Category Archives: remote working

Unexpected ‘Zoom Effects’ and Changes to Our Business Life.

work with zoom

If 2020 will be remembered for anything it will be for ‘Zoom’ and the way it moved our office lives online in one fell swoop.  For those of us who had been teetering on the edge of distance working and moving into a digital landscape, Zoom was the killer app that made it happen.  Our business life was reduced to being a thumbnail on a colleague’s laptop.  Suddenly everybody started panicking over their Zoom image.   Staff members were subjected to close facial inspection in a way that never happened in regular face to face office life.  People were ‘Zoom-shamed’ and the meme that circulated online was ‘Zoom, it’s YOU but ugly’.

This has, of course, led to a boost in enquiries for cosmetic adjustments, known as ‘Tweakments‘  which can allow you to present a more acceptable face to colleagues and, indeed, for online job interviews.

Yes, there’s a growing awareness that it’s possible to have too much of a good thing – well, at least, too many video calls. As a result, the number and length of video-based meetings will likely decline somewhat over time, but they aren’t going to disappear. They are starting to evolve, however, thanks to the immense competition among the different platforms and the critical factor that programmers who are creating these tools have to use them extensively as well. (That isn’t always the case with other applications.)

In addition to lots of new views of participants and content, we’ve started to see extremely practical benefits such as real-time audio transcription of the meeting – making it significantly easier and faster to confirm your notes, double-check what was said, or catch up on a meeting you may have missed.  The Zoom autosave and transcribe feature is extremely well crafted and you can download the transcript of your meeting minutes after the session closes.

zoom

As staff begin to return to work in dribs and drabs there will be the ‘shock of the new’ where your old workspace has changed quite dramatically into something quite unlike its pre-COVID form.  You will see plastic barriers, higher cube walls, rearranged environments and more.  Many will not want to return to embrace this ‘new normal’. Even more people may start to consider longer-term workplace alternatives – either permanent work-from-home arrangements (potentially even in other cities – as some have started to do) or a more nomadic type of work lifestyle, where people start working from a range of different locations including their homes, offices, coffee shops, and other places, just to bring a bit of variety to their everyday experience.  This is the world of the ‘virtual office’  with everything except key tasks being relocated away from the business HQ.   Your business phone line is answered in an office, your physical mail is received at an office, your courier can still be collected and delivered at a recognisable office suite but other workday functions can happen elsewhere at less cost and in more agreeable surroundings.

Software is developing quickly to meet these new challenges. Companies like Citrix are at the vanguard of change.  Their vice president Tim Minahan puts it every well when he said  “Work is no longer a place. It’s happening in kitchens and basements, in parks and on sidewalks and scaled back, socially distanced offices,”   Software such as Citrix Workspace™. The secure, intelligent, and high-performing digital workspace organizes, guides and automates everyday tasks to boost productivity and create a sense of personal accomplishment that fuels engagement and innovation – all while ensuring privacy and security.  If you combine this platform with a virtual office such as Hold Everything in central London you have a framework which is employee-friendly and future-proof.

 

 

Digital Transformation and Why a Virtual Office is the ‘New Normal’.

digital transformation

digital transformation

I have noticed a clever meme floating around on social media this month – “who spearheaded your company’s digital transformation?” Answer “Covid-19”.   Yes, it’s undoubtedly true that when things have settled enough for us to look back on the disruption of 2020 we will see Covid-19 being the catalyst we had been waiting for to rationalise the way we work and let office practise catch up with digital reality.  Indeed, experts had warned against the false sense of security many companies had that the warmer weather and the general easing of restrib=ctions would return us to a landscape not wholly different from what we had known in the past.

Without a vaccine readily available, many organizations are continuing to encourage their workers to work remotely. In July, Google became the first major organization to formally extend its work-from-home policy until summer 2021. Other large organizations such as the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, and Japanese technology company Fujitsu took a further step in their digital transformation by announcing “indefinite”  flexible and remote working policies for their employees.

Socially distanced work, a novelty only four months ago, has now become the “new normal.”  But are countries prepared to make near-term improvements and plan investments for the longer-term, beyond the immediate crisis?  And where do they start?  This is a macro policy consideration but it is important to think about.  In order to have a Work From Home (WFH) new normal we need certain structural elements in place.  Not all countries are equal in meeting the challenge.

