Covid(eo Conferencing)-19

As the virus spreads so does the concern of the economic impact. The companies that are already offering remote working will see little to no disruption to their businesses. Twitter, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Indeed, L’Oreal, Unilever, Nike, CNN, Microsoft, Crossrail, Dentsu, NTT, Hitachi and Nestle have restricted employee travel and/or closed offices because of the outbreak – They have the cultures, leadership, processes, tools and technologies in place to ensure their business continues.

There are survey results that show 16% of global companies are now fully remote and 52% of employees around the world work from home at least one day a week. Even with the hype of remote working in recent years, most are still 9-5 and commuting (no matter how inconvenient), with a morning coffee and an end of day beer. As we know from Snow days, when this is disrupted, it can be unsettling! The first day is fun, the second day is ok, the third day results in full blown cabin fever.

Remote working wins include: flexibility, increased focus and productivity, no commute, work-life balance, a higher degree of self-motivation and less distractions from colleagues. The ability to simply drop your kids off at school or walk your dog at lunchtime. Maybe these wins are the reasons why so many businesses are determining remote working as an employee “benefit”.

Remote working should mean a reduction in people and property costs as recruitment and retention increase and bums on seats 9-5 decrease. Stats show how most people choose to work for companies in a circa.30 miles radius – imagine what remote working could do for your talent pool!

Don’t get me started on what impact remote working could have for our planet, you only have to look at these NASA images of the reduction in air pollution in China during the outbreak:

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Ok so, as an individual we need to take responsibility for our health; ensure social interaction, avoid cabin fever and the blurred lines between work and home. Stop hunching at the dining table and get yourself a designated space that you take regular breaks from. As a business, IT infrastructure and cyber-security have to be robust and compliment the business continuity plans. There has to be trust, communication and clear output expectations… But hey, shouldn’t all this be a given anyway in 2020?

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be" 
                                                            - John Wooden

Remote working is not the right option for everyone and every business. But as the workplace evolves, it’s safe to say that the future of work will entail a large percentage of our people working remotely for at least some of their working week.

Throughout the last 10 months of my role at Ricoh, I’ve been a digital nomad thanks to the culture of the organisation and the technologies in place. My days are a mix of being at customer offices, working in coffee shops or on trains, working in Ricoh offices with my colleagues or working from home using video conference facilities to talk with customers and team members.

Working where I feel I am most efficient is not only best for the companies bottom line and our planet, but for my me as a person. Ultimately, being energised, trusted and empowered means I will get stuck in when the going gets tough!

Is your workplaces a hub for collaboration and innovation or is your workplace a drain on productivity with people trying to fight poorly designed offices with noise cancelling headphones and passive aggressive signs whilst they quickly rub anti-bac gel into their hands to avoid the germs from the person who daren’t take a day off because it will effect their Bradford Factor?

Like the free fruit and coffee that has gone before it, remote working is not a benefit, it is a given. C’mon, we must do better than this!

(And apologies for the awful title of this blog!)

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