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Q&A: Are employers meeting the needs of their workforce?

Workplace habits have changed significantly in recent years thanks to recent technological developments such as increased connectivity and mobile devices.

We recently spoke to Andreas Koenig, CEO of Teamviewer, about the shift in employees' working habits and whether employees are doing enough to meet their needs.

1. The trend towards more mobile workplaces is gaining momentum, do you see this as a way of complementing the traditional office or is this the end of the traditional office as we know it?

We’re stepping into uncharted territory when it comes to our work life. Communication and collaboration advancements mean that you don’t have to be in the office to work to your full potential. In a survey of 1,000 office workers, conducted by TeamViewer, 83.5 per cent said that they don’t need to go into the office every day to be productive.

However, in order for mobile working to be successful, employees need the right tools. With the right collaboration technology, workers can stay connected to their clients and team members regardless of their location, increasing communication and supporting business decisions and growth. Only when this is achieved can we start thinking about abandoning our ideas of the traditional office.

2. What types of flexible working models and teleworking concepts have you seen at TeamViewer and how much of an impact do they have on today’s modern working environment?

Our experience with flexible working models is overwhelmingly positive – and we can certainly say that it brings about a variety of benefits for both employee and employer. That is why we are preparing comprehensive teleworking concepts for our own staff. This is certainly one of my most important projects.

3. How is it possible to bridge the gap between meeting the needs of both companies and the employee?

It’s clear that companies are not yet ready for the cultural change that comes with enabling flexible working. TeamViewer’s recent survey revealed that 42 per cent of office workers don’t have the ability to work flexibly but would like to have this option.

It’s clear that the UK workforce is keen for flexible working to become the norm. The culture shift now needs to come from the management levels within these organisations. The main issue holding businesses back from enabling more flexible working is the concern that not only will it be difficult to implement, but it will also be costly, time consuming and difficult to manage. None of this has to be the case.

As long as any concerns from the business are addressed up front and clear guidelines are in place on what is expected from employees who are working remotely or flexibility the culture change should be relatively straightforward, and the gap between employee want and company need can be bridged.

4. Do you think organisations are doing enough to fully understand and meet the needs of their employees?

It’s becoming increasingly common that employees are demanding how, when and where they want to work. However, nearly two fifths of UK officer workers said that their company’s IT department doesn’t encourage remote working and doesn’t make it easy. Interestingly, this figure goes up as the size of the organisation increases, rising to 44 per cent for companies with over 500 employees.

Companies need to respond to this if they want to continue to motivate their teams and attract and retain the best talent. To fully support today’s workforce, businesses need to realise that they can’t enforce rules that restrict flexible working. Instead they need to provide utilities that make it beneficial for the employees and the company. 

TeamViewer’s recent survey revealed that 72 per cent of UK office workers agree that being able to work remotely or flexibly makes them more effective in their jobs and 73 per cent also agree that having the ability to work flexibly or remotely makes them feel more valued as an employee, making them more likely to remain loyal to the organisation.

5. Have you noticed a shift in employees’ attitudes to remote working now that its popularity is increasing?

Technology, societal change and the rise of flexible, remote working and hot-desking are just some of the things challenging traditional office culture and driving the popularity of remote working. With this rise, employees’ attitudes have also shifted. They also have a heightened trust in the technology that makes remote working more achievable and expect to be able to communicate and collaborate with colleagues as easily as they do in the personal lives

6. How has the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) played a role in managing devices that do not have a conventional screen?

With Gartner forecasting 6.4 billion connected ‘things’ in use worldwide in 2016, rising to 21bn by the year 2020, we can expect an acceleration in projects and devices that harness the Internet of Things (IoT). Each of the millions of devices will need maintenance, repair and updates and many of these devices won’t have a conventional screen. This requires remote support that can connect to ‘headless’ devices that don’t have a monitor, keyboard or mouse.

Unattended access to android devices is also heralding many more opportunities for IoT projects. Android is not only the operating system of choice for smartphones and tablets but also many of the less than obvious devices that will make up the IoT, such as point of sale or advertising displays. 

The key will be the provisioning of remote support which is uncomplicated to access while ensuring security concerns, such as data protection are guaranteed.

Image source: Shutterstock/Chinnapong