3CX: Smart Working: Just a fad or here to stay?

Scroll through LinkedIn today and you’re guaranteed to find at least one post bestowing the virtues of smart working. The term has become somewhat of a buzzword recently, as advocates attempt to persuade big business that remote work can be a viable, long term alternative to the traditional 9-5. In this post, we’re going to unpack common questions and discuss the technology needed to make smart working a success. It’s time to decide: does smart working have long term potential or is it just a fad?

But first, what is smart working?

smart working could be the future

Rather than being something exceptional, smart working embeds flexibility and mobility into the normal way of working. For example, having flexi-time at the office, where you come in for a period of ‘core hours’ and plan the remainder of the day how you like, is a smart working policy. On the other hand, working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak can’t strictly be seen as smart-working. It’s a short term policy invoked following an exceptional circumstance.

Key features of smart working are:

  • Flexibility (in time and location)
  • Management by results
  • High levels of employee autonomy
  • More flexible forms of collaboration
  • Use of new technology, tools and work environments

Why should I introduce smart working?

Smart working creates efficiencies and allows employees to work in the way that makes them most effective. It also provides employees with more choice of where and when to work, which has been proven to make workers happier and healthier
For employers, switching to smart working broadens the talent pool by enabling hires from geographically distanced locations.

Smart Working Myths

there are lots of myths about smart working

Fortunately, this kind of flexibility applies to more roles and types of activities than is often thought – as long as it’s implemented in the right way. However, smart working is often seen as desirable by employees but as troublesome for management, which leads to some common misconceptions.

Myth #1: “Our roles cannot be done flexibly.”

Resist focusing on the least flexible activity and making the requirements of that activity the default for all others. It may be true that specific tasks have to be reserved for the office but for everything else, take advantage of collaboration technology to keep project wheels turning, whenever and wherever colleagues are working.

In some cases, this shift might require a new style of working known as asynchronous work. By now we’re fairly familiar with the idea of working remotely and many of us use video conferences and the good old fashioned phone to bridge the distance between colleagues. Asynchronous working, where individuals work at different times according to their needs, however, is still fairly new and takes some getting used to. Features such as instant messaging and instant editing help, by enabling collaboration any time. For more guidance on asynchronous working, check out this article from Doist.

Myth #2: “I need to see my team to manage them.”

Manage by results not by presence. This should lead to better management, better monitoring of work-in-progress, better quality work and fewer missed deadlines.

Managing by results requires colleagues to take more responsibility for organising their own work and taking ownership of the outputs. Some employees will take to this naturally whilst others may struggle with the high level of autonomy. For this reason, it’s best to have a phased transition to smart working. This could include having specific “in-office” days or a structured check-in schedule, which includes regular video conferences with direct reports.

Myth #3: “My team will feel isolated.”

Many managers fear that smart working will leave staff feeling disconnected or even lonely. It’s important to remember that smart working is NOT remote working. It’s about offering employees a choice in the way they work and allowing them to flex between home and the office. Your team might not be together all of the time but when they need face to face interaction, they’ll be welcomed in the office.

It also helps to have techniques and routines to keep in touch and build team spirit even when working at different times and places. Try organising an employee bingo night over a web meeting or have a weekly breakfast meeting via VC for everyone to keep in touch.

What role does technology play in smart work enablement?

technology is important for smart work

Technology is key to enabling smart working and too happy employees. (Hands up if you already knew that 82% of employees say technology influences their decision to accept a new role!)

Smart working has become possible because of technologies that allow us to choose when and where to work. To make it a success, organisations need to have platforms in place that enable both real-time communication and asynchronous working. That’s where 3CX comes in. With one solution for calling, conferencing, IM and live chat, you’ll have all the communications tools needed to make a success of smart work from Day 1. All that’s left to do is choose project management & content creation platforms that manage your asynchronous workday and make sure you employees can content to them both from the office and from home.

Real-Time Communications Tools Asynchronous Collaboration Tools
Video Conferencing3CX logo Messaging & IM3CX logo
Live Chat and Talk3CX logo Meeting Recording & Archiving3CX logo
3CX Web Client3CX logo Project Management Software e.g Asana
iOS and Android Apps3CX logo Collaborative Documents e.g. G Suite

Conclusion

Smart Working offers a host of benefits for employers and employees and should be embraced as a positive. In many cases, the transition to new work methodologies should be considered a long-term project and not a short-term emergency measure. If you need more information on smart communication technologies, 3CX is here to help! Get in touch today.

Sourced from: 3CX Blog. View the original article here.