Q&A with MD Nick – Hybrid working trends, worries, benefits and IT

21.05.22

 

Hybrid working has accelerated in popularity over the last couple of years with employees enjoying flexible workspaces and businesses finding new ways of working. We wanted to share with you our experience through a Q&A with our MD Nick:

What trends are you seeing in terms of the work from home, work from office balance in businesses in 2022?

At Computer Geeks, we have undertaken monthly polls to ask our staff what their preference is between working from home and in the office. And we have seen that the tides have turned – employees demand flexibility (and retention is one of the key priorities for small business owners today). The ability to choose is the number one priority for engaged staff – who share the same burdens of balancing family and home life with loyalty and hard work in their career as business owners.

As a business owner did you have any worries about hybrid working before introducing it at Computer Geeks?

Pre-pandemic I shared the concerns about home working that many small business owners have. Will we lose touch with our teams? Will they be productive? Will social connections degrade?

Ultimately, 90% of those problems were not the reality in the end. Technology brought us together (Microsoft Teams), and I insisted on everyone’s home working environment being as productive as in the office – a minimum standard of 2 x HD monitors, wired internet and full HD webcams for everyone at home. We supplied hardware for those that didn’t have this sort of equipment already. Luckily in a team of Geeks who love video gaming, a lot of them already had!

The remaining 10% was true. There was less socialising, and the extroverts within the team found it harder than the introverts. I put myself somewhere in the middle, perhaps more on the introvert side, which for me feels that I can 100% be productive and happy on my own for a few days before getting bored. I found that daily video calls, and being at home with wife, family and pets, meant overall the pandemic didn’t damage my mental health too severely.

Moving forward my eyes are opened about home working, and I’d encourage business owners to seriously consider it as part of your bread and butter offering. It’s what staff want, and be honest… I’m sure you want to work from home too. As long as your technology is up to scratch and you have invested building a team that you trust, what do you have to worry about?

What systems do you need in place for this to be a reality?

Mobility and Security is the number one concern when it comes to IT systems required for truly portable work. This could be device-lead, for example, supplying all your staff with laptops and then providing a VPN service for them to remotely connect, or it could be cloud-lead, without any need for a VPN, you can migrate all your systems, software and IT operations to cloud-first platforms, you then join those devices, if possible, to Azure Active Directory, which can mandate policy, encryption, MFA, automate get-ready and logons, and phase out SSL certificates expiring, Remote Desktop, VPN (sound familiar?) if you can. I also recommend that, if your software is not ready to go cloud-based, you should still embrace the security features available in 365.

What unexpected benefits does work from home policies bring?

Are you thinking of moving office to bigger premises because you need more desks? Are you afraid of the (multiple) £100ks that you might need to spend to invest in the new office, or acquire a larger premises with car parking? Firstly, consider asking your staff to work from home 2 days a week instead and implement a desk booking, agile working policy. You immediately gain 40% more desk space. Secondly, what “cost”, even if it’s not your cost to bear, is there in commuting time? Could your staff be more focused, and potentially be more available, if commute time was abolished on the days they work from home? For every minute stuck in a traffic jam or risking being knocked over on the morning cycle commute, that staff member could be working, or possibly even better, actually having breakfast and a coffee, not in a rush, and begin their day refreshed, in a good mood, and with food in their stomachs – the multiplier effect of this can be astounding.

If you would like to know more about hybrid working, our friendly team are here to help, give us a call on 0117 325 0370 or email info@geeks.co.uk