The ongoing pandemic has done little to slow the evolution and emergence of new tech. And as remote working continues, the reliance on cost-effective, time-efficient technology for communications and workflow management has increased even further.
Here, we’re exploring how technology has developed our way of working amid COVID-19, and how we might expect it to permanently change the workplace in the future. Offering valuable insight to senior decision-makers, this guide considers the technology best placed to support businesses that have adopted remote working practices.
- From Nice-to-Have to Necessity: How Remote Working Has Evolved
- How Technology Made Remote Working Feasible
- Essential Tips for Businesses Reliant on a Remote Workforce
A decade ago, emerging tech brands like Netflix and Twitter made waves with their approach to flexible and remote working practices. Allowing employees the freedom to work anywhere, and anytime (within reason), these progressive businesses introduced the concept of remote working on a level never before seen.
But while some businesses adopted a similar approach, others branded remote working as a gimmick deployed by big tech firms to