In life and in business we can grow by going through adversity. The past year has been a particularly disruptive one, with companies having to rethink how they keep operations going when no one can come to work. They also had to adjust to changes in consumer behavior and adapt to “contactless” solutions.
Technology and cloud solutions, like VoIP phone systems and video conferencing tools, have been a necessity as employees have had to work from home. Many companies in Texas and elsewhere worked with remote teams for the very first time.
Now that we’re a year into the pandemic, and there is hope on the horizon of going back to some semblance of “normal” soon, it’s time to look at the things we’ve learned by going through this crisis. Applying those lessons can help you make your business better and stronger.
Important Pandemic Lessons for Businesses
People Can Be More Productive Working From Home
Many business owners never would’ve considered allowing employees to work from home prior to the pandemic. There’s the expectation that they may not work as hard and won’t be as effective.
But the pandemic showed that just the opposite can be true if they’re empowered with the right cloud tools and ability to communicate easily with their team.
Over half (52%) of employers say that their employees are more productive working from home than at the office.
Many businesses are planning to keep flexible working arrangements post-pandemic, allowing employees to work from home part and/or full-time permanently for multiple benefits:
- Higher productivity
- Lower overhead costs
- Improved morale
- Fewer sick/personal days taken
- Fewer tardiness problems
- Improved business continuity
All Systems That Can Be, Should Be Cloud Based
Companies that didn’t have cloud-based workflows or phone systems prior to the pandemic, found themselves scrambling for workarounds when the COVID stay-at-home orders began.
The pandemic showed us that something completely unexpected can happen that totally disrupts business operations. Companies with anywhere access to their workflows had a much easier time transitioning to an all-remote workforce than those with on-premises systems.
Companies need to look at cloud systems as the standard and build their technology infrastructure on a cloud framework to stay resilient into the future. Operations need to be as flexible as possible to be run from anywhere.
Cybersecurity Needs to Address Remote Teams
One of the downsides of remote teams is that many companies don’t know how to secure them properly. Cybercriminals have had a heyday during the COVID crisis, taking advantage with pandemic-related phishing scams and attacking less-secure home networks that now handle business data.
Without the right IT security safeguards, many work-from-home (WFH) employees are sitting ducks for hackers.
During the pandemic, ransomware attacks grew by 72% and mobile vulnerabilities by 50%.
Companies need to secure the devices of remote employees just as they would if they were working in an office. This means using the same standards, like managed IT services, DNS filtering, and managed antivirus/anti-malware to keep data and endpoints protected.
It’s Vital to Have a Business Continuity Strategy
Business continuity planning is one of those things that many small businesses know they should do but think that it’s only the “bigger companies” that need to worry about that stuff.
Preparing for a disaster or other type of work-stopping crisis is just as important for a small business as a large corporation. Businesses that are unprepared can suffer extended downtime as they’re trying to figure things out and get back up and running.
Those that already have a plan can pivot much more easily and reduce their losses as a result.
The pandemic has taught us that a major disruption can occur not only in operations themselves, but also in how customers behave and interact with businesses. Many companies had to completely rethink how they serve customers in order to stay in business.
These are the types of things you want to have planned out in advance when you’re not already in the middle of a crisis, which is exactly what a business continuity plan is for.
Video Can’t Replace All In-Person Interactions
Video meetings have been a hero of the pandemic, keeping teams connected while they worked from home and making it possible to still meet with customers virtually.
But video can’t replace all in-person interactions. People still crave personal contact and there’s a type of bonding that happens when everyone is in the same physical space that doesn’t happen over video.
Researchers have also found that video meetings can be more taxing on the brain over time and that they prevent people from naturally moving around.
For businesses that are keeping remote teams in place, it would be wise to also incorporate some in-person meetings from time to time to foster connections and team unity.
Set Up Your Remote Team for High Efficiency!
Texas I.T. Pros can work with your Denton or Wise County business to enable your remote teams with the right tools and IT security to keep them at peak efficiency.
Contact us today to learn more! Call 940-239-6500 or reach out online.