Solutions That Can Resolve Mixed Feelings of Remote Working

Date: Wed May 18 Author: Chelliah Nakeeran

The pandemic may be over, but many companies are still encountering the upheaval of remote working. Employees have mixed views which have left business owners with decisions to make and solutions to find.

A survey published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) revealed that people working from home fared better than many expected. Productivity was stable, parents were able to spend more time with their families and the woes of commuting were eradicated.

Most glaringly the WEF forum highlighted employees have mixed views – and strong views – on remote working.

  • 66% of the respondents surveyed confirmed they prefer flexible working arrangements and said they wanted to continue working from home once the pandemic is over.
  • Almost a third are prepared to quit their job if the company they work for does not offer the flexibility of remote working.

Employees that favour remote working are generally mothers with school-age children, those under 35 that want work-life balance and people with higher incomes.

People that advocate for a full-time return to the office are employees that prefer to be around their workmates or feel isolated and lonely working from home. They are usually single.

What are the Pros and Cons of remote working?

Media reports about remote working are mixed. Some say employees prefer working from home, others say the majority prefer the office. HR managers have said that encouraging employees to work in the office full-time is becoming increasingly difficult.

The happy-medium seems to be hybrid working whereby employees spend two or three days in the office and two or three days at home. The alternative is that employees that like to be around other people find a company in coffee shops or coworking spaces.

A hybrid model works for both parties as well. Whilst a distributed workforce is more difficult to manage, it does allow companies to cut the costs involved in renting office space. And because employees spend less money on commuting and office day lunches, there is an opportunity to lower salaries.

Advantages 

Better work-life balance

More freedom

Improved employee satisfaction

Reduction of infrastructure costs

Increase in productivity

Less commuting

Disadvantages 

Lack of personal connection

Loneliness and isolation

Zoom fatigue

Challenges with collaboration

Advantages of Coworking Spaces 

In order to accommodate an entirely happy workforce and foster the advantages that remote working offers, consider coworking spaces. There are several advantages.

One of the key benefits of renting coworking spaces with BluDesks is it gives you the flexibility your employees want and helps managers to organise a distributed workforce.

There are also opportunities to expand your network with other companies that share the same space – including talented freelancers that may come in useful for one-off projects; web designers, content writers, graphic designers, developers etc.

In addition, coworking spaces typically organise keynote speakers which can provide insights into various aspects of the business including innovation, emerging markets, and trends. This type of professional talks that inform and inspire.

4 Benefits of Coworking Spaces

Reduce Infrastructure Costs 

Lowering operational costs can present companies with more opportunities to expand in the market. The money you save can be invested into new product designs or marketing campaigns that expand your reach and visibility.

However, it is worth noting that reduced costs may not always be the case. The majority of coworking spaces tie companies to long-term contracts. Whilst you can pay this on a convenient month-to-month basis, the contracts usually include payments for things you are not using such as desks, private offices and meeting rooms.

BluDesks offer a different solution. All our facilities are available on a pay-as-you-go basis. That means you only need to rent space when you need it, and you only pay for the time you book.

With our model, you have more control over your spending and really can save on overheads. What’s more, we host multiple coworking spaces on our website that you can book with a single membership pass and one login.

This makes booking office space more convenient and gives you more options to book private offices and meeting rooms anywhere in the city you live. We have registered thousands of coworking offices around the world, so no matter where you are, BluDesks probably has a remote working solution for you.

The coworking spaces on offer are also fully-equipped with various technologies such as wide-screen TVs, overhead projects, printers, photocopiers and charging points. So you won’t need to invest in typically office technology either.

Easier to Collaborate

Whilst cloud-based technologies claim to make it easier for co-workers to collaborate easier in remote locations, the benefits are limited. You can work on the same documents and have quick chats and virtual meetings but beyond that, collaborators miss out on all the benefits of being in the same space.

Companies that are either pivoting to a hybrid model and don’t have enough space to accommodate a dedicated, full-time team, or if you’re doing away with the office and deploying a distributed workforce altogether, coworking spaces bring teammates together.

Face-to-face interactions are typically more productive and innovative than sporadic chats on instant messengers and the odd virtual brainstorm. It’s the conversations and examples that employees have when they’re together which produce the best ideas.

Integrate New Starters

New starters can feel isolated and confused if they are asked to work remotely when starting with a new company. It’s important for businesses and their employees to have a mutual understanding of culture, work preferences and strengths.

People also have an innate need to feel as though they belong. The workplace, therefore, becomes especially important considering the amount of time we spend at work.

Helps to improve potential mental illness

The major complaint with remote working was feeling lonely and isolated. The lack of engagement with other people is not good for mental health or emotional wellbeing.

Without the mental breaks, employees are more likely to suffer from burnout, work less efficiently and take sick leave. Being in solitude for long periods can even make people anxious.

Coworking spaces help to resolve the potential for mental health problems. Studies show that the social aspect of the workplace fosters good mental wellbeing, and the majority of employees that have been surveyed said it was the social interaction with their work colleagues that they missed the most during a lockdown.

Is Remote Working Effective?

