Although we don’t yet know when the end will be in sight, many of us are now in the swing of this new way of working and are starting to take stock of what we’ve learnt from this situation so far.
One thing we can all agree on is that technology has been fundamental in enabling businesses to continue and fundamentally survive. Digitalisation is nothing new, but those that were slow to this movement before, have had to very rapidly jump on board and embrace apps, digital tools and platforms at speed. If we think about how SMEs would have handled this 15 years ago, it would have been very different. We wouldn’t have any many of the crucial technology cloud platforms that we now rely on today; Zoom, Office 365, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, WhatsApp – all of these launched within the last 10 years and yet have kept us crucially connected over these last few weeks.
Remote working was growing in popularity but still, many businesses weren’t prepared for it and most businesses never imagined having full work forces deployed remotely at home. Yet, now with home connectivity being fast and reliable and with SMEs having no choice but to make remote working work, many business owners are realising the benefits of this new flexible working approach. It’s no longer as daunting as it once seemed. Employees are embracing a new work life balance and if anything, this crisis is strengthening the employee / employer relationship. We’re all being invited into people’s homes through video calling; we get an insight into their lives, their family, their pets and bizarrely, we’re getting to know each other better now than when we were sat in the office right next to each other.
The future beyond Covid-19 is still uncertain, but we believe these three statements will ring true:
Business owners will look more favourable on flexible working requests
After weeks of working like this and seeing that work does still get done and employees can be trusted and still communicated with, many employers will find it easier to embrace this style of working. It may not become fully adopted as sometimes nothing beats a real face to face chat, but it will certainly get greater consideration. Companies that have never offered it before, will now feel much more relaxed about staff doing the odd day here and there at home. Some companies, who were already on the remote working path, may find it suits their business better with a saving on office rates and reduced commutes.
Culture will support staff retention
Humanity comes together in a crisis and Covid-19 has certainly reminded individuals of what’s really important in life. Businesses who are handling this situation with care and consideration of their employees will find that employees stay loyal and committed throughout this period and beyond. It’s a pivotal time for employers to demonstrate trust, show compassion and increase collaboration. Those that get it right, will develop a new special culture, a new bond and appreciation of each other and one that can be further nurtured on the other side. For tips to boost morale during this tough time, check out our latest blog.
Collaborative technology is the new essential investment
As we all come to realise that productivity doesn’t just happen in the board room, the tools and platforms that we’re embracing now will become our new way of communicating. Microsoft’s Office 365 which includes Teams, is already a clear favourite amongst SMEs and it’s easy to see why. With instant file sharing, editing and messaging alongside all the familiar office products you’re used to (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc) you’ll wonder how you ever coped without it.
These are tough times and we’re all just taking it day by day, but take a moment to stop and think about the unexpected positives that you’ve seen within your business or from your employees throughout this crisis and think about how they will shape your business going forward. Take advantage of the technology that is available and embrace flexibility, as it could be just what your businesses needs to not only survive, but thrive in years to come.
For support or advice on any IT issues including remote working, give us a call on 01392 207 194 or email us today.