If you cast your mind back to pre-2020 times, “hybrid”, “agile” or “flexible” working was already becoming a major selling point for companies to employees.
A 2019 survey by Jellyfish Training found that 44% of UK employees cited hybrid working as the most important element of a job, while 37% said they would even be willing to take a pay cut in return for flexible working hours.
From a practical standpoint, the limitations of an office-only work culture are increasingly obvious in our broadband-connected, emails-on-your-smartphone, instant-messaging world. So why waste valuable time commuting on clogged up public transport and roads when we can work perfectly fine remotely?
Even so, the idea of the workforce truly splitting their time between the office and home remained firmly hypothetical for many, with in-person working the standard.
But then coronavirus hit, and everything changed.
Office-based businesses were suddenly forced to conduct an experiment that they had not yet had the nerve to try: how well can their workforce really work from home?
As it happens, fairly well: according to Deloitte, 55% percent of UK workers believed that productivity stayed the same or increased during lockdown, while 61% said they would prefer to continue working from home more often after the pandemic.
On the other hand, there’s recognition of the fair share of advantages of in-person work:
- 45% missed the social interaction of the workplace
- 31% believe they work better collaboratively in person
- 25% find it easier to network in person
With this mixed bag of results, hybrid working seems inevitable. To adequately respond to this demand, businesses are going to have to give serious consideration to how technology fits into this arrangement, which presents CSPs with an exciting opportunity to flex to new requirements.
CSPs will be a key player in enabling hybrid working to succeed; businesses across all industries and sectors are going to rethink their approach to helping employees stay connected and productive, possibly on a repeated and ongoing basis.
So aside from simply providing the hardware, software, connectivity and cloud computing, CSPs are going to have to tailor hybrid home-business packages as standard, improve Small-office/home-office (SoHo) bundles, and be capable of configuring packages to diverse requirement sets.
Strengthen your 5G offering for remote working demands
5G is a major player in shaping telecommunications, with 92% of providers worldwide planning deployment by 2022, and about 75% of businesses predicting that 5G will be embedded in their processes in the next 5 years.
An increasingly remote workforce will only strengthen businesses’ commitment to getting the best mobile connectivity for their teams. Service providers need to demonstrate that they are ready to meet that demand.
Walk the walk
CPSs should lead by example and show that they have been able to keep their workforce productive and happy while transitioning to a hybrid model.
Nokia recently announced that, from 1 January 2022, they will be providing the choice to all their employees to work up to three days per week from home, and increase support for even more flexible working hours, in order to “reflect Nokia’s open, fearless, and empowered cultural essentials and support inclusion and equal opportunity, while retaining productivity”.
Not only does this act as positive PR for Nokia, but it also confirms that they themselves are confident that the hybrid working system will work for them, inspiring confidence in customers.
Other telecom providers have dedicated pages on their websites recognizing the impact of hybrid working, and reassuring customers that they understand their concerns and needs.