The Benefits of an 'Always On' Culture
We live in a world that is constantly connected; a world where collaboration is encouraged via every piece of technology we own. We can share stories, opinions, jokes, and more, through our various online profiles. We communicate via telephone, over the internet and, now most prevalently, via video. In fact, by 2019 over 80% of all internet traffic will be video.
Here at Videocall, we understand that the way employees like to work is changing rapidly, with more focus on elements such as location, free time, job perks, and company culture. These elements are actively encouraged across many businesses and sectors, but why? What are the benefits?
It could be argued that an ‘always on’ culture creates a sense of obligation in the workforce. It is harder now more than ever to clock off and move from work to personal life without fear of reprisal. However, the always on culture does not need to be one that negates the work/life balance, but rather encourages it. In previous decades, the disgruntled employee hunched over a desk at 9pm surrounded by stacks of paper was a familiar sight. Whereas now, the office is wherever the employee chooses to be, and having that choice inspires the confidence in one’s ability to decide when the work day ends and when enough is enough.
We have put together a list of the benefits of an always on culture, and how any challenges can be combated easily with preparation and new policies.
- You’re giving power back to your employees
Depending on the age ranges of your employees, the office is either unrecognisable or it works alongside your lifestyle. Older generations, such as the baby boomers, will remember the 90s ‘cubicle farm’ office, lacking in personality and aimed at trundling out work quickly. The dotcom era was in full force, and even though young tech companies wanted to appear fun and modern, there were employees behind the scenes working in less than ideal conditions, by today’s standards at least.
With flexible and remote working simpler to achieve than ever, the cubicle farm ceases to exist. This is in favour of a working pattern more conducive to the needs of each individual employee, rather than the overall needs of the business as an entity. Yes, a company’s profitability is key, but an employee’s wellbeing is conducive to that end, and this is something the contemporary business is taking into account every day. The life of the digital nomad, i.e., an employee that can work as and when they want to via any device, is made possible by this kind of technology.
Cary Reyes, who has been working abroad for Polycom’s Remote Year program, says, “Fortunately, with the help of Polycom® RealPresence Desktop™, I have been able to meet with my manager face to face every day to ensure I know my priorities and have the opportunity to ask any questions. These daily check-ins have helped me succeed in my first month as a digital nomad. Knowing my exact deliverables and deadlines has helped me plan my days accordingly. It’s been important for me to feel part of the team and even halfway around the world, I don’t feel left out.”
Potential challenge: While an always on culture works for most people, it may cause stress to those who do not know when to switch off. The work day needs to come to an end, so expecting employees to read emails at 11pm is unfair. Policies need to be ironed out so staff understand when it is ok to log off and separate themselves from their work; this can be done simply as long as there is utmost clarity as to what is required of staff and when.
- You’re saving a significant amount of money
One of the most obvious and most important benefits of a connected company culture is the amount of money being saved. You may think that the always on lifestyle actually costs more money, due to expensive technology and support for staff outside of normal work hours. But actually, the initial expense of a cloud-based infrastructure will offer ROI very quickly. With a video conferencing solution such as our Polycom-powered ICE platform, employees can use their own device to connect to a personal virtual meeting room without the need to purchase and configure specific compatible hardware.
It is not just interoperability that cuts costs; a higher number of remote workers could lead to less need for expensive office space, meaning downsizing does not necessarily have to lead to fewer employees on the team. We discuss this in further detail in one of our previous blogs, and in our free whitepaper – you can download it here.
Potential challenge: Purchasing the best and most effective solution for your workplace is key. If you are unsure as to what you need and spend big money on something that may not be useful in the long run, you may struggle to see ROI. With Videocall, we do not dilute into other areas – we are just video – which puts us in prime position to guide your business to healthy adoption of video conferencing hardware and software.
- You’re promoting a contemporary work culture
For jobseekers, the promise of a technologically-advanced workplace is a significant draw. A company that actively promotes and encourages new ways of working is more likely to attract creative and open-minded candidates, which helps to further solidify a contemporary ethos. This will then lead to greater employee advocacy of your company; staff will enjoy speaking about the work they do to both customers and potential candidates, thus helping to draw in talented workers and trusting clients.
Companies may also run the risk of their current practices becoming old-fashioned or obsolete should they not adopt an always on mentality. For better or worse, the workplace has changed and so too have the mindsets of a large majority of global employees. Although political and social instability is rife in the UK post-Brexit, we are not seeing the clamouring of jobs that was visible in the wake of the 2008 recession. Simply put, UK workers are confident in their ability and what they deserve from their job, and a business that operates an always on policy is far more likely to retain good workers. Their life need not be put on hold, but can run alongside their working life in a positive and productive way.
Potential challenge: It is important to understand that while the majority of the workforce want modernity, there are still workers who prefer things the old fashioned way. In this instance, offering traditional methods that can work alongside the newer ones will help workers of all ages and backgrounds remain productive and able to work well with colleagues of any working style.
Download our whitepaper to learn more about how and why the workplace has changed, and what you can do to embrace the future. Alternatively, see our infographic, created with Polycom, and find out how to repurpose your space for video conferencing.