The mandate to work from home affected pretty much every business capable of it. It also presented us with both a new normal and a stress test on workplace agility. A range of unfamiliar technologies needed to be adopted pretty much overnight. This spelt a hit on both time and money. Even once there’s a vaccine, these technologies will be here to stay. Businesses must be agile and ready. Ready for another full lockdown and ready for their remote work to be as effective as anything done on premise. With a world economy caked in uncertainty, adopting correct technology is one of the best ways for protecting against it. Here are six tech solutions that can do just that.
Move to the cloud
This is first for a reason. Cloud computing means you can conduct operations anytime, anywhere and on any device. It’s a remote work essential. Bigger picture it offers other agility benefits, namely the ability to flex rapidly. On premise servers can’t be chopped and changed overnight. The cloud should prime many businesses for the growth and contraction that’s inevitable post COVID. Not to mention help their cyber security. If you’re still relying on legacy IT systems and on premise data storage, a cloud migration is wise.
Supply employees with suitable tools
Many businesses don’t have a 100% remote ready toolset yet. Employees need to be supplied with adequate hardware and other remote tools promptly. E.g. if a business has traditionally been desktop only, laptops will need to be supplied immediately. For employees using their own devices, a solid BYOD policy must be formed with the IT department. Beyond these standard requirements, a business’s remote toolset will most likely need to mirror their on premise equivalent as closely as possible. For example, a remote sales team may require new headsets.
Ensure decent tech support
When teams are working from home they’re often facing tech challenges alone. There’s no IT team downstairs to come to their aid. Support needs to be always on. Having 24/7 live chat assistance from your MSP is a must. However, setting set up dedicated communication channels where employees can raise a virtual hand for their co-workers to assist has added benefits. Firstly, this peer help can prove useful should your MSP experience rapid changes in demand. It can also double up as a forum of documenting common remote work tech issues and their solutions. Education in troubleshooting best practices can also be beneficial. Here’s where these dedicated channels can serve to record and then pre-emptively educate on common problems. With a distributed team, this support must be available equally on both mobile and desktop.
Use a cloud hosted phone
Despite the adoption of video chat, the standard telephone is still a necessity. Cloud hosted phone systems can be a saviour when someone is away from their desk or regular landlines are down. Lockdown or no lockdown, an always on phone line is a weapon any robust and agile business requires. For example, a cloud hosted phone connection will remain unaffected by severe weather conditions. A cloud hosted phone requires zero on premise hardware allowing for greater scalability and in turn saved costs. And a cloud hosted phone system is as mobile as any cellular phone. Conference calls, call transfer, extension dialling etc. can all be conducted from anywhere with an internet connection.
Decent training and educational content
Obvious to some. Easily overlooked by others. Remote work is only made possible by heavy reliance on tech. Many employees will be unfamiliar with them. And many employees will find the learning curve steep. Having a chunk of the workforce struggling with technology home alone would be a productivity nightmare. Any business that wishes to be robust and ready should invest in decent training. This can be broad. Online classrooms can be great for educating on some issues. However, depending on the nature of what needs to be learned, this can vary. Sometimes well thought out FAQs, a sharable infographic or a cheat sheet of some sort might be all that’s needed to onboard the slower adopters.
Use technology to maintain great culture
Surrounding all of the above is the use of remote working technology for fostering great culture. A great culture keeps employees from leaving and the business growing. Especially through the worst of times. It goes without saying that a robust remote business is using the basic communication tools. Messaging and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams being a linchpin of remote work. A remote business should use its communication tools to replicate the culture it would normally have in real life, if not better.
If we zoom out from remote work, it seems like a lot of agility and business readiness is about simply being ready to take advantage of any technology available and moving away from outdated legacy systems. A robust and successful business is often one that uses tech better than its competitors. For example a business may invest in new digital infrastructures for optimising their supply chain’s efficiency. Implementing new digital communication channels can make a business more collaborative and agile. And with more data being created by these processes every day, a business can use analytics to make better decisions faster.
Is your organisation’s technology ready to support future growth, allowing you to become an agile and resilient business operation, that is well positioned to absorb future shocks and prosper? Take our unique online assessment now.