It’s perhaps too early to answer the question as to whether remote working is effective or not. Only time will tell. However, the initial signs are that remote working does have benefits for both employers and employees – if you take advantage of solutions like coworking spaces.

BluDesks offers even more advantages to employers and employees, so no matter how you feel about remote working, we are confident we can find solutions that meet the needs of everyone.

Pivoting To A Hybrid Model? Here’s What You Need

Date: Tue May 3 Author: Chelliah Nakeeran

As employees return to the office, many companies expect requests for more flexible work options. According to McKinsey, 68% of organisations do not have a plan or a vision for pivoting to a hybrid model.

On the one hand, employees want more flexibility and autonomy. On the other, they want to spend time around their work friends and collaborate in person with teammates.

Hybrid models ticks both boxes. However, the hybrid workplace complicates matters for personnel and office managers. Fortunately, there are existing solutions that make the transition to a hybrid model smoother.

The key is to encourage a culture that fosters the benefits of working from home with working in the office. Not everyone will want the same thing all of the time.

According to Gartner, companies need to accommodate four different work models.

  • Working together in collaborative teams in a shared space
  • Working apart as a member of a collaborative team
  • Working in a team but with an individual workload
  • Working remotely with an individual workload

The three solutions below facilitate all four working conditions.

Co-Working Spaces

A key benefit to a hybrid model is the capacity for businesses to reduce the amount of office space they need – and the overheads that come with it. For some companies, the potential cost savings of a hybrid model are huge.

However, you will probably still need a fully-working office to serve as a base and provide access to a variety of facilities employees need to perform their job to the best of their ability.

Whilst you could downsize and continue to rent a smaller office, co-working space is also an option. With BluDesks, you can rent office desks, private offices and meeting rooms by the hour.

A pay-as-you-go model typically turns out to be more cost-effective than renting office space and covering utility payments and maintenance costs.

BluDesks also gives you more options to find appropriate office space. With a single pass and login, we provide access to multiple co-working spaces that meet your needs and are in the most convenient locations.

Our business model is particularly useful for hiring meeting rooms. Let’s say, the meeting rooms in your office are fully booked, but there is a room free in an office around the corner.

There are also benefits for remote workers. Two colleagues that need to meet and live on the same side of town may find it more convenient to work together in a co-working space closer to their homes.

Cloud-Based Tools

Before the pandemic, cloud adoption was relatively slow. However, when world governments ordered lockdowns, cloud providers saw a 32% increase. Cloud computing was the only adoption and is an indispensable solution for companies that intend to pivot to a hybrid workplace.

The hybrid model relies on digital tools that can be accessed from remote locations and at the same time provide effective cybersecurity measures. Cloud-based tools are specifically designed to improve the interaction between co-workers in remote places.

Cloud-based tools facilitate collaboration through file-sharing, enhanced communication and more flexibility. Collaborative teams can work on the same document in real-time or separately.

Any changes that are made to co-working documents are highlighted with the editor’s name next to them. Everyone granted access to the document can make edits or comments on the document. Or you can set read-only options.

Communication tools foster instant messaging and virtual meetings. These channels are great for asking quick questions and even brainstorming.

If team members need a longer meeting that will be too intense for a video conference, they can either organise it when they’re all in the office or rent a meeting room for the afternoon in a co-working space that is most convenient for everybody.

Employees can also access a document stored in the cloud from anywhere and on any device. This gives your employees the option to work from anywhere and access cloud-based tools at convenient times. For example, catching up with emails during a commute.

Employees that prefer to be around people can also work in remote locations such as a coffee shop or hot desk in a co-working space.

Cybersecurity Plan

The move to remote working models has highlighted a need for effective cybersecurity measures to be put in place. Employees working from home are considered an easier target for hackers because home wi-fi networks, mobile phones and text messages are easier to penetrate.

Having said that, the threat of hackers can be dramatically minimised with the right cybersecurity plan. Whilst cloud tools and anti-malware programs give you some protection, additional layers of protection should be added.

The first place to start is to train your employees about cybersecurity risks. They should be aware of the various cybersecurity threats hackers use, how to identify phishing emails and how to avoid downloading infected documents.

Patch management should also be a priority. The software you use, at some point, will develop a security issue. These vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers. This is why software companies consistently release software updates that include security patches.

Other gateways hackers look to exploit are home wi-fi networks and mobile devices. Digital technologies such as virtual desktops and mobile device management build a safety net around remote devices too.

IT experts claim that virtual desktops are the answer to the hybrid security conundrum. Because virtual desktops operate on cloud servers rather than on-premise servers, they provide higher levels of cybersecurity.

Crucially, virtual desktops mimic your business network without actually providing direct access to it. Therefore, if an employee’s device is hacked, malicious actors would not be able to access your live data anyway thus preventing a possible ransomware attack.

The actions an employee performs throughout a normal working day are saved on the cloud but not backed up to your network until someone authorises a backup.

In addition, remote monitoring tools help IT personnel identify potential threats and block potential gateways at the source. For example, if a phone location and registered device do not match authorised personnel, whoever is trying to access your network is shut out.

Moving Your Cost Structure Needle with Hybrid Working

Date: Tue Nov 2 Author: Chelliah Nakeeran

With workforces spending far less time in the office than ever before, there is simply no need for the large and expensive office spaces that many businesses manage.  

But when considering ad-hoc needs for additional space, and issues of cultural and work practice, is it realistic to embed this strategy and the significant potential cost savings into next year’s Annual Operating Plan and Budgets? 

With strong leadership to drive coherent work practices for Hybrid Working. And with access to real Flexible Workspaces, the answer for most organisations is ‘yes’. 

It is significant 

Current (indicative example)  Hybrid  Saving 
150 desk-office in Central London at 1 desk per employee & 2-3 meeting rooms  Employees work in the Office for team culture / building for 1 day per week -> 30 desk office & 1-2 meeting rooms  Employee morale Carbon footprint Administration 
Annual cost at £500-600 per employee per month: £ 1 mn p.a.  Approximate annual cost: £ 200,000 p.a.  Space saving: £ 800,000 p.a. 

It is feasible 

Hybrid Working: The lockdown proved that managers in most organisations can modify work practices to adjust for home working. The end of lockdown therefore brings with it the realization that home working can be blended with the benefits of office working into Hybrid working arrangements. 

Real Workspace Flexibility: Ad-hoc needs for workspaces that result from downsized offices can be met without spending a significant amount of the office space cost savings. For example, BluDesks solutions include high quality meeting rooms and coworking spaces on a PAYG basis throughout the UK from just one-hour upwards (without any call for monthly commitments). 

What next? 

BluDesks would be more than happy to speak with you. Please drop a line to us at hello@bludesks.com for any enquiries. 

Or visit our website at: Remote Working Corporate Membership | Pay-As-You-Go| BluDesks 

 

National Work Life Week

Date: Thu Oct 14 Author: Chelliah Nakeeran

With National Work Life Week well under way, now is a great opportunity to focus on wellbeing in the workplace and the importance of a healthy work-life balance. In support of Working Families UK – a leading charity for workplace wellbeing – we would like to raise awareness for what can be done to promote healthy working practices for you and your business. 

 Although the past year has presented massive challenges for employers and employees alike, one positive development has become overtly apparent. The status quo of the 5-day work week in the office is a thing of the past. Modern circumstances have shifted in favour of Hybrid Home-Office Working. 

 There are numerous benefits to Hybrid Home-Office Working. Employees are able to spend more time with loved ones, they can reduce lengthy commutes (lowering carbon emissions) – each contributing to positive mental health work practices. 

 The wellbeing of employees and the wellbeing of a business as a whole are inherently connected.  Employee satisfaction, productivity, efficiency, and office space and management cost-savings can be dramatically improved.  

 And whilst hybrid working and downsized offices bring their own challenges, new flexible workspace offerings provide businesses with solutions to providing working environments where and when they’re required. Meeting rooms and co-working spaces that can be booked throughout the UK on a pay-as-you-go basis for short durations (from one hour+) facilitating important video meetings near employees’ homes, or as supplemental spaces near re-sized offices, can assist in the challenge. 

 Find out more about improving workplace wellbeing by visiting WorkingFamilies.org.uk and visit Remote Working Corporate Membership | Pay-As-You-Go| BluDesks to learn about real workspace flexibility. 

Hybrid home-office practicalities and the BluDesks Corporate Member Portal

Date: Sun Oct 10 Author: Chelliah Nakeeran

Hybrid home-office working models offer the potential to bring significant cost savings (reduced office space) and improved employee morale.

But are hybrid arrangements practical? What about ad-hoc needs for additional space, and even if these were available, wouldn’t buying be too complex for internal purchasing procedures?

Quick, simple and easy to navigate, the BluDesks Corporate Member Portal provides direct access to thousands of cost-effective flexible workspace rentals spanning 150+ cities across the UK and internationally that can be booked on a pay-as-you-go basis from durations of just one-hour upwards.

As an integral part of its Corporate Membership scheme, BluDesks’ versatile online portal not only allows members to book from over 1,200 available co-working spaces, meeting rooms and private offices, but is also fully customisable to suit the policies, procedures, systems and processes of your business.

Coordinating teams that operate various areas of responsibility has never been more efficient and hassle-free. With its bespoke online system, you can assign a lead person such as a Facility Manager, Purchasing Manager or Office Manager, and delegated authorised individuals such as Project Managers, Regional Sales Managers or Office Coordinators, to make and manage bookings on behalf of your company.

After booking and payment has been settled directly through the portal, sub-groups – such as accounting and purchasing teams – can be nominated to access an online dashboard to see and monitor all active and past bookings, payments and invoices, resulting in a streamlined, efficient and user-oriented system within your business.

Additionally, members can access multiple payment and invoicing options through the portal including Direct Debit, Deposit with draw-down reconciliation, or Company (and/or Personal) Credit Card.

With workspaces instantly available as hourly+ pay-as-you-go rentals through the Corporate Membership scheme, the BluDesks Corporate Member Portal is the most convenient, flexible and comprehensive service for real, flexible workspaces when and where facilities are required.

Please feel free to contact our amazing support staff at hello@bludesks.com to learn more about the BluDesks Corporate Membership Scheme.