Over half (55%) of surveyed businesses say their remote work policies will change for good even after the pandemic has passed. It’s been an event that is going to leave the business world forever changed in its wake.
The shutdown orders caused some Tennessee businesses to go from 0% remote workers to 100%, with little time to prepare. This gave them a glimpse into an environment they may not have considered in the past. One that reduced costs for them and their employees and one that is going to stick around well after COVID has passed.
Other changes have been in consumer behavior. Less contact, more safety is dictating many reopening strategies to ensure people feel secure doing business with a company. Reducing travel and doing more things by video is also something companies are doing to reduce unnecessary risk.
This new post-COVID “normal” is already changing how work is done, and companies that want to stay competitive have to adjust their business IT systems and work processes to adapt.
How Can We Adapt to the New Normal?
One of the positives is that many of these adjustments to the new normal actually reduce company costs and improve productivity. 85% of global businesses say that greater location flexibility for their employees has led to an increase in productivity.
Improved employee retention and morale are two more employee benefits, and on the employer side, lower operational costs because they have less employees onsite.
Here are some of the ways to adapt your business successfully and thrive in this new post-COVID world.
Put a Cloud-based Phone System in Place
When employees are working remotely, it can be difficult for them to receive and make calls as usual if your company is still using a landline-based phone system. Phones are an important part of your overall technology infrastructure and should be cloud-based if you truly want to embrace the new remote work environment.
VoIP phone systems offer cost savings, anywhere availability, and keep your customer experience the same no matter where employees are. They also often give small businesses enterprise-class features that they couldn’t afford on a landline system, improving their overall efficiency.
Reevaluate Your Office Space
One thing that the pandemic illustrated was that you could have empty offices while your business was still in full operation remotely from employee homes.
And while most companies may not want to completely eliminate their office or some in-office workers, it woke them up to the fact that they may be paying for more space than they need.
As you’re reinventing your remote and flex work policies, don’t forget to incorporate the potential savings from downsizing your physical office footprint.
Add Remote Devices to Your Overall Cybersecurity Plan
Most businesses had almost no time to adjust to a remote workforce when the stay-at-home orders went into place around the country earlier this year. But now that the dust has settled, it’s time to expand your cybersecurity plan to include computers used by remote workers.
36% of companies have had an IT security incident due to a remote worker.
If left outside your office security strategy, remote devices can leave all your data at risk of a breach. One of the best ways to ensure they’re secure and operating efficiently is by adding them to a managed services plan.
Some of the protections this provides are:
- Managed antivirus/anti-malware
- Patch management
- Managed backup
- Hourly device health reporting
- Ongoing maintenance
- On demand remote support
Invest in a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)
Using cloud applications to ensure business continuity is a must in today’s world, but cloud systems can be hacked and infected with ransomware and other malware.
You can protect your cloud accounts by using a CASB, like Microsoft Cloud App Security. It gives you the ability to apply company security policies across all your cloud services from different providers.
You also gain visibility into the risk factors of any applications employees are using and can control login access to your cloud apps from a single place.
Have a Plan to Prevent Shadow IT
One security problem that’s increased during the pandemic is the use of shadow IT. This is when employees begin using a cloud app on their own without having it approved first by their office.
This can lead to sensitive company data being stored in applications that leave it at risk, and data not being backed up properly because you don’t realize your employees are using an unapproved app.
Shadow IT use often happens because there is no policy on app use, and employees don’t know any better. Make sure to put a policy in place that does these three important things:
- Let employees know they can’t use an app without permission first
- Give them a list of approved company cloud apps
- Create a way for employees to recommend apps they’d like to use
Get Help Preparing Your IT Infrastructure for the New Normal
Unbound Digital’s team can help you put a remote-friendly technology environment into place that both reduces your costs and helps you adapt to a post-COVID business world.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 423-335-2461 or reach us online.