What’s the value of an empty desk? How homeworking could help balance the books

How has the business landscape changed? Let me count the ways.

COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the way we do business - that much is clear. So much about the infrastructure, processes, operations and technologies we relied on just a few short months ago has shifted. We’ve adapted enormously - and admirably - having been forced to bring businesses up-to-date with a bang, enabling and embedding new remote working policies and procedures at speed.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned of a 'recession like we've never seen' -  a stark and sobering statement that undoubtedly brought more anxiety to business leaders already struggling to balance the books.

But even as we face this challenging period, many among us can already recognise the excitement that these new ways of working present. Our newly increased reliance on technology has pushed many of us out of our comfort zone, and taught us new tolerance - and dare I say it - enjoyment of working methods we would previously never considered.

So, rather than reiterate the various peaks and troughs of the past few months, I want to write about a new solution. One that could help businesses of all sizes couple the needs of the new normal with a significant reduction in OpEx, that’s easy to manage with one single and flexible contract. One that has UK call centre support, 24/7, 365, which prevents your employees battling for bandwidth in their homes.

 

New thinking for the new normal

Barclays’ Chief Executive, Jes Staley, made headlines a few weeks ago by speculating that having thousands of workers in expensive offices may be a thing of the past, and stating that the bank was reviewing its ‘location strategy’ long term.

This is pretty big news. Businesses have made noises for years about better empowering employees through flexible, remote working - but very few have actually put in place the required tools and technologies to make it happen effectively. Many cite issues such as security, productivity and loss of control as reasons why they’re reluctant to commit.

But now, Barclays are putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak. And this bold move from a Big Five bank, no less. A company for which security is critical.

So my question to you: if Barclays - a leader in a traditionally risk-averse industry, and a company that employs over 70,000 people globally - can embrace remote working for the long-term, why not you?

Is this the death of the office? Doubtful. But it’s certainly a clear and fairly elegant solution to the two major ‘new normal’ issues businesses are facing: cutting costs and protecting employees from COVID.

 

A fundamental strategic shift

Let’s not downplay the monumental shift in mindset that a wholesale transition from HQ to homework requires. Back in January, it would’ve been unthinkable. But now? Now it’s nothing new. The upheaval’s already happened. So what can we do with it?

While we used to ‘talk the talk’ on issues of flexibility, agility, and employee empowerment, the last few months have forced us to put words into action. The next step is to capitalise on that accelerated learning. What a waste it would be not to.

 

Firmer foundations for critical infrastructure

The future of work is distributed. And you’ve probably got many of the tools and technologies in place to empower this on a day-to-day level.

IT teams up and down the country have been working overtime to get second screens and wireless mice out to employees; HR Managers have had to devise and implement new policies to take flexitime to the next level; middle management’s been busy researching and rolling out collaborative tools, and working out how to keep everyone connected from afar.

These changes offer an effective framework for making homeworking the new normal. But what they lack is a firm, strategic, deliberate foundation. COVID-19 isn’t a temporary blip - we’re going to be living with it for the foreseeable future - so we need to rethink our fundamental infrastructure too.

From headquarters to home quarters

With that philosophy in mind, my colleagues and I at TalkTalk Business have been thinking about how we can evolve our offer to better support businesses and empower distributed workforces across the UK. This has resulted in the launch of our Homeworker fibre packages - a suite of solutions that we hope will support businesses like yours in formalising - and getting the most from - their new, remote-working culture.

 

We’ve seen first hand how well our workforce has adapted to remote working, and we’re committed to continuing to adapt our operations to support it long term. The launch of our homeworking offer is a natural evolution of our Fibre for Every Business pledge, which aims to ensure every business has access to a fibre connection by 2025, in line with the government’s full fibre roll out. The pandemic, and its impact on ways of working, has added a new criticality to this roll-out.

 

Business-grade internet forms an essential part of your IT strategy. You wouldn’t dream of putting a residential line into a centralised HQ. Now your HQ is somewhat scattered, you need to find ways to better connect it. It’s becoming increasingly clear that outlay on ‘official’ office space is better spent elsewhere.

 

As traditional desk-use dwindles, consider minimising overheads by empowering home working. You can install secure, reliable, affordable, business-grade connections for your distributed workforce. You can remove the common frustrations homeworkers experience with their residential connections, and consolidate business costs at the same time.

You can find out more about our bespoke Homeworker fibre packages here. Or get in touch on 03301 624 658 to discuss your requirements, and we’ll build you a package that’s totally tailored to the needs of your business. 

There’s very little value in an empty desk. This is a real chance for businesses like yours to make a step change in the way they operate - to reduce overheads and minimise operational costs, without sacrificing productivity.

These kinds of opportunities don’t come around often. So what will you do?