Working remotely – the new normal? How can you help businesses adjust to a new, long-term reality?
Figures published earlier this year by Eurostat showed relatively low adoption of remote working among EU member states. Things have changed and businesses need to adapt and evolve for a more flexible future. MNOs have a key role in providing mobile-first B2B solutions that fit the new reality and help support organisational change.
Eurostat figures for 2018 highlighted the number of people who routinely work from home in the EU. At the time, the Netherlands scored highest, with 14% of those employed regularly working from home, with an EU average of around 5%. The data was published in February 2020.
That was then. As everyone knows, things have changed and, while some are returning to work, many are considering hybrid models, in which they may split time between office and home locations. It seems that, if you can work from home for your job, then an increase in the amount of time spent doing so will increase across the business population.
While recent events led to a sudden change in work patterns, the return to work will happen more gradually. Businesses responded to the change by adopting relevant tools and building out capabilities to support remote workers. Some of these solutions were in place, while others were adopted ad hoc in order to meet new demands. They served well in a time of crisis.
Organisations will adapt to accommodate greater flexibility and for better resilience
But, long-term, network and organisations will need to integrate remote working solutions into their DNA. A resilient organisation will be one that can disperse or contract its teams, as and when required. Network operators and, in particular MNOs, have a crucial role to play in building a more flexible workspace for the future – one that can meet new operational demands and provide the agility that businesses need.
There’s a host of questions to address. But, now’s the time to act, as businesses make long-term plans to adapt to new pressures and realities. Where do you start? Well, the first thing to do is to take a good look at the service portfolio. Are the correct tools are available and accessible?
Do you have the right mobile B2B toolkit?
Is there a mobile PBX solution, to enable truly mobile remote working from any device and regardless of the available network? Is the corporate voice VPN available as a mobile package? Is integration with other systems, such as Microsoft Teams supported, so that mobile and fixed numbers can be used as client interfaces? Are these solutions promoted to existing and new clients, so that they can be easily discovered and adopted? Are different solutions available to suit the needs of different markets and segments?
What each of these has in common is the fact that they blend into a mobile-first approach. While other devices and home broadband may be available, it may also be sensible to default to mobile for communications, either some of the time or all of the time. Many households found bandwidth to be constrained, so separating applications across different connectivity paths turned out to be a handy trick.
And, at times of particularly network contention, mobile was often the most reliable interface, available with consistent QoS, particularly for voice. So, delivering either mobile-first or mobile fallback for additional resilience provides a strong message to businesses that MNOs are thinking about how to meet changing demands and to accommodate to new traffic flows.
An integrated approach
However, what’s needed most of all is an integrated approach that considers all communications needs and accepts a key fact: businesses will choose a wide range of tools, from different vendors. Neither MNOs nor other providers can expect a business to choose a single provider. If anything, the crisis has shown that businesses will act with agility to choose tools for specific situations, creating a diverse toolkit for different use cases.
But, they probably won’t switch mobile or broadband provider. They will depend on these partners for connectivity, so it’s important that these interfaces are fully leveraged. Broadband providers must manage capacity, but MNOs must deliver features and capabilities that can integrate mobility more tightly with other communications tools and provide the glue to bring them together with an underlying, robust framework.
Gintel helps you adapt and evolve to support your business customers
MNOs need to ensure they are ready to meet these requirements. With Gintel, a complete set of tools is available, both for core mobile B2B services as well as for integration with Microsoft TEAMS and other popular solutions. Sure, not everyone will stay working from home indefinitely, but organisations are adapting and it’s almost certain that the long-term average will grow significantly. MNOs need to help businesses adapt and evolve – as well as adopt new strategies for organisational resilience.