A study by Harvard Business School shows that America (of course!!!) is well equipped for the challenge as is the UK.  But many other European countries do not have a reliable enough digital framework to support a distance-working economy. For business leaders, it raises new possibilities for recruiting and hiring new and diverse talent. Unbound by the constraints of physical headquarters or office locations, executives are free to hire talent in new locations, provided that adequate network infrastructure exists for remote working. This enables companies to recruit and manage staff well outside their normal base of operation.  There is a vast pool of talent sitting around on short term recruitment platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr and now, People Per Hour.   This influx of new overseas talent means that UK freelancers must work ever more efficiently to compete and thrive in our new world order of digital transformation.

digital transformation freelance

Having an efficient virtual office based in the centre of London helps make this possible and gives a big tactical advantage to small businesses and freelancers working from home.  Being able to get your phone calls answered professionally by British staff and mail forwarded through the fastest UK mail channels gives a huge advantage which will be more apparent as the working world changes.   This is a good moment to talk with the team at Hold Everything on London’s Regent Street.   We have been preparing for this enormous paradigm shift for the last 30 years.  We knew it had to happen eventually, commercial properties are expensive to rent and very wasteful on space and resources.  Employing full-time staff to answer 20 phone calls a day is an anachronism, it only makes sense to pay for what you actually need.   We can show you how you can boost your business or freelance profile and save money doing so.   Forwarding mail and answering your phone is just a small part of what is entailed in a virtual office.   We can help you, from company formation to your IPO, We want to help you make sense of Post Covid-19 business.

Unexpected Advantages of Remote Working.

remote working

 

Over the last few months business working models have changed dramatically.  it is a subject we have discussed several times here on our blog. Tens of thousands of workers have been forced into remote working which has come, of course, as something of a surprise.

The good news is that this forced move enabled more businesses to see the feasibility of a remote team. But what many may not know is there are many other advantages to having a virtual team.

Your Costs are Reduced

You actually get more for your money when hiring workers for remote working.   Very often, those seeking remote work put a high value on their freedom and flexibility over having a central office, and may be willing to work for less pay than a traditional employee.

Many small businesses have discovered the advantages of hiring remote employees and freelancers.  Employees can legally shed many of the obligatory benefits associated with regular staff.  If you start employing contractors from Upwork or People per hour you are not recruiting a unionised work force.   You can scale up or scale down as circumstances demand and put it all down to the changes brought about by Coronavirus.  This is a good moment to explore the remote working model.

Typically many of the freelance workers you hire will not be subject to UK or EU tax regulations so you will avoid much of the paperwork associated with standard UK office procedures.

In addition to the cost-savings, Forbes.com  reports that 77% of those who work from home get more done in fewer hours thanks to fewer distractions like meetings, conversations, and noisy coworkers. In addition, Highfive.com reports that remote workers accomplished 30% more work in less time. It could be argued that increased productivity is due in part that many realise that they will have more free time to do the things they love if they get their work done in a more productive manner.

You Can Pinpoint the skills Required.

Instead of hiring one person to do a variety of jobs, having a remote team allows you to hire the right person with the right skills for the right job. Many virtual professionals today work for more than one person and therefore get very specialised in a set of skills. Candidates do not have to be ‘allrounders’ you can choose exactly the right person for the job in hand.  If you are working on a web development for example and you want it done on an Elementor structure you can choose a team who are tightly qualified in that one programming skill rather than a generalist who might have only used Elementor occasionally.  They would know all the little tricks around the platform and consequently save  hours of  valuable time which you are paying for.

remote working

Keep Good People

With a remote team, you can attract and retain quality professionals. In a recent study, 95% of employers reported that working remotely has had a high impact on their employee retention rate.

For moms, working from home provides the ability to have better work / life balance. For instance, if a child is sick, a mom can continue to work while monitoring her child. In the same way, she can take a break to go have lunch with her child or spouse and make up the time that afternoon or evening if needed.

Greater Flexibility

If your remote team members are independent contractors, you have the freedom to end the contract if they are no longer needed. There are no firing or unemployment penalties involved in this type of remote working. In addition, if you decide the person is not a good fit, you can more easily find someone who is.

More Reasons to Consider a Remote Team

A remote team also provides additional benefits to your business and the environment.

Having the ability to hire the right person for the right job and pay a fair rate enables small businesses to grow faster than ever before. By combining that with all these additional benefits, establishing a virtual team for remote working becomes a real advantage for many small businesses.

Another big advantage in using a flexible freelance team is that most of the recruitment platforms (Upwork/people per Hour/Fiverr) have a well regulated review and feedback system in place so that it is in the interest of a freelancer to perform to their highest level to obtain good ratings on their specific recruitment platform and guarantee recurring work and higher exposure on the platform.    In some specialist skill sets such as Google Adwords, you can buy freelance time from a specialist working for some of the largest corporations who will do your ad campaigns as a ‘side hustle’ and you get the weight of experience that you could not afford or need on a full time basis.

At Hold Everything we are experts at providing many of the structures for remote work including professional phone answering and mail handling.  Your staff may be scattered around the globe but you know you have a fixed point in a prestigious office in central London.