Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, and millennials like myself may be responsible. We’re now a significant part of the workforce, and we’re asking more of businesses than ever before.
We’re a tech-savvy, multi-skilled bunch, and we’re the managers directors and CEOs of the future. Times have changed, with new technologies and platforms that help us harness our skills quicker and work from any location with a stable internet connection.
Some of these new technologies include collaboration tools that allow for group work in and out of the office.
Let’s look at some of the tech that could make office-bound work a thing of the past:
Collaborative software, like Slack, enables organisations to communicate as a group and in individual discussions. It works across numerous devices and integrates with other software programs as well. It can substitute texts, instant messaging and even email. At TopLine Comms and TopLine Film, we use this software to communicate internally with one another and prefer to use emails to connect with our clients. It’s great for real-time discussions and when quick decisions need to be made.
We have a team in London and in South Africa, so we also use Slack to let one another know when we sign on and off for the day and when we need to step away from our desks (this way people know when they can and can’t reach you – almost as if you are glancing over at a colleagues desk to see if you can bother them yet). @ mentions allow us to tag and send push notifications to team members on their phones or laptops.
Human resources software like People HR makes employee engagement possible from anywhere. Face to face interaction is definitely beneficial but if your workforce includes remote workers or you plan to incorporate flexible working, then an online solution that supports HR processes is key. If you consider the traditional method of applying for leave – printing and filling out a leave application form and then submitting it to your superior. Pending approval, this document will then be scanned and filed. The online process is much easier – an employee can book a holiday by selecting specific dates in the portal, an authorisation request will be sent to the manager, and bobs your uncle.
Video conferencing and online platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts make it possible for international borders to fall away by bringing people from anywhere in the world together in a single meeting space. This does not take away from the importance of in-person meetings but if you have to meet a client every second day, week or month then switching it up with this meeting style will be effective and will save you travel time and costs.
Cloud file backup and storage services like Dropbox are great. You can access all necessary data (with permission from your organisation) on the cloud from any computer or device that has an internet connection from anywhere in the world. You’re guaranteed a backup of whatever file you’re working in should anything go wrong, and these documents will automatically be synced.
These are but a few of the tools that make it possible to work from anywhere.
It should also be noted that not all businesses have the infrastructure to accommodate remote or flexible working options, but it’s something to seriously think about. According to SHRM, millennials might not consider a job if it does not include the possibility of remote working.
And according to Fast Company, 50% of the workforce is projected to be remote in the next few years. South Africa may be a while off from fully adopting this way of working but if the tools are there and you’re in a position to work remotely, does it really matter if you’re working in your pyjamas if you’re getting the work done?
Bronwen Dowman is a communications consultant working for Top Line Communications, which has offices in London and Cape Town.
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