As we near the end of what has been nothing short of a crazy year – there’s probably no more appropriate way to describe 2020 – businesses are looking ahead to what 2021 will bring. Based on what we currently know, though, many of the adjustments businesses have made to enable and support remote workforces will continue well into next year.
For one thing, COVID-19 infection numbers continue to rise – global totals are nearing the 60 million mark – and governments are rolling back some of the re-opening phases they’ve implemented, and some have even re-initiated partial lockdowns.
The other factor is that many companies have already indicated they will implement permanent remote work policies, at least to some extent, regardless of future conditions. That’s at least in part a testament to the technology and tools that enable remote workers to operate effectively from anywhere, giving companies greater hiring flexibility, allowing them to increase headcount more easily, and giving them a chance to reassess their physical workspaces.
Many companies have had successful transitions to remote working, thanks to the availability of cloud-based communications and other services they had previously implemented. Even if they hadn’t leveraged it for remote workers, they had the solutions in place to make the shift rapidly.
Others, though, weren’t as quick to adjust and tried to cobble together remote solutions using free services and forwarding office calls to cell phones. There are many challenges there, including lack of access to all the communications and collaboration tools that are included in cloud communications suites, lack of integration with other business applications and services, and a limited ability for collaboration among teams – which is critical in remote environments.
For many workers, there was a period of transition as they got used to working from home and learned to use various tools to communicate with colleagues and customers. By now, though, it’s become second nature for many of them, and these cloud-based tools are allowing them to function as effectively – if not more – than when they were in the office. Video has become second nature, for instance – though we sometimes are entertained by kids or pets video bombing our meetings – but it has allowed us to remain engaged, despite the situation.
Now that it’s clear that remote working is here to stay, it’s time for those businesses that haven’t made the jump to full-blown cloud communications solutions to plan their transitions. Even companies that have tried out solutions to enable to quick transition during the early months of the pandemic should consider the alternative solutions that are available to make sure workers have all the tools they need to operate revenue-generating businesses.
Noted unified communications analyst and consultant Jon Arnold (News - Alert) will be joining me on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, to share his thoughts on why cloud is the path to productivity and success, not only as this pandemic continues, but well into the future once the pandemic is behind us. Join Jon and me as we discuss the benefits of cloud communications, best practices for success, and strategies for maximizing productivity in a remote world.
Register for the session with Jon today.
Edited by Erik Linask