The workscape today varies vastly from 10 or 20 years ago, with around eight million people working from home part of the week — a fact that is indicative of the big changes that ubiquitous connectivity have brought to all sectors. The Internet, new software and new hardware have made it easier for companies to work in a ‘smarter’ fashion (i.e. more efficiently, more speedily, and with a lower rate of errors.) Whether you have a small or medium-sized business, you may wonder what steps you can take to improve procedures. If so, discover a few tips for taking the leap to smart working methods.
Smarter Office Space
Smart office design takes into account the different needs that different employees and procedures have. A simple ‘open office design’ won’t do, for instance, in companies in which sales or management have to meet privately with important clients, or where some employees require complete silence to do their job. However, because the aim of smart working is to achieve goals in the quickest, most efficient way possible, it may also involve investing in employee’s home offices; providing them with the equipment they need to take part in video conferences and to liaise via professional networking platforms. Smart companies can go the extra mile by ensuring home-based employees have ergonomic equipment and tools, so they can perform at their best but also protect their health.
Relying on Technology
There are a bevy of tools available to enable teams to achieve goals in a more evidence-based, reliable fashion. As stated by JournyX, companies that use timesheets or who have employees who accrue expenses, can track and manage these aspects of an employee’s working life via dedicated software. The latter should meet customized needs, validate time and expense data so that managers don’t waste time looking for and correcting mistakes, offer integration with key business symptoms, and capture real-time insights and provide visual dashboards. Other tools commonly used by smart teams working in various locations include blockchain (to protect sensitive data), collaborative tools like Office 365, Podio and Asana, and MindMeister (an online mind mapping tool that captures and shares ideas via a visual framework).
The final link in the chain is experience-based working, which seeks to provide workers with an ideal environment — one in which employees have a say regarding where, how, and when they work. The current health crisis has prompted many companies to make a permanent change, as their results showed that allowing employees to work from home has boosted rather than hampered performance. Deutsche Bank, for instance, which once only had a few thousands employees working remotely, adapted quickly and efficiently to a situation in which up to 70,000 were doing so. In the UK, around 95% of its staff are working from home and there is no reason why this cannot continue in the long-term.
Smart working involves questioning older systems and their efficiency, analyzing whether or not they are still useful today. It also involves relying on software and online networking to enable teams to work together smoothly. Finally, it involves greater flexibility and customization, so that employee feedback can be taken into account when deciding on matters such as place of work and schedules.