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The future of work: enterprise lessons from COVID-19

Enterprise lessons from COVID-19

If there’s one thing businesses have learned from the pandemic, it’s the need to be agile.

Not just physically agile – abandoning offices to work remotely – but agile in new ways of working. And collaborating. Especially for distributed workforces.

The crisis has accelerated remote- and flexible-working. A recent report from Freeform Dynamics and Cisco found enterprises now have 4.7 times more remote workers than before the pandemic.

In many cases this has been due to organizations putting in place new ways of working. Sometimes within days. Often using a new technology.

Not surprisingly, this can create challenges. Especially if there aren’t resources in place to ease the process. Or to help employees adopt a new technology without support. These areas mustn’t be forgotten or ignored.

With the future of work in mind, there are fundamental enterprise lessons from COVID-19 to be learned. And these three ‘must-haves’ should help you ensure your organization’s resilience.

1) The right technology for business continuity

Faced with sudden disruption, your organization must react quickly, methodically, and effectively. To ensure business continuity you need the right technology if your physical workspaces aren’t an option.

A secure and reliable platform is critical. It must enable distributed employees to communicate and to collaborate. Not just with each other, but with customers, partners, and all stakeholders. Whoever, wherever, whenever.

Unified communications and collaboration platforms provide just the solution: platforms like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex. They deliver ways to call and meet online. In addition, ways to share and collaborate on files. And all within a secure environment.

With so many organizations adopting these collaboration platforms, the bar has been raised. The basic expectation is that people can easily communicate and collaborate. And across any connected device. These platforms are critical in any new normal.

2) An effective communications plan

Your organization must always be able to communicate effectively and easily with relevant stakeholders. However, it’s even more crucial in times of disruption. At such times misinformation, fear, and uncertainty are more likely to be rife.

Yet as remote- and flexible working become more commonplace, you must have a robust, effective communications plan. Firstly, how will you communicate with employees, customers, investors, media, and so on. But also, who’ll be responsible for delivering it? Are they equipped to?

You must keep those lines of communication open in times of disruption. Without this, you organization could be seriously affected. It can take years to build your reputation. It can take next-to-no-time to lose it.

3) A workforce continuity strategy

The final one of these enterprise lessons from COVID-19 is that in times of pandemic or disaster, a workforce continuity strategy is essential. Distributed employees need to be connected to the tools they need. So a complete business continuity plan (BCP) must cover infrastructure. But also workforce recovery,

The pandemic has meant many hard-earned lessons. One has been the importance of cross-training employees. Not in terms of physical exercise, of course. Rather, in a broad range of vital skills. You need people with crucial know-how. Their super-power? Delivering your disaster recovery and business continuity strategies, in your time of need.

And you need a broad base of employees too. Too few, and you may leave yourself at risk. What’s more, you must ensure a geographical spread. Otherwise you may find your primed ‘can-do’ crew, can’t. You must have back-up you can bank on.

Moving on – from crisis to recovery

No-one saw this health crisis coming. But come it did. In doing so, it accelerated the greatest workplace transformation of our time. One that’s still continuing.

Businesses are re-evaluating the role of the physical office. Yes, there’s a need for a smooth ‘return-to-work experience. But they’re also noting the huge success of remote working and virtual spaces. There’s a huge opportunity to open up employment to a larger pool. And to be more diverse and inclusive than ever before.

No matter the organization, the end goal is the same: to be able to sustain operations in a crisis. You must ensure you are well prepared; that you expect the unexpected. Those who don’t may well suffer even worse next time.

In conclusion, do note these enterprise lessons from COVID-19. Be sure to re-set, re-shape and re-start your BCP. It’s essential if you are to move from crisis to recovery. And note that building greater resilience begins with the right technology stack.

Want to learn more about how cloud communications solutions can help ensure your business continuity? Contact us today.

About the author

As Content Marketing and Campaigns Manager, Fiona oversees all marketing-related content initiatives within the APAC region. She has over a decade of collective experience in journalism, public relations and marketing communications across tech, finance and real estate industries.

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