I see how much pressure there is for businesses to grow, how much there is to deliver and get really great results. How much competition there is out there, and you really don’t want to be out there spending money on things that don’t add value to the customer or helping you grow. When you think about all the travel cost of wasted meetings, all the time and energy of employees, having more engaged employees, helping people have more freedom in their life – happy people typically work harder, happy people typically stay longer, so we do find those companies that absolutely embrace flexible working do you have lower churn and they do have the abilities to attract better employees. New people coming into the work environment are looking for things slightly differently than before.
Challenges come from the employee, maybe they’re feeling a bit disengaged, maybe they are feeling remote, maybe they’re suffering from isolation and feel like their voice isn’t heard and they feel like they’re almost an individual contributor rather than part of a bigger goal or bigger company.
From an employer perspective they may have fear of people not working when they can’t see them, they haven’t got access to the information, then maybe a fear of the security of that information or the speed of that information getting to them. It’s really just about how you work together to benefit the business and the employees because it really shouldn’t be about flexible working it should be about smarter working.
Originally when people used to talk about remote working, you were truly remote – why do I say that, because actually you couldn’t get the information in your hand – so if you’re waiting for the post for that information or a fax that you couldn’t read let alone access from home – you just didn’t have access to the cloud, you were very remote. Flexible working is very different now because if you’re worried about having information you can grab the information by using technology. Although companies may be fearful of that, if you put the right security and data protocols in, you can give people access to the same information as if they’re in the head office or if they’re in their home or in a coffee shop.
Employees are expecting all this immediacy of response because they have it in their personal life at a very early age, so when they come to work, they expect just to have access to information. They expect quick responses with ridiculous response times and it’s really just breaking down the communication and it’s speeding everything up and that’s what the customer wants, they want quick responses, they want quality responses, speed has become such a critical differentiator now.
Bringing the right technology into the office and having that freedom to use your own device is paramount. That’s one stage of it. Having a culture where you openly share information and have access to information to make decisions is also vitally important and actually giving some freedom to do what you’re most passionate about also will help you attract that talent. When you’re looking for a job you often think there’s no good companies out there and when you’re looking for people you often think there are no good people out there, but guess what – there are some great people out there, they just may not have found your business and when they do find your business you’ve got to make it super attractive to them to join because high talent always has a way of having lots of choices.
I think the whole space of engagement and communication is growing at a rate of knots. When that happens, guess what, the physical location is less important – so it’s technology that’s enabling it. I like the way different technologies talk to each other, it’s quite cool how you think I started in that app and now I’m behind here using that, I think it’s getting more and more seamless, you won’t actually know what the technology is behind it, but what you’re enjoying is a nice user experience. We’re doing lots of things here at PowWowNow on how we can help people come into our path and have a great user experience, but actually to pivot off into lots of other solutions as their business grows or needs change. The user experience is still the same, so you’re familiar, it’s dead simple and it’s also very quick and productive to use.
It’s almost like you’ve got to take a leap of faith, what’s the worst thing that can happen? If it’s not working for you or the employee maybe you just need to adjust it, why not try something new because you might get some huge business benefits from it. I think it’s the fear of change and going back to some of that command and control status that needs to happen.