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Schools out for summer, Alice Cooper has made a few for dollars with extra airplay in America and Mums & Dads all over the UK are thanking their lucky stars that home schooling is over. And I bet a few of them have realised that the teacher wasn’t the problem, turns out the teacher was right, little Johnny is a little shit after all.
I remember being a kid and going to my local town centre and being really frustrated that I’d only just broken up from school and yet all the shops were urging Mums & Dads to get us ready for “Back To School”. No sooner had I celebrated finishing school I was being whisked into Clarkes to bag myself a sensible pair of shoes for September before the best shoes had sold out. Then it was off to Woolworths to get a new set of pens and a Helix maths set.
As much as that frustrated me as a kid, now as a Dad and a business owner I see the value of planning. This lockdown has affected lots of people in lots of different ways. For some it’s been a total disaster, and some have loved it. Some have been back at work for a long time now and some are still sitting in their garden with balancing a Pina Colada in one hand and their laptop in another.
The fact is plenty of people could have returned to the office already but have simply chosen to remain at home because it works for them, their work/life balance and after all, the suns out, right. But the time will come when most people do decide to return to the office, and for most people I reckon that will be September. The sun will be setting earlier, the temperature will dip and most importantly, the kids will go back to school.
The value of working together in an office environment is all those little sidebar face to face conversations that happen off the cuff, what Alice Cooper’s countryfolk would call “A water cooler moment”. Overhearing a colleague’s comment and picking up on it, all those priceless snippets that you just don’t pick up on working from home during the weekly sales or operations Zoom meeting. The problem is, unless most people are back in the office that doesn’t happen. What’s the point in going back to a mostly empty office?
So roll on roll on September when we all go back to normal, right? Wrong. It will never go back to the way it was, not fully. People who have never worked from home have now seen how it can work for them, at least in part. And people who were previously championing it now feel vindicated and will do it more. But if that happens the way we communicate has to improve.
We have called nearly a hundred companies in the last couple of weeks where we have been told Mr/Ms X is working from home, so we couldn’t be put through to them, and in this day and age, that’s simply not good enough. You would have been given leeway in the early days of lockdown but loads of firms have now got themselves sorted out with VoIP telephony for homeworkers, and if you haven’t then you need to fast, because come September those excuses won’t stack up anymore. If anybody calls your company and would normally be able to speak to one of your team if they were in the office, they should be able to speak to them if they are working from home. No excuses.
If there is a second spike of Covid or any other type of business interruption, customers will expect you to be more prepared than any of us were this time. A well planned out VoIP system allows you to pick up your desk phone (or Softphone & laptop) on a Friday and work from home on Monday, with full functionality. With access to all your internal transfers, speed dials, presence – to see when your colleagues are on call or not, not to mention you’re dialling out from your office number, not a personal mobile. And if you’re using call recording, calls made from home on your VoIP device are all recorded too. Long story cut short, it’s just a proper way of doing business. Diverting calls to mobiles or saying somebody is unavailable because they’re WFH just isn’t acceptable in this day and age.
If it’s time for you to upgrade your old phone system and join the VoIP revolution, then give us a call on 01375 363263, that’s our office number but we’ll probably answer it from, home, in the garden with a Pina Colada. But remember, Winter Is Coming.