Why Remote Work is More Important Today Than Ever
by Maggie Bautista, Marketing Director for Avaya Mexico
Surely, we all know or have heard of the benefits of the virtual office. However, while in other parts of the world this is a daily reality, in Mexico some companies are still reluctant to allow their employees or team leaders to take advantage of working from a virtual office. Why? Let’s start by defining that “Home Office,” “Virtual Office” or “Telecommuting” can mean working from anywhere. This modality brings many advantages to those who practice it, such as stress reduction, reduction of time stuck in traffic (on average 24 hours per month in cities such as Mexico City), an increase in productivity, and cost reduction for companies, among others.
Current State of Remote Working
Today, existing technologies offer us increasing possibilities. We can answer an email from the cell phone, take a video call from the other side of the world with solutions such as Avaya IX Workplace and Avaya Spaces, that provide multiple communication channels such as video call, voice call and instant messaging – all from a single tool that you can install on any mobile device.
15 or 20 years ago, doing virtual office would not have been profitable (or even imaginable), since as you will remember when the cell phone first appeared, the calls had a high cost, and a cell phone was not accessible to everyone. Or if we go further back in time, to the infamous “Bippers” which worked only by unidirectional messaging where the receiver got a numerical message with the number to which they should communicate, and if the sender did not have a phone nearby they had to wait for the message. There were no instant messaging capabilities and of course there was no video call. At that time, it was understandable that daily presence in a physical office was required since there was neither the technology nor the means that exist today for communication and collaboration.
Today, smart devices such as Avaya Vantage allow us to enjoy a graphical touchscreen interface with productivity and communication applications on our desktop. We can very quickly transform our home office into a videoconference room with an Avaya IX Collaboration Unit CU-360, that with its simplicity of installation, enables users to easily connect this smart camera to the screen in their office and through a wireless network with internet access in a matter of minutes and enjoy the experience of remote collaboration.
So why, even though last year the Federal Labor Law on Telecommuting Reform was approved in Mexico, do some companies still not believe in the benefits of working from a virtual office? Studies indicate that only four out of 10 companies in Mexico allow this type of work, and there are many variables to explain why, and probably the strongest is the generational issue.
Looking at the situation, most of the people who occupy a management position today are precisely the people who spent the first 10 or 15 years of their working life at a time when technology did not allow working from home to be productive, and perhaps they consider that working remotely leads to less focus on work activities and paying greater attention to personal ones, or the typical thought that millennials do not like to work as hard as previous generations.
Millennials Know The Benefits of Remote Working
But the younger employees currently working in physical offices are more aware of the benefits of the technologies they could be leveraging and why doing remote work represents more of an advantage than disadvantage. They understand and value that a virtual office can be equally as productive, if not more so, and can allow for a more balanced life. They realize that the benefits of a virtual office are not only for those who do the work but for the company and even for the environment.
Companies can significantly reduce fixed costs such as consumption of electricity, water, or infrastructure expenses, and what company does not like to save money? Imagine how much savings there would be for those companies that are currently providing gasoline vouchers or paying for parking to their employees if at least one day a week remote work is allowed.
By 2020, millennials are expected to make up 35 percent of the world’s workforce and double that by 2024. In Mexico, there are about 39 million of them. According to Deloitte, 75 percent of millennials would prefer to work from home where they think they would be more productive. But the advantages of virtual office also represent an important challenge for organizations. They need to meet the needs of this new generation of workers who require new tools to do their jobs, but also to reduce complexity and cost. The answers need to be simple.
Therefore, tools like Avaya Spaces help companies offer robust video collaboration and virtual meeting functionality from the cloud, and with the simplicity that users require. Let us be the example for future generations, and let’s leave behind the thought that working from a virtual office is synonymous with taking the day off. Let’s remember that we live in a digital era with infinite possibilities in which we can make decisions that benefit both the employees and the company.
Maggie Bautista is Marketing Director for Avaya Mexico where she is responsible for Marketing strategy and programs in this key geography. She has over 20 years of experience working in the technology industry and has been the leader of 14 editions of Avaya Engage Mexico – recognized as one of the largest technology events in Latin America.