Yorkshire-based conference call provider Meetupcall has reported a 300 percent increase in global enquiries and a 500 percent increase in usage since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the turn of the year, Meetupcall has witnessed a consistent increase in usage from existing customers, specifically those doing business directly with clients or suppliers in China. However, over the last four weeks, total customer usage has seen a five-fold week-on-week increase, with the last week seeing five times more usage than usual for the time of year.
As governments of countries around the world announce ‘lockdown’ plans to help stem the spread of the virus, it appears many businesses are turning to networking technologies in order to continue to operate whilst staff are either forced or requested to work from home.
Discussing how the company’s customers are responding to the current situation, Meetupcall’s founder and CEO Simon Moxon, said: “Remote working is not a new concept. While more conservative industries such as banking and legal firms have been rooted in traditional office-based working, industries such as technology, marketing agencies and sales organisations have been reaping the benefits of hot-desking and remote working for quite some time. However, during the past two months, we have seen a marked increase in enquires from businesses recognising the need to embrace change and adapt to the reality that modern, remote working is rapidly becoming the new norm.”
Moxon has observed that lack of trust in employees is the one of most commonly reported reasons why business owners and managers have been reluctant to implement remote and flexible working policies. A recent Gartner survey found only 56 per cent of managers allowed employees to work remotely, despite there being a flexible working policy in place. Moxon advises businesses to be ready to deploy contingency plans for all teams and reassures them that, with the right planning, clear guidelines and a sense of trust, productivity will likely increase.
Meetupcall have recently published a Guide to Emergency Remote Working. In the guide, Meetupcall advise that mapping out the roles and responsibilities that require a physical office presence, and those that don’t, will enable businesses to develop an effective communications plan that helps businesses to keep in contact both with one another and with clients during periods of enforced remote working.
Moxon added: “Many of our customers are surprised at how much of their business can function as normal without all the team in the same place at the same time. Furthermore, employees working remotely have reported reduced stress levels and higher productivity rates. In industries where teams require extended periods of uninterrupted time - to prepare documents for example - we have observed that when people have total control of their environment, they are less prone to distractions from colleagues, resulting in increased efficiencies and increased output in the same or less time.”
The Gartner remote working survey showed 64 percent of working professionals polled were happy to work remotely and when Generation Z fully enter the workforce by 2030, the demand for remote working will increase by 30 per cent. Meetupcall is encouraging businesses to embrace the current shift they are being forced to adapt to, recognising it as an opportunity to identify gaps in their current processes, improve productivity and customer service.
While the benefits of remote working significantly outweigh the challenges, the biggest hurdle faced across all industries is maintaining consistent communication where the natural flow of office conversation and interaction has been removed. To overcome this challenge, Moxon suggests implementing a stringent communications plan for regular one-to-one and team meetings.
To support organisations exploring remote working and increased telecommunications as a way to adapt their businesses, Meetupcall is offering an extended one-month free trial period of its services. This includes dedicated one-to-one training and rapid on-boarding to help teams utilise its services and implement remote working as quickly as possible.