The power of prudent habit forming – putting a positive spin on self-isolation
There’s no denying that coronavirus has taken its toll on UK commerce. Some 21,000 more companies have collapsed in March than did in the same month last year, while the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicts a 35% slump in economic activity until June at the earliest. Meanwhile, the day-to-day difficulties caused by social distancing and self-isolation mean those companies that are still struggling to stay afloat face a whole host of logistical challenges to do so.
For starters, the fact that employees must work from home where possible creates a plethora of complications in the everyday operations of many busy businesses. Whether it’s a lack of access to the appropriate hardware and software or communication breakdowns between team members, working remotely can cause any number of headaches. Fortunately, the technology already exists to address and overcome many of those challenges. Indeed, any business which makes a virtue of necessity by embracing technological solutions to the current situation will be well-equipped to meet the demands of tomorrow, whatever those may entail.
Tech to the rescue!
In recent years, there has been a gradual migration towards online operating practices and Cloud-based services, sometimes termed the “digital revolution”. Many companies have been quick to identify the long-term benefits of embracing digital solutions to streamline their business set-up, but many more have been reluctant to do so for a number of reasons, whether those be budgetary constraints, unfamiliarity with the software or the distraction of a million and one other workplace concerns. Due to COVID-19, joining the digital revolution has now become an obligation rather than an option.
The good news is that almost all of the logistical problems created by the imposition of a remote working environment can be overcome by technological solutions. Employees can enjoy 24/7 access to the relevant systems through remote access solutions like those offered by Citrix and Microsoft Remote Desktop, both of which are compatible with Windows 10 and can be made doubly secure with the use of a virtual private network (VPN). For those apps which don’t perform so well over remote connections, these can be re-envisioned into Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) Cloud-hosted applications, thus enabling maximum efficiency and an optimum user experience, wherever the user is based.
At the same time, remote workers don’t need to operate in isolation, even when they’re self-isolating. Colleagues can collaborate via the use of Office 365 tools like Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online, while Teams can also be leveraged for its telephony and video conferencing abilities, all integrated with your existing Active Directory for authentication. Microsoft 365, including Windows 10, Office 365 and the Enterprise Mobility and Security suites can take care of all software requirements, while hardware like headsets, monitors and camera-enabled devices transplant the user into an immersive setting, all from the comfort of their own home. In this way, business can continue as usual, even while the ongoing pandemic ensures that nothing about the situation could possibly be construed as normal in a practical sense.
The sliver linings of lockdown
Businesses may be finding that they’ve refocussed on the core of their business, and how they deliver that core element. It may be that a workforce working more efficiently through the use of collaborative technology, automation and refocussed on results has not caused as much as a drop in revenues as the resultant cost-saving. Actions and changes that would previously have been unthinkable have been forced on us – and the numbers and data behind these changes may well turn out to be startling.
Indeed, not only can tech circumvent the challenges created by the quarantine situation, but they even throw up a number of unforeseen advantages of working this way. Many businesses will no doubt experience a drop-off in sales and revenue due to coronavirus, but their overheads will also be curbed. The expenses associated with maintaining an office space can be significantly reduced, as can printer and paper outgoings as the use of document management software and e-signatures become standard practice.
Even individual employees can feel the economic benefit, since they end up spending less money on commuting and eating out, putting a little bit more money in their pocket at a time when they may need it most. Quite aside from any financial concerns, the ability to work remotely is also conducive to a better-rounded work/life balance. Whilst lockdown is in no way like normal “working from home”, we hope that on the other side, remote and flexible working remains an option for employers who were previously against it, affording employees more time to spend with their families and boosting their mental health and job satisfaction in the process.
Finally, remote working can be beneficial not just for businesses and their employees, but for the planet as a whole. The dip in industrial and commercial activity caused by the virus has already produced unprecedented improvement in air quality in cities all around the world. That’s due to the significantly reduced carbon footprints of companies not powering their workplaces and employees not driving their vehicles to and from those places of work, delivering incredible environmental benefits all round.
A blueprint for the future
Of course, all of the above points are not intended to detract from the gravity of what is, at heart, a global catastrophe. Hundreds of thousands of people are fighting for their lives and countless more are fighting for their livelihoods, but there are some positives to be drawn from the tragedy currently befalling the human race. By concentrating on those positives and tailoring business practices to maximise them, your company can emerge from this current crisis stronger, smarter and more future-proofed against anything the world might throw at it than ever before.
Every obstacle is an opportunity and every stumbling block a potential springboard to future success. By implementing the appropriate technology to overcome the present crisis, you can put in place a blueprint for how to operate more efficiently and effectively on a long-term basis. Of course, the enforced urgency of the COVID-19 crisis means that many organisations might find integrating all of the relevant hardware and software into their status quo a challenging proposition. That’s where we come in. With more than 20 years in handling all manner of state-of-the-art IT solutions, Quorum are here to help your business adapt, evolve and grow in a modern business environment. As ever, if you have any comments or to learn more about how we can help you, get in touch via our online contact form, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or simply give us a call on +44 131 652 3954. We’re waiting to hear from you.
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