There have been a lot of changes in Charlotte and the rest of the country over the last twelve months thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. The way we live, work, and even go to school was completely upended.
Businesses have had to make a lot of adjustments during this time, such as many moving to a remote workforce. They’ve learned a lot of lessons as well about technology and its importance.
48% of surveyed business owners in North Carolina said the pandemic had a moderate negative effect on business, and 23% said it had a large negative impact.
Obvious impacts have been the closing of physical businesses and stay-at-home orders keeping people inside. Many businesses had to come up with ways to continue operating and finding and serving customers. Such as a Greenville, SC pizza restaurant that began selling “make your own pizza” kits online when they had to close their inside dining.
All impacts haven’t been negative, however. Some businesses that never considered having remote teams, found that once forced to use them, they actually saved money and that remote employees were more productive.
What lessons are there to be learned from the pandemic that can improve your business going forward?
Business Continuity is More Than Just a Slogan
When the pandemic hit, the importance of business continuity became crystal clear. The companies that had prepared their operations properly were able to more easily adjust to a remote workforce because they already had the cloud tools to do it.
Those that were less prepared, found they needed to make more changes and put out cash on cloud tools they had to have immediately (like a business VoIP phone system).
We learned that business continuity is vital, and all companies should make it a high priority.
Cloud Technology Should Be the Standard
Over the last 15 years, companies have been adopting cloud technologies and platforms like Dropbox, Slack, and Microsoft 365.
But it has always been an option. For example, Microsoft still sells its Office programs in an offline version, and some companies still use closed, non-cloud systems.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that for those businesses that can, they need to have the capability to operate from anywhere and have ways to reach and serve customers if a physical building can’t be used as a touchpoint.
The cloud became indispensable to stay connected during the pandemic, and companies should now consider it the standard of business IT rather than a choice, if they want to stay competitive.
We Can Get Very Creative With Help From Technology
2020 was the year of the video meeting. Platforms like MS Teams grew from 20 million users in November 2019 to 115 million in October 2020. The world got incredibly creative with their technology when they had to find other ways to do things.
Some examples of this:
- Adobe held its 3-day annual Adobe MAX conference completely online
- Schools across the nation stayed in session using online learning
- The use of telehealth has skyrocketed and provided more access to physical and mental health
- Retailers have instituted contactless curbside delivery
What many companies have learned is that they were not pushing technology or their imaginations to their limits. So much is possible that can improve convenience, reduce costs, and ensure a company is resilient.
Technology Can’t Take the Place of Human Interaction
As much as the ability to video conference kept many people sane and connected during the stay-at-home orders, we also found that we still very much crave that in-person contact.
There is something about being in the same room together during a meeting or event that you can’t replicate in an online environment.
This is an important lesson for companies intending to keep WFH employees going forward. It’s important to include in-person meetings from time to time to keep remote teams connected and feeling like a family.
Most Network Security Wasn’t Prepared for Remote Teams
2020 wasn’t only the year of the COVID pandemic it was also the year of the Cyber Pandemic. Cybercrime skyrocketed 400% and hackers took full advantage of less secure remote employees.
Organizations learned that they need to look at remote employees with the same security lens as if they were working at the office, as well as put new procedures in place to protect remote connections.
This includes things like ensuring employee devices are secure with antivirus, patch/update management, web filtering, and more. It also means looking at login security to better protect remote logins to office resources and cloud accounts.
Another technology to consider for a secure remote (and mobile) team is a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt communications, even if they’re on less secure Wi-Fis.
Is Your Remote Team Fully Secure & Supported?
Rocky Knoll Technologies can help your Charlotte area business ensure your remote team is secured and has the technology support they need for peak productivity.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 704.594.7292 or reach us online.