By now, it should be clear to every business that the current COVID-19 situation is going to be much more than a temporary challenge for many firms. While the first tentative steps have been taken out of lockdown, even with restrictions relaxed, it will be a long time before we can go back to the days of busy offices and the crowded morning commute.
For instance, with the government estimating public transport could be reduced to as little as ten per cent of normal capacity due to social distancing requirements, many people will find it much easier and more practical to continue working from home, even once offices are able to open up.
Therefore, large and small firms alike will have to look at how they can reshape their operations to cope with a more flexible, digitally-focused way of working, and choosing the right technology solutions to facilitate this in the long term is a must.
The limitations of temporary tools
Many of the measures that some firms have put in place to keep operations running throughout the coronavirus lockdown are likely to have been selected based on the assumption that they would only be needed in the short term.
This could mean relying on free trials and consumer-focused offerings for key activities. And while these might be adequate in a pinch, a more careful strategy is likely to be needed if remote and digital working are here to stay.
For example, if you’ve been relying on free options for Video Conferencing like Zoom, the chances are you may already find yourself working around the limitations of these services. Restrictions on the length of meetings or the number of participants can pose problems for larger companies and those working on complex projects.
Elsewhere, businesses may find there are limits on the size of files they can share via free cloud tools, while these solutions will not have the robust security protections that firms need in order to meet essential data privacy regulations like GDPR.
Converting quick fixes into permanent solutions
As a result, businesses will need to make decisions soon on what direction they take moving forward. We’re reaching a stage where companies that signed up for free trials at the start of the lockdown will face a choice between paying for a full licence, dropping to a free tier or turning to another option.
Making the right choice will be critical to your firm’s success. Communications tools, for instance, will play a vital role for months, if not years, to come as firms continue to encourage home working in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines and employees enjoy the benefits this can provide.
To get this right, there is a range of key considerations to take into account. For example, you should consider what additional collaboration features they offer, from recording meetings to content sharing, note taking and integration with other tools such as email and instant messaging.
One of the popular collaboration software at the moment is Microsoft Teams which can also be integrated with an existing PBX Telephony service.
You may also need to consider the type of devices that you will need to access services, as well as the quality of connection needed for home workers to keep in touch. If firms are to effectively support home workers, employing fast, full fibre broadband wherever possible should also be a consideration.
With home working now the norm for many firms, how can you be sure activities are as safe as possible? With many businesses turning to new, untested tools much more quickly than would normally be the case, it may be easy for errors to slip in that increase firms’ exposure to cybercrime. At the same time, users may be accessing sensitive information on unsecured connections via personally-owned devices, which can greatly increase the chances of a data breach.
This can be a challenge for firms that have not focused on these areas in the past, and are now finding they need to act quickly to secure permanent remote working solutions. But with the right tools and advice from an expert partner you can be sure the selections you make will be appropriate for your unique circumstances and set you up well to thrive in the new environment.
Do you need an expert in Remote Working?
If you’re still unsure on what to do, it pays to speak with a trusted, expert partner such as Arrow that can offer advice on how to succeed in these challenging time. Contact Arrow Now!