Could remote working mandates hold lasting benefits?

Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. As SMBs across the world adapt to unprecedented changes in their working practices, what will it take to survive – and thrive – in new conditions? Will the working world transform permanently? And is it possible to turn on-the-fly adjustments into the foundation for a more resilient business?

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In early March, Lenovo research found that 88% of large enterprise employees felt they could be ready to work completely remotely if required. And 95% of these large enterprises had taken steps to prepare for remote working with some combination of additional tech, communication software and training materials.

But SMBs don’t always have the same resources to divert into preparations. And even robust remote working policies might need to evolve when a whole company goes virtual overnight.


Remote working goes all-in

It’s one thing to work remotely for a few days every week. In fact, 63% of employees say it makes them as – if not more – productive. This may be due, in part, to the way they organise their time. Many employees do ‘deep work’ remotely and complete collaborative tasks on-site. So, what changes when everyone’s remote?


Four ways to maintain productivity in an all-remote world

Let go of what you can’t control…

Of the employees who felt less productive at home, 42% cited distractions like TV and phones as a problem. And 32% said they had difficulties separating work and family life.

The bottom line? Nobody can actually remove distractions. So, make sure employees can block them out. Comfortable and lightweight noise-cancelling headphones, like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC ones, help employees focus all day.


…and think bigger about what you can.


Research suggests that the right cues from our environment can switch our brains into a more focussed state. So, what if we thought less about remote working and more about ‘offices for one’?

Yes, it means making sure employees have all of the accessories – like monitors, Bluetooth keyboards and headsets – that they have on site. But it also means working with employees to create an office-from-office environment that gives them the right cues for productivity. And discussing everything from desk chairs to stationary.

Some employees will miss their constant desk set-up, and some will miss switching from canteen to break-out space and beyond. So, consider investing in greater flexibility. The ThinkPad X1 tablet, for example, allows employees to switch between tablet and laptop mode. And, in a paperless remote world, the ThinkPen Pro makes signing documents or working on drawings easier.


Remove the big weakness of remote working…

To come up with creative solutions that push businesses forward, people need to bounce ideas off each other. But conference or video calling can be stilted and time-consuming compared with face-to-face.

One option is to give employees access to spontaneous, high-fidelity collaboration with accessories like the new Lenovo SmartView. Sitting separately to their laptop, it lets them join calls with one touch and keep working at full speed (without straining their laptop’s performance). Virtual laser-pointing can help speed up communication too – and with accessories like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Presenter Mouse, employees can have it to hand all the time.


…and actively protect its strengths.

Many of those who work remotely as part of their normal routine appreciate the relief it brings from constant meetings and questions. But when a whole company moves online, there can be pressure to respond quickly at all times.

The key is to implement processes and policies to protect deep working. So, let employees divide up their week and consolidate collaboration. Or draw up guidance on when and how employees can ‘go to ground’. Get detailed help with creating these policies in this Enabling Remote Workforce Collaboration webinar.


Ready for the unexpected

Remote working isn’t going away. In fact, 77% of surveyed employees think this period of change will make companies more open to flexible working in the future. Which makes getting things right in this time doubly important – not just to surviving, but to building a company that’s ready for a new working world.

According to market research, the right investments in uncertain times will improve normal operations in the future too (find out more about this in the Enabling Remote Workforce Collaboration webinar). Creating an ‘office for one’ allows employees to work better both remotely and on the spot. High-quality headphones, laser-pointing mouses, conference-calling facilities and carefully thought-through policies can give employees access to the best bits of the office remotely, and the best bits of remote working on site. Which makes your business more agile under all circumstances.


From fighting fires to crafting strategies

If you’re looking find opportunity in instability, develop your strategy further with productivity-boosting advice in this webinar. It runs through what effective remote working policies have in common, and how to deploy hardware or maintain security from afar. Plus, it goes into more detail on which investments will strengthen your business in the long-term.