What have we learned a year into the pandemic?
There have been a lot of revelations about how businesses adapt to change, and the role technology plays in keeping people connected. We’ve also learned that remote work has its challenges and also presents many opportunities.
Prior to the pandemic, about 24% of the U.S. workforce worked remotely between 3-5 days per week. Once the pandemic started, that more than doubled to 53%.
Business technology has become vital to operations and has gone through an adjustment to accommodate remote teams and contact restrictions. Just about every type of video conferencing app has seen a surge in user count, along with other technologies like VPN and team messaging software.
As we head into year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is hope on the horizon that we’ll get back to some version of “normal” again. By applying some of the lessons we’ve learned over the past 12 months, business owners can improve their company going forward.
What Have We Learned Over the Last 12 Months?
Communication is Vital for Remote Teams to Work
Many advantages of a work-from-home (WFH) policy were uncovered as companies had little choice but to send employees home to work during pandemic lockdowns.
Employees are generally more productive in a WFH environment and everyone saves money, employers and employees alike. But it’s all not a bed of roses.
When there isn’t a way to stay in communication throughout the day, at-home workers can feel disconnected and confused about priorities. Managers can feel frustrated about how to track productivity.
It’s vital to use virtual forms of communication and have an online work hub where everyone can congregate and touch base.
Using a platform like Microsoft Teams or another unified team communications app can make a big difference in how successful a remote team is. Any companies that don’t already use this type of app, will want to have one going forward to foster productive team communications.
The Cloud is Not An Option
Companies still hanging on to legacy software or phone systems found out just how critical a migration to the cloud is for their business continuity.
When no one can work at the office, work needs to be accessible from anywhere, including business phone systems. The cloud is no longer an option, it’s a must if a company wants to keep operations going during the next pandemic or other unexpected disruptive event.
Going forward, companies need to optimize their use of the cloud to streamline, eliminate non-cloud processes, and reduce things like cloud waste and app redundancy.
Business Continuity Planning Is Like Business Insurance
Business continuity is one of those buzzwords small business owners hear and they know it’s something they should look into, but there never seems to be enough time.
One thing the pandemic did was illustrate just how vital it is to prepare your business for anything that might disrupt operations.
Having a strong business continuity plan for the unexpected is like having business insurance. A company has a game plan to follow with pieces already put in place for a fast disaster event recovery.
Companies should make their business continuity plan a high priority, and revisit it regularly to keep it updated for any new potential threats (like a pandemic).
Remote Team Security is a Big Deal
Approximately 20% of surveyed businesses said they’ve experienced a breach because of a remote employee since the pandemic began.
Many companies are working with remote teams for the first time and aren’t sure how to extend their IT security to keep them properly protected from hackers.
The FBI reported a 400% increase in cyberattacks shortly after the pandemic began.
Companies need to consider cybersecurity as following their team wherever they work. This means putting things in place like managed IT services for remote employee devices, using a business VPN to secure online connections, and using endpoint device management to monitor remote network activity and threats.
Video is Great But it Can’t Replace All Interactions
While video conferencing has been a lifesaver for keeping everyone connected and feeling less isolated during the pandemic, it can’t replace all interactions. People still crave experiences where they’re in the same physical space with their colleagues.
So, even if a business plans to keep remote working in place after the pandemic is passed, they need to also regularly incorporate in-person activities to keep everyone feeling connected and engaged, and to foster a family atmosphere.
Need Help Optimizing Your Remote Team?
Unbound Digital can help your Johnson City, Tennessee business streamline your use of the cloud and put security in place for remote teams to keep everyone productive.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Call 423-335-2461 or reach us online.