Firms are more flexible on remote working, but meetings are still a time suck.
We all know that feeling; patiently and politely sitting in a meeting while someone ponders over the conclusion or point that you already worked out in your brain 10 minutes earlier. Meanwhile, that report you ought to have finished by now and those calls you need to make aren’t being tended to. Your mind is screaming blue murder, your nerves straining to near-breaking point, but your face is a vision of icy calm, almost reflective … like a bloody picture postcard Norwegian fjord.
You are not alone. According to new research by Blueface – the Dublin voice over IP (VoIP) player that recently merged with US cloud giant Star2Star – around 81pc of us believe that meetings are a complete time suck and the most disruptive activity in our working day.
‘Employees are expecting more flexible work arrangements, customers are demanding more responsiveness from companies, and the challenge is now for CEOs to embrace the change required within their organisations to address these needs’
– BRIAN MARTIN
You lose some, and then you win some. There is some good news, a little bit of silver lining in the cloud, as around 78pc of businesses in Ireland have some kind of a remote-working policy in place, which allows employees greater flexibility in choosing where they want to work, enabling them to win back some of that lost or stolen time.
The past, the present and the future of work
Due to the rapid growth of the Irish workplace, remote-working policies will rival the popularity of fixed office locations by 2025, rendering the future workplace unrecognisable.
This is largely made possible by the rise of technologies such as broadband and the resultant adoption of communication technologies such as VoIP. Around 35pc of businesses use VoIP. Older communications practices such as faxing (45pc) and voicemail (75pc) are also still in use by firms in Ireland.
“Employees are expecting more flexible work arrangements, customers are demanding more responsiveness from companies, and the challenge is now for CEOs to embrace the change required within their organisations to address these needs,” explained Brian Martin, senior vice-president of Blueface.
The study echoes a similar sentiment voiced in a remote-working report by job site Indeed, which found that, by the end of 2017, the number of Irish people searching for jobs using the term ‘remote’ surged 171pc. This is because technology advances have led to companies adopting more flexible approaches to remote working – and, according to Indeed, workers are responding.
Perhaps realising that retaining workers rather than losing them is a wiser policy, 69pc of companies surveyed by Blueface have introduced a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy into the workplace, allowing employees to use personal devices to access business materials. However, 31pc still prohibit this on the grounds of data protection and security.
And firms are actually right to be scared. The Blueface Business Communications Technology Insight report for 2018 found that 57pc of large companies with more than 200 employees have endured malicious hacking or phishing attempts in the last 12 months.
So, as we stumble forward to the new working realities, it is clear there is a trade-off.
Remote working will help to productively counter the disruptive effect of meetings, and bosses no longer have to fear that employees are dossing.
However, greater freedom also implies greater risk, and, in a world of BYOD and less supervision, employees stand a greater chance of clicking on that spear-phishing email or virus.