Going forward, employee loyalty will be closely tied to work flexibility, and there is still plenty of room for employers to earn recognition as leaders in remote work. Those are two of the most significant findings in a new Forrester Consulting study commissioned by LogMeIn, Inc., which polled hundreds of HR and IT decision-makers as well as employees at small-to-midsize businesses about the reality of remote work, today and into the years ahead.
When asked point-blank, most decision-makers acknowledge that they haven't fully adapted to the potential challenges of a flexible work environment. Considering the speed and urgency of the recent transition, that's hardly surprising! But it's actually good news, because it means there's ample opportunity to get ahead of the pack and differentiate your work environment as many businesses begin to plan for a return to the new normal. Knowing that improving your remote work tools and techniques will make your organization better gives you time to plan and adjust for future success.
How Leaders Can Get Ahead
According to the Forrester study responses, the average organization still has room to grow. But for every problem, there's a solution:
Problem: Only 32% of decision-makers say they've got a handle on matching technology to employee work styles, and less than one-quarter give employees freedom to choose or switch their work style. Solution: UCaaS solutions like GoToConnect combine voice, chat, text, contact center, and meeting capabilities in a single application that can be accessed on-premise, at home, or while mobile.
Problem: Just 38% of decision-makers are working on defining their flexible work policies more explicitly. Solution: Adopt and adapt the leading habits of the most effective remote-work decision-makers, including setting formal expectations on collaboration and allowing remote workers to use their own devices.
Problem: Right now, the average organization doesn't put much emphasis on flexible work structures and fraternization. Barely half (52%) of employers encourage flexible work hours, and less than half (44%) create opportunities to socialize with colleagues. Solution: Encourage employees to take breaks even when you can't invite them for coffee in the cafeteria. Use meeting solutions to create groups and discussions that drive interactions, not simply the bottom line.
What Workers Want
The majority of workers report overall positive experiences with remote or hybrid work: 62% say they are happier when working remotely. So it's safe to say they're looking for their remote and hybrid options to expand, not contract, even as the immediate impact of the pandemic fades.
It's also fair to say that employee happiness can't be the only meaningful metric for management decisions. So, consider the impacts of the survey responses that go deeper than just a sentiment or a smile:
- 83% of employees say they are more likely to stay at their company if they are allowed to work flexibly in the future.
- 65% are already looking at prospects to leave urban areas and work remotely.
- 60% are prepared to take lower compensation from a new employer in exchange for more flexibility.
This means there are several new dimensions to consider when designing working conditions, responsibilities, and compensation packages, both for new and existing employees. Those human resources and leadership consequences will take some time to sort through, but what's important today is not to snap back to a pre-pandemic mindset and discard the remote and flexible-work lessons of the past year. Most employees have a different perspective on travel, commuting, working hours, and team responsibilities than they did in early 2020. You can safely bet that those new perspectives will be reflected by the companies they choose to work for in the years to come!
Strategy and human resources are essential components to healthy growth in remote and flexible work. Technology has a role to play as well. Among the surveyed organizations considered to have highly mature remote work policies (those having both strong policies and a highly effective remote workforce), 73% said that new collaboration technology was integral to their improved remote/flexible work regime.
Here's why technology with highly-rated features and proven customer-first priorities matters to the ongoing success of remote work:
Remote work must be reliable: Worries about downtime and outages amplify when both systems and employees are distributed, and far from the colleagues and IT professionals who can jump in to lend a helping hand. GoToConnect addresses this worry with 99.995% uptime and global data center coverage.
Remote workers must look professional: No one wants to top the attorney who appeared remotely in court looking like a cat. But even more subtle gaffes can leave a negative impression on customers and partners. Keeping your employees on business-associated phone numbers instead of personal mobile numbers (or the dreaded “Unknown”!) can make a big difference.
Remote work must be easy to use: A unified communication platform with consistent user experience minimizes the risk of disruption and distraction as workers flex through home, in-office, and third-space workplaces.
Remote work must be secure: Your UCaaS platform should provide securely encrypted communications, ensuring that even when more of your business moves outside the traditional four walls of the organization, you're not sacrificing safety and sustainability.
Think It Over
The pandemic has rapidly accelerated the trend towards remote work, and there's still a gap between what employees expect and what leadership has mastered. But there's still room to lead as a forward-thinking, flexible organization, and build a business that people want to work for—wherever they happen to be.
To download the complete study about how to unlock the full potential of anywhere-work, please visit: www.logmein.com/work-from-home-remote-access/forrester-work-from-anywhere-trends
For more information on how LogMeIn can help solve your work-from-anywhere and security needs please visit: www.logmein.com