The “New Normal” Has More to Do with Technology than It Doesn’t
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to respond quickly and radically change operations, but despite the circumstances, productivity is still at the center of most business professionals’ minds. If we can learn more about how businesses have managed to thrive even in the face of the pandemic, we can learn more about how to succeed when things get back to “normal,” whatever that looks like, particularly in regards to technology and the role it has played over the past year and a half.
Before the pandemic, remote work was relatively rare in the workplace. While some positions may have been outsourced, a fully remote employee was the exception rather than the norm. Most businesses saw this practice as taboo, not because they wanted to maintain control over their employees but because it is simply more effective to manage a company identity and culture when you see employees in-person.
Whether companies were ready or not, the pandemic forced them to transition to remote operations, and for organizations that were vehemently against remote work, many were unprepared. Some of the reasons why companies were so reluctant to embrace remote work included:
- Lack of face-to-face collaboration
- Individual dips in productivity
- Lease on brick and mortar location
- Depleting company culture
These concerns are certainly well-founded, and many employers are looking forward to the eventual return to in-house operations. Workers, on the other hand, don’t quite agree with this sentiment.
Some employees are better off working in the office every day, but those who have gotten a taste of remote work can now appreciate the many benefits that working remotely can provide. Since it is now clear that they can do their jobs effectively without going to the office, some are reluctant to return to the workplace. While this might not be happening anytime soon due to the emerging variants of COVID-19, it is clear that this will become an issue when the time does come to return to the office.
It turns out that employees really appreciate the flexibility that working from home offers. Even those who work hourly jobs at designated times of day are able to take advantage of the many benefits that the lack of a commute can offer. That said, some employees simply cannot work from home, either because they lack discipline or because they need to be in the office to communicate with other staff members. Those who can, however, understand that there are many remote jobs available nowadays, and they might take the opportunity to jump ship if their employer starts demanding that they return to the workplace.
In response to this potential turnover, some organizations are taking the opportunity to implement hybrid workplace policies where employees work remotely some of the time and in the office the rest of the time. This is a compromise, so to determine the best path forward, many companies are attempting to measure metrics for employees who work remotely or work in-house so they can facilitate a long-term hybrid workplace model that aligns with the business’ goals.
Whether your workforce is in-office or remote, your business’ goals remain the same. If you want to provide a great product or service, you still need to ensure that you can make that happen. We recommend the following technologies for facilitating effective in-office or remote work:
- Collaboration tools (cloud-hosted productivity, project management)
- Communication tools (telephone, email, video conferencing)
- Document management
- Customer Relationship Management (customer support, ticketing, client communications)
- Business management software (time management, task management)
- Training applications (security, software, process training)
- Human Resource Management (applicant tracking, onboarding/offboarding)
- Cybersecurity tools (network monitoring, firewalls, spam filtering)
- Remote desktop or Virtual Private Network
This list of technology only scratches the surface of what is possible with remote technologies. Many businesses have even shifted operations to cloud-hosted platforms that can cut costs and improve accessibility. If you think this is the correct call for your organization, we urge you to discuss the possibilities with a professional before jumping on-board to ensure that you can implement such solutions without a hitch.
If you don’t have an IT resource that you can trust to give you the support you need regarding technology implementation, BlackCSI can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (717) 620-3042.