mobile workforce. Primarily, you will be able to reduce costs, provide a more creative and conducive environment for your employees, and encourage their growth without compromising their quest for happiness. Now it’s time to look at a who can give you all these services.
Benefits of telecommuting:
- Increases productivity
- Reduces cost
- Lowers absenteeism
- Leads to happier, more satisfied employees
- Improves teamwork
- Opens up different sources of talent
- Reduces turnover and hiring costs