Flexible – The Future of Work

The COVID-19 Pandemic unwillingly thrust companies into an all-or-nothing remote worker environment.  Small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) found themselves coming up short in providing the right solution for their employees. SMBs urgently, and in many cases without much forethought or planning, grasped for any solution to keep their employees in close communication. Many companies struggled to tie together various components of the new “remote worker” solutions and introduce tools such as VPNs, web meeting tools, and remote desktops. Business leaders then had to rely almost exclusively on their employees’ ability to quickly learn and adapt to the new tools.

During our extended lock-down period, many in our newly minted remote workforce have gotten comfortable with the technology we implemented. However, for others, there is some combination of lifestyle, personal character, and work environment accommodations that leaves them less than satisfied with being a remote worker. 

As our economy begins the process of rebooting, the forward-thinking SMBs are considering changes in their former, traditional workforce configurations. Most will fall somewhere between their old model and the new, un-planned remote worker model. These businesses are considering how they can create a balance of in-office and remote workers with hopes of benefiting both their business and their employees. These businesses have a unique opportunity to consider implementing a hybrid model of office and remote solutions. This opportunity could potentially allow them to reduce their expense profile, increase job satisfaction, and attract new talent! 

The key to success for these businesses is to re-evaluate their unplanned remote worker solution and create a more secure and  effective workforce. The outcome in mind being a solution that is both consistent and reliable for their employees, whether they are in office or working remotely.

Now is the time for forward-thinking companies to seriously consider the operational, technical, and cultural shift associated with implementing what the industry has dubbed a “Unified Communication and Collaboration” strategy. In practical terms, this means providing employees with consistent and secure technology to communicate with each other, clients, vendors, or any others outside their organization.

When considering a new remote work solution, It is imperative that employees have the ability to track communication whether it be written, voice, or video with others. In addition, they need the ability to access, discover, and manage files and other electronic assets with ease to get their jobs done. The consistency aspect of this new environment means that the employee’s environment does not change if they move between the office, home, or any other temporary remote work location. Consistency also means that the work environment is functional no matter what device or devices are being used throughout the day.

Traditional thought leaders are likely challenging this environment or feeling that the ‘emergency remote worker’ solution they have put into place is sufficient. WRONG.

They also expect their ‘band-aid solution’ will be able to meet the future needs of their flexible workforce. WRONG.

Lastly, they may believe that a remote IP handset, a VPN, and an e-mail system will do the trick. WRONG.

Okay, so MAYBE not all WRONG… For some businesses, this may be enough to get by, but that is a very large ‘MAYBE.’ For most, this is highly unlikely.

The forward-thinking company that truly wants to create a flexible workforce will need to embrace new thinking, new tools, and a new operational culture.

 

The good news is that the new tools are available in the Cloud Services marketplace. Leading the pack, the Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 platform offer us a low-cost, highly effective, secure, set of tools that can rapidly accelerate your workforce into the realm of a FLEXIBLE WORKFORCE.

If you are among these forward-thinking SMBs, and you want to take advantage of a well-planned, flexible workforce, contact First Call today and let us show you how a shift in your technology strategy now can prepare you for a flexible workforce in 2021.

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