Businesses and workers have had to find a new normal during the lockdown, with many businesses having to furlough staff or transition to a completely remote team. A new study, by outsourced communications provider, Moneypenny looked at how businesses are making the change and ensuring they keep lines of communication open and staff working efficiently.
In the survey, business owners and decision-makers were asked about their new working habits, now that coronavirus has forced managers and owners to change the structure of many workplaces.
The main findings showed that over a third of businesses highlighted that their communication within the business has actually improved and they are talking more than ever. Furthermore, 32 per cent say their teams are much more productive.
Over a third of companies that were surveyed said that they had now transitioned to a completely remote team, with a further 16 per cent saying that around 90 per cent of their workforce was now based at home, and 19 per cent saying around 75-90 per cent of their team was now home-based.
However, for some businesses, remote working is simply not an option, with nine per cent saying that they have had to close their doors completely.
Interestingly, 23 per cent of those surveyed said that their staff had never worked from home before the lockdown.
Many companies now face the decision of whether to furlough staff in order to save jobs and their businesses. Fifty-nine per cent of the businesses said that they had already had to furlough staff or were having to seriously consider it, in order to keep things running.
With a large number of companies now having to operate out of the homes of their employees, new or revised ways of communication and working have had to be implemented. Where meetings and face-to-face conversations once helped employees to keep working efficiently, technology has now had to take their place, in order to help those in isolation.
Many employees will be familiar with the equipment they use day-to-day in order to complete their work, but when forced to do this outside of the workplace, things can be tricky. Some employees may find that the equipment they have available at home does not meet the standard of that in their workplace. This has meant that 38 per cent of businesses have had to invest in extra software or technology according to the study.
The biggest challenge highlighted was around ways of communication, not just between teams but also between the companies and their customers. Where once customers or clients could call a business direct, now personal mobile or home landline numbers are being used.
Some 42 per cent of businesses shared that they are receiving a lot fewer calls at the moment. Over a third, however, said that they are experiencing a lot more calls. Furthermore, 23 per cent added they are receiving about the same number of calls as before lockdown.
Many companies have had to adopt technology that they wouldn’t usually use, such as instant messaging services like WhatsApp. Just under half of the businesses said that they had been required to implement software, such as an Intranet or social platform, in order to keep lines of communication open and clear.
Over a third of businesses highlighted that their communication within the business has actually improved and they are talking more than ever. However, 25 per cent admitted that communication in the business is worse as it’s difficult to keep in touch.
At this time, businesses are also seeing the benefit of having a direct line to their customers and clients. With online or phone communication the only way to interact, 43 per cent said that calls and live chats are more important than ever, due to companies desperate to keep things afloat.
Although most of the businesses involved in the study have shown to have made the transition fairly smoothly, it has put a strain on those that are unable to do so. Communication has always been an integral part of effectively running a business and that has never been more true than right now says Moneypenny.
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