The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down in March of 2020 and it has pretty much been a wild ride ever since. However, with vaccines now being distributed, hope is on the horizon. Lots of people are looking forward to getting back to a routine that resembles something close to what life looked like before the pandemic, lockdowns, and mask mandates. Of course, there’s always a silver lining in everything and COVID-19 may have lasting impacts on the world of business that remain far beyond the virus.
Throughout 2020 and into the new year, businesses, employees, and consumers have shown how resilient they can be. People adapted to new ways of working, working from home, and juggling work with parenting kids learning remotely. Humans are nothing if not resourceful and adaptable. COVID-19 may have been devastating, but out of all the doom and gloom there will be some positives for business to focus on.
Transition to Remote or Flexible Work
Many businesses and their staff had to quickly pack up their essential office items and head home as the pandemic first got underway. What was supposed to be a few weeks of working from home has turned into months. And, for many businesses, may become permanent. Some of the world’s leading companies including Square, Shopify, and Slack have already announced a permanent work from home model. Plus, it appears employees prefer working from home with 60% surveyed saying they want to work from home even after the pandemic.
There are obvious benefits to working from home. Shorter commute times, money saved on commuting expenses, more time with family, more time to sleep in; they are all important benefits for employees. From a business standpoint, moving forward, remote work or flexible work models may become a hiring advantage. Plus, there is the possibility to downsize physical locations and save money on property costs.
Of course, remote work has its own quirks. Employees need to be enabled with the tools to continue doing their jobs effectively. This includes high-definition webcams, quality speakers or headphones, and second monitors. For much of 2020, businesses and employees were simply getting by with what they had. Now it’s time to really consider remote work and the investment needed to ensure the experience is professional and productive.
Expanded Lines of Communication
Communication changed a lot thanks to COVID-19. The days of the office water cooler chat have been replaced with Zoom meetings, digital messaging, and other creative methods of connecting remotely. While many people will always yearn for a face-to-face connection, businesses have seen that both employees and customers are willing and able to adapt to more digital communication methods. While the traditional meetings will return in some form after the pandemic, the versatility and efficiency of digital communication is something that all successful businesses will leverage.
Digital communication does pose its own challenges, though. Luckily the tech is there to help support small businesses as they transition. VOIP (voice over internet protocol) is a great way to untether from the office landline and allow employees to continue making and taking calls from home. Plus, with VOIP, employees can use smartphone apps or software on their devices to stay connected wherever they are. This allows them to take their office line with them on sales calls, to conferences, or wherever they may end up working post-pandemic.
Even in the office, digital communication is going to take the lead. With digital whiteboards, meetings and conferences will feel more like the sleek video conferences people have become accustom to. Customers have been changing the way they shop and interact with businesses throughout the pandemic and businesses need to be prepared to meet customers where they’re at and not where things were pre-pandemic.
Emphasis and Investment in Security
Cybersecurity has been an ongoing concern as the world becomes more connected. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how unprepared some people, businesses, and governments are for modern cyberattacks. Experts were tracking 4000 cyber attacks per day in 2020. This ultimately leads to billions of dollars lost and untold amounts of personal data exposed. But, just like with a pandemic, there is a silver lining. Cybersecurity, which has flown under the radar for far too long, is a hot topic now.
Whether it’s Zoombombing, clever phishing attacks, new malware, or some other type of security threat; 2020 has made the world acutely aware of what hackers are capable of. Now, with digital work becoming more common and employees moving to remote work, investing in cybersecurity is a timely and important cause for small businesses all the way up to the largest enterprises. Making these investments now will set up smart businesses to better take on the rapid digitization of industries around the world.
Prepare for the Future
Business may never be the same after the COVID-19 pandemic. To help prepare for the future with products, software, security, and advice; contact the small business experts at James Imaging Systems today.