By William Copley, Managing Director, Armstrong Bell  an established provider of tailored business network and communications solutions,

 - This follows mounting concerns that a lack of clarification over remote working is impacting economic recovery.

Despite this update, a vast percentage of UK organisations are not planning to uproot their remote working operation any time soon, as supported by a recent report from the Evening Standard, which revealed the ‘return to work' plans of the UK's leading FTSE 100 businesses.

Here, the policies of organisations like Anglo American, BAE Systems and Aviva are consistent in that a small percentage of staff have returned to the office under strict social distancing measures, with the majority continuing to work from home. A strategy that for many is unlikely to be reviewed until October 2020.

With a majority of the UK's businesses having experienced the benefits of remote working over the last 4 - 5 months, it has been predicted that COVID-19 will change attitudes towards remote working for the long-term, making long hours and late nights in the office a thing of the past.

However, while the pros of remote working like increased productivity and work life balance are clear to see for employers and staff members alike, there are a number of key things to consider.

Remote working beyond Zoom

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, use of video conferencing tool, Zoom, jumped 30-fold, with 300 million daily users participating in virtual meetings. As a result, paying customers more than tripled and the tech leader is forecast to close its current financial year with an impressive £1.4bn turnover, double its original forecast.

Zoom culture has certainly exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the majority of the UK workforce now used to communicating with colleagues, customers and suppliers via video calls. However, for businesses to sustain a long-term remote working policy, their strategy needs to move far beyond the realms of Zoom.

While many employees will have enjoyed an increased work life balance by working remotely, others will have felt isolated at home, fuelled by lack of guidance from senior colleagues or frustration in not having access to all relevant documentation to completely fulfil their job role.

For remote working to work long-term, be that a hybrid model that divides time spent in the office with time spent at home or 100% remote working, business leaders need to understand the importance of Connected Workspaces.

Built by simple, fast and flexible telecoms and connectivity solutions, Connected Workspaces allow employees to participate when they want, from where they want, with anyone; driving effective collaboration between team members, whilst ensuring the business can operate seamlessly from any remote setting, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

When implemented properly, a business upheld and connected by technology can adapt to any challenge, without drastically changing how, where and when people do their jobs.  Something we, as business leaders, now deem incredibly valuable in the wake of COVID-19.

Connected workspaces: The technology

Digital work environments that connect your business with suppliers and customers must be secure, seamless and reliable. From having the right IT equipment in place to investing in a comprehensive telecoms system that enables the easy transfer of calls between the office and business mobiles is an overlooked, but essential, requirement for businesses that require team members to collaborate effectively from remote settings.

To create secure a Connected workspace that has the ability to scale, business leaders need to consider the importance of Simple, Fast and Flexible technology. Where simple communication tools provide real-time and reliable collaboration through both audio and video conferencing, ensuring team members have access to fast, powerful and secure connectivity is key in increasing security and preventing any form of downtime.

Finally, the implementation of a flexible, digital work environment is key to enabling employees to deliver the same output and same level of service whether they are working from the office, at home or on the move.

Ultimately, COVID-19 will change how we work for the long-term, exchanging archaic perceptions of staff members sat at desks between 9 - 5 to measuring their success by productivity and output. However, this change will only prove successful if business leaders invest in the right technology and infrastructure.