The rise in social housing providers enabling a remote workforce is continuing to increase. Many associations are recognising the benefits of flexible working, including better productivity, significant energy and cost savings as well as happier employees.
In fact, a recent report highlighted that 79 per cent of housing association employees are satisfied with working from home and would like to work from home more often in the future.
But for a flexible working policy to be successful, housing associations need to have the right technology in place. However, with numerous housing sites, thousands of residents, and a number of departments, including contact centres, to consider, enabling a remote workforce and choosing the most effective IT solutions can be a minefield.
We outline below what housing associations should be considering when enabling a remote workforce.
To enable any employee to work from home, organisations need to be supported by an all-encompassing connectivity solution, which should allow secure connections to cloud services.
A cloud based digital infrastructure allows some or all of an organisation’s applications and data to be hosted in a public, private, community or hybrid cloud platform. It allows housing associations to digitise its processes, whilst also simplifying employees’ access the organisation’s server and internal documents, from any location.
Digital Space is a Government approved supplier on the G-Cloud 12 framework which provides a comprehensive list of suppliers that provide cloud solutions. This takes away the need to tender and creates a competitive marketplace of services, saving invaluable time and cost.
Contact centre staff take thousands of call each day from suppliers, tenants and other employees, but insufficient broadband or high data usage can lead to call being cut off or going unanswered. Contact centre staff, therefore, need to have a cloud–based telephony solution in place, such as Mitel’s MiCloud Flex, which can help employees handle calls and instant chat from their home.
With the right telephony solution, employees are able to continue delivering the same level of service and call response rate to tenants as if they were in the office. They can also collaborate easily with supplier and colleagues who are spread across many different locations. A cloud telephony solution can also collect, store and analyse all information supplied, meaning that the employee has all call data available to them at home. This can save invaluable time for all parties involved, helping queries to be resolved as soon as possible.
To ensure effective and productive working from home, the employee needs secure access to files and the ability to collaborate with other colleagues across various departments, as if they were in the office. Cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft 365 can help organisations work smarter as employees can access, share and edit files securely from an office desktop, tablet or mobile, in any location. For instance, a contractor on a new building site can access plans on a tablet, while the planning department can access the same files from a laptop in their own homes.
Virtual online video conferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams also enhances productivity, by allowing those at home to communicate and maintain face to face contact with colleagues, tenants and suppliers. This takes away the need for meetings to be held in offices if not required and employees don’t have to visit tenant homes for appointments.
Choosing a suitable IT provider for enabling a remote workforce in social housing
No two social housing organisations are the same. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ technology solution, so careful consideration needs to be given to ensure absolute fit for your connectivity, productivity and security requirements.
Today, forward-thinking social housing providers choose to seek professional advice before enabling a remote workforce. A managed IT provider, for instance, has high level experts on hand, who can provide a tailored consultation and advice on the best IT solutions to meet objectives and strategies.
At Digital Space, we can help a social housing provider develop scalable and optimised infrastructure. To find out more, have a look at our social housing remote workforce webpage.