For every long day that passes in this crisis, more of us are being forced to adapt to this new way of life, and with little sign of the lockdown being eased yet in any meaningful way, we can expect to be working from home for much longer than we thought.
Almost overnight, thousands of local SMES have scrambled back to the confines of home, setting up makeshift offices where the space allows so they can continue to communicate with colleagues, clients, family and friends.
Though not ideal for everyone, it’s been quite an incredible feat of resilience, endurance and business continuity to try and at least maintain the status quo – or at least adapt to the raft of changes this crisis has brought. Many are still trying.
Despite the challenges, most businesses are actively thinking about when they get back on track, how they’ll do it and in what form they will be in the future.
The reality is that this crisis is already permanently changing the way we will work long into the future.
It’s not just me. Predicting a permanent reduction in travel because people have learned to use homeworking technology, the AA says the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis will undoubtedly transform the way we live, work and travel. Other leading business publications, including Forbes, agree.
But as we dream of things being back to ‘normal’, there are opportunities. As staff have changed their habits, so too have many businesses, some of which are working more efficiently than ever before.
Digital is now the name of the game and we’re now better connected than we have ever been. With the technology available, most business now know they can still function quite effectively without the need of large and expensive office space, long commutes and lengthy business trips. There’s also a greater focus on the time it takes to do things, results and productivity.
Long advocated by the ‘big four’ – PwC, Deloitte, EY and KMPG – more of us are more in control of our own outputs and what we can deliver for the companies we work for. Many of us are communicating more with our teams than we ever have before.
In this time of crisis, many companies who have adapted to this new way of working are now starting to consider how they can improve their capabilities in this area so they can use it to innovate and even diversify to capture new opportunities.
As recovery looms, companies are now being urged to make efficient communications a core capability. VoIP and Cloud technologies in IT are already playing a pivotal role in business continuity and are encouraging firms and organisations towards a much more agile and secure business model.
There is plenty of support and advice available to support greater investment and focus. In addition to the job retention scheme, the government is moving quickly to support businesses with a range of grants, rates relief, loans and incentives. Some local councils and Local Enterprise Agencies are also providing a variety of supports and digital training.
Now that work-from-home has been proven possible for many of us, the odds are that when this crisis is over, more employers will at least allow more employees to work remotely at least some of the time.
If anything, this crisis has taught us that it’s best to be prepared.