3 min read

Productivity has always been measured by attendance. With this no longer possible, how do we measure it now?

There has been a lot of talk about the up rise of remote working since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s likely business will never go back to where it was before. Indeed, at most, many organisations will only welcome back around 35% of people back into the office at any one time.

This calls into question the amount of office space organisations have and, critically, the function of the office in the future. Some thought leaders had already started transitioning their offices into collaborative workspaces, with fewer desks than employees and co-working spaces to encourage more remote working and cross-department collaboration.

WFH- productivity and collaboration

For many employees, however, there is an elephant in the room. In many cases, productivity has always been measured by attendance and presence in the office was required 9-5 each day, regardless of how much people actually got done on-site. COVID-19 has changed this, with organisations forced to enable widespread homeworking for entire workforces in order to promote safe social distancing.

Despite there being very few positives to come from the pandemic, one we can take is the opportunity for organisations to realise that people can be productive when not in the office. Forced to work from home during strict lockdown measures, even those who have always measured productivity by attendance were forced to ask and answer: “What do we do now?”

With little time to react, the first thing every organisation did was enable real-time communications and ensure every employee had access to videoconferencing, telephony, instant messaging (IM) and presence. Since long before COVID-19, these clever unified communications (UC) tools have launched into the buzzword ‘collaboration’. True collaboration, however, is a completely different thing and holds the key to measuring productivity remotely.

With a standard UC tool, you enable people to communicate with one another in real-time, from anywhere, on any device. Where this falls down is that, once you’ve had your call, finished your collaboration and hung up, it all disappears. These tools are vanilla; often, it doesn’t matter to an end user what VC software they are using – it all does the same thing.

This is where the ability to log chat sessions, save documents you’ve shared and websites you’ve visited, and make it all accessible after a call has dropped can begin to enable true collaboration and measure productivity as we continue to adopt more a hybrid approach to in-office and remote working.

It has long been said but never been more relevant that work is something you do, not somewhere you go. But it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve by having everyone working from home all of the time. Occasionally, two people in a room with a whiteboard is more productive than collaborating remotely – just as video is more personable than a blind telephone call.

Physical office space offers the opportunity to review what tools you need on site and, when bringing people into the office, understanding exactly why they need or want to be there. Offices should now be collaborative spaces, with careful consideration over layout and furniture as well as technology.

The future of hybrid working

There is no new normal! Change your business to ensure business continuity and safeguard your employees. Create a business that’s so flexible it is prepared for the future.

Now is the perfect opportunity for organisations to harness the remote collaboration technology they’ve already invested in – be it strategically or kneejerk – and ask the right questions to deliver successful collaboration post-COVID-19. By understanding what you want to achieve from your collaboration strategy, you can wrap tools around your business workstreams, instead of just shoehorning tools into them when circumstances dictate.

If you turned on Microsoft Teams because it’s part of your 365 package, how are you going to use it now? Teams and equivalents are much more than just a communication tool and must wrap around your business workstreams to form part of a long-term, sustainable collaboration strategy.

SCC can help you define this strategy. We work with our customers to articulate the are the art of the possible, helping them wrap collaboration tools around their business to deliver modern workplace strategies that enable increased efficiency that is measurable, and protected from the on-going disruption caused by COVID-19.

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Tags: Collaboration, collaboration tools, communication, home working productivity, homeworking, hybrid working, microsoft teams, productivity, remote work, remote working, sccavs, Teams