We’re crossing the 1-year mark since the coronavirus pandemic drastically changed the way we live and work. While there is hope on the horizon, the “normal” that the world will be going back to will look different than the one it left behind.
For example, the remote workforce is something that has been forever changed by the crisis. Approximately 60% of the UK’s adult popular has been working from home due to the lockdowns. After the pandemic subsides, at least 26% plan to continue working remotely.
There are a lot of lessons that businesses have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that will inform how they do things going forward to improve business continuity, productivity, and the way they adjust to changes in customer behaviors.
By paying attention to how technology played an integral role during the pandemic and how it has changed how companies interact with employees and customers can help you build a stronger business going forward.
Lessons from the Pandemic to Apply to Your Business Processes
Cloud Technology Is No Longer an Option
As bad as the pandemic has been for businesses, it would’ve been much more devastating without the use of cloud technology. Cloud applications like Microsoft 365 and Zoom helped keep people connected and allowed employees to run companies from home.
The pandemic illustrated that anything could happen out of the blue that not only impacts where you can operate but also how you can and can’t interact with customers.
Having a cloud infrastructure to power anywhere-working isn’t an option anymore, it’s a requirement for any business that wants to weather the next unexpected global crisis.
We Haven’t Been Fully Utlising Our Technology
When crisis events happen, people begin to adapt and think outside the norms of their habits. People got incredibly creative during the pandemic, with companies using video meetings for most of their prior in-person interactions and finding new contactless ways to serve customers.
We’ve learned that technology has a lot to offer and that most companies haven’t been tapping its full potential. Once they do, they find they can improve processes, interactions, and customer experience.
Remote Teams Need the Same Support as In-Office Teams
When the pandemic first began, companies quickly scrambled to enable employees to work remotely so they could continue operating. But not many knew what to do about remote team security.
Some employees were working on personal home computers that didn’t have the same specifications as their workstation at the office, and home networks weren’t really addresses as a point of attack on the corporate network.
A Malwarebytes survey found that after the pandemic began, 20% of organisations said they experienced a security breach as a result of a remote employee.
The lesson here is that businesses need to treat work-from-home (WFH) employees and the IT they use just as they would if they worked in the office. This means:
- Issuing work-only business laptops or desktops
- Using a business VPN for connection security
- Keeping employee computers updated and maintained
- Ensuring employee devices have the necessary antivirus, cloud backup, and other protections to prevent breaches
Communication Technology is Vital
One downside of working remotely is that employees can feel lonely and disconnected from their teams. Managers can be frustrated with how to gauge task accountability and how to know when employees are working and when they’re not.
Team communication technology, like Microsoft Teams, has been vital to keeping everyone connected even though they’re working in different locations.
Teams allows remote employees and managers to:
- Have a place they can connect with anyone in the organisation
- Use secure, chat channels for department or project communications
- Easily switch between voice, video, and chat connections
- Use custom status messages so everyone knows when someone is “at lunch” or “on call with a customer”
- Allow in-app collaboration inside Office documents
Technology Can’t Replace All In-Person Connections
As great as technology is, we’ve also seen that it can’t replace all in-person connections. People still crave that experience of connecting in the same physical space and being face-to-face in real life.
The lesson here is that companies using remote teams, should plan activities throughout the year where everyone can get together in the same place. This not only enriches virtual connections, it fosters a sense of connection and loyalty to a company and work colleagues.
Business Continuity Planning Improves Resiliency & Lowers Costs
Companies that already had business continuity plans in place prior to the pandemic fared much better when it came time to vacate their buildings and have their entire team work from home.
Planning for the unexpected is a must, because you never know when the next major crisis is going to occur that negatively impacts your business operations. Being prepared in advance with a business continuity plan lowers costs when an event happens and helps companies get their operations back up and running much faster.
Are Your Operations Prepared for the Next Crisis?
NMX IT Solutions can help your Thames Valley area company with business continuity planning and cloud solutions to ensure resiliency in the face of the unexpected.
Contact us today to schedule your consultation! Call 01628 232300 or reach out online.