After more than three months, SMEs are on their way back to workplaces right across Northern Ireland. Many are returning in phases while others continue to work remotely.
There is much to consider. Safety measures, risk assessments, appraising immediate staff needs and workloads.
While there’s no set timetable for businesses, most are already set up well to continue working remotely, which means there’s plenty of flexibility and wriggle room built in. On the face of it, technology has helped most businesses to weather the storm and this will continue for some time yet.
Putting the market challenges aside which everyone will face, there are some certainties and facts we can rely on. Things won’t be returning to normal anytime soon. The ‘normal’ we thought we knew is a long way off, and may never return. But we do know that the technology which we quickly embraced during lockdown, if not before, will be a bigger part of our world long into the future.
It’s amazing how many managers and staff at all levels learned quickly to adapt to working remotely, and to adapting and utilising the benefits of a new wave of productivity and collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams and cloud telephony. After getting started, remote workers can now easily and securely share content, reports, meeting agendas, have ‘face-to-face’ meetings and keeping in touch on progress and projects with clients and colleagues.
Quick catch-up calls are exactly that too. Functional and productive with no travel time wasted, this software has not just been a lifeline – it’s highly cost-effective. Everyone is always up to speed and continually updated with little room for error or miscommunication. This is what the new normal will look like.
SMEs will operate very differently in the years ahead and remote working is in, with little ‘business as usual’ in sight.
A new survey by the Institute of Directors Ireland suggests that companies could permanently shift working patterns and downsize their office space by embracing more remote and flexible working, with just 12% expecting all staff back in the workplace and the majority indicating that the majority of staff will be splitting their time between the two.
A recent survey by PwC also suggests that almost 80% of businesses will be working more remotely in the future and that more will be invested in technology to meet client needs in a new way.
So if you’re not already using technology such as Microsoft Teams, it’s time to start exploring just what it can do.
Microsoft Teams was built for today’s diverse and increasingly mobile workforce, providing you with an open, digital environment that makes work simple, integrated, visible, and accessible for everyone. With Teams, everyone around you will always be in the know.=
Chat and Meet: Enjoy public and private conversations. Microsoft Teams provides a versatile conversation experience where you can enjoy persistent threaded conversations. It brings you video and voice capabilities plus a wide variety of modern visual communication tools that will help increase engagement with staff which can easily be scheduled in advance with notice of the agenda and who has been invited.
Hub: Teams offers a shared workspace for the various applications in Microsoft Office including PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Planner, OneNote and SharePoint. This feature gives you and your teams the option to work natively without having to stress about toggling between applications as you try to get projects completed.
Mobile Audio and Video Calling: It provides a simple and easy-to-use app that allows you to chat with your team via text, have a voice conversation, or a video meeting.
Secure: Microsoft Teams is among the most secure applications in the world and stands head and shoulders above its competitors.
According to EY, it is too early to say to what extent we will not go back to the old way of working, but that business leaders should be thinking about the potential of investing in a new operational model based on higher flexibility and a more agile and remote way of working.
Navigating the post Covid-19 world will be one of the biggest business challenges of our time.
Making sure you have the right tools to compete and succeed is essential so it’s vital that you’re well equipped now.