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Can we really have our cake and eat it?

Post written by Mike Hague, director of customer excellence here at etiCloud

A recent survey carried out by employee engagement specialists, Wildgoose, revealed that 74% of UK employees ‘want to continue working from home after the lockdown is over’. No surprises there. Those respondents also went on to say they’d like ‘more social contact with workmates’. Both answers lead to the question: how? How can this be achieved? Can we really have our cake and eat it?

It goes without saying that the pandemic has undoubtedly changed our entire attitude and approach to work. Back in March 2020, offices across the country closed and millions of us found ourselves at home. But what happened when we got there? If you were lucky, your employer had implemented a remote infrastructure several years ago. If not, you may have found yourself stranded, struggling to access the things you needed to do your job and frustrated at the inadequacy of your company’s IT provisions. Technology gaps suddenly became glaringly obvious.

Each of us had to reset and adapt but some of us more than others. Those businesses that were already ‘digitally agile’ found themselves ahead of the game. Their employees saw little change to their working day, apart from maybe jostling for a place at the kitchen table or battling with the obvious distractions that working from home for the uninitiated can present (step away from that biscuit tin!).

The truth is we all took our workplaces, and everything they offer, for granted. None of us ever dreamed we’d not set foot in them for weeks on end or see our colleagues every day. And, be honest, you had to Google the word ‘furlough’ right? I know I did. What we did soon realise was, however, our workplace could no longer be one single location. It had to be everywhere we were.

For the team here at etiCloud, our Agile Digital Workplace came into its element. When lockdown was announced, our clients simply ‘went home’ and continued business as usual. There was zero disruption and working from home quickly became the new way of office life.

Our clients already knew that they could be flexible about how and where they did their job. They knew they could work anywhere, anytime because they’d been doing it for months, years. And they knew it worked. It helped their firm grow through increased productivity and, what’s more, they knew they didn’t ever have to worry about their IT. They were already working within an Agile Digital Workplace, they knew the benefits and they were content.

As we navigate our way out of the current lockdown, thoughts are turning to the future way of working. Not only are we still unclear about when we’ll be allowed back out into the big wide world again, there are huge question marks around the impact it’ll have regarding how (and where) people work in future. Back full-time to the office? If so, have you got the flexibility you now need to keep your business running effectively? Going full-time remote working? Or a hybrid of both? Based on the results of the Wildgoose survey and what we’re hearing from clients, I predict many believe this is the way forward.

What’s for certain is that all three models require flexibility. As such, if you haven’t already got the level of flexibility required to be digitally agile, you must act now. You need to shape your firm’s environment to be adaptable enough to how things need to work, in a future that now has to include that flexibility. A ‘sustainable way of working’ and the numerous commercial and social benefits if can provide, is the way forward for all of us.

Oh, and the answer is, yes. With our Agile Digital Workplace, you really can have your cake and eat it.

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