The Summer is half over but British weather means that you’re never actually sure when the warm weather will come and go.
Summer holidays can cause staffing problems for small businesses, so we asked Gary Young of Equinox to share some ways you can use technology smartly to keep staff and customers happy when the sun is shining.
With this July being the hottest ever across the planet, and the UK recording its hottest ever temperature, there are times when your team want to be able to enjoy the summer.
At the same time, as a Director, or owner, of your business, you need to ensure business continues as normal. Let’s look at how you can let your staff enjoy the summer without the business suffering…
Letting your staff isn’t simply a nice thing to do. There are many health benefits that come with exposure to summer weather. Healthy staff have less time off, so it is good for both parties.
Naturally produced by the skin when exposed to Ultraviolet B radiation. Vitamin D plays a big part in bone health, stopping diseases such as osteoporosis and ostemalacia.
Produced by the brain when you are exposed to natural sunlight, serotonin boosts your mood and helps people to feel calm and relaxed. We all know that relaxed and calm staff do better work and deliver great customer service.
You know that too much exposure to the sun increases your chances of getting skin cancer, but research shows moderate amounts of sun exposure has cancer preventative benefits.
Preventing skin conditions
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that sun exposure can also help skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
Trust is vitally important in the performance of any business. With research showing that managers don’t trust their staff, and 20% of staff don’t trust their managers, there is something really wrong in many companies, hopefully not yours.
If you are going to let your staff enjoy the summer, you have to trust your staff to do their jobs, particularly if they aren’t sitting in the office. If you don’t trust them, and they don’t trust you, this is never going to work.
Relax the dress code
As the temperature climbs, comfort levels drop if you have to dress formally for work. A suit and tie become increasingly uncomfortable and the mercury rises.
In today’s business world, particularly for staff who don’t need to meet customers, is it really necessary for them to meet strict dress codes? The more comfortable your staff are, the better they will work.
Chances are, the air conditioning won’t need to be set quite so low as well – saving you money on your utilities bills!
More and more people want to be able to work when they want to work. If the summer weather is good, does it really matter if your staff work early in the morning and into the evening?
For some industries (retail, emergency services, hospitality, call centres etc.), there is a requirement for people to work specific hours to ensure the organisations are able to deliver on their commitments, but for many others, as long as the job gets done, does it really matter when it happens.
Of course, there needs to be some give and take on both sides, but it is the end result that really matters, isn’t it?
If you can, let your staff work more flexibly and enjoy the summer weather.
The Tools You Need
Really enjoying the summer weather generally means not being in the office. Being able to work effectively away from the office means having the right tools.
Dependent upon how your staff work, laptops allow them to work anywhere. If they aren’t moving about much, the specification (particularly weight) can vary, but if your team needs to be highly mobile to do their job, ensure you give them laptops that are light enough to be carried around a lot.
There are few people in the UK who don’t have a smartphone, allowing them to answer emails and respond to customer needs easily.
If the laptop contract comes high a high data allowance, it can also replace the need for WiFi connections, particularly public hotspots. Simply tether your laptop and away you go. As 5G coverage moves away from just city centres, your ability to work from your phone will increase even more.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone systems are simply phone systems in the Cloud. They let your staff work from anywhere. Your customers can contact them and they can contact your customers – and you – easily;
When they are in an office (if you have multiple sites), they simply log into that phone and their number follows them.
Using their laptops as a phone allows them to take calls whenever they are stationery. Probably working from home, but they may also be on client sites, for example.
Many VoIP solutions have an app for your smartphone. That app rings and the caller knows no different. Some require WiFi but most will work on 3G/4G.
Project Management Tools
When working within teams, sharing information and data is vital. This is especially true when the members of that team aren’t in the same office.
More and more businesses run remote, or virtual, teams that are scattered across the country, or even the world. Technology means this is no longer a problem.
The Benefits to your business
This article has, so far, looked at what you need to do to allow your staff to enjoy the summer, so let’s spend a minute looking at what your business gets from this
If you let your staff enjoy the summer, they will be happy. Happy staff do a better job, it’s as simple as that.
A natural follow-on, from happy staff, is happy customers. Customers that then stay with you longer and spend more money with you. A real win.
Staff who are able to work when they want, and are more comfortable, are more productive. Increased productivity means increased profitability for your business.
Reduced staff churn
Staff who are happy, are trusted, and are given the tools they need to do their job don’t change jobs very often. Why would they if they have what they want and need from you?
With the UK’s weather meaning that a warm spell can happen pretty much any time of the year, allowing your staff to enjoy it means there are real benefits for both them and the business.
Don’t forget that this then also allows them to enjoy/cope with the unpleasant weather.
If there are train strikes or motorway chaos, they can still work effectively because you’ve given them the tools to do just that. Letting them enjoy the summer deliver benefits all year round.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Gary Young, Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Gary works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business.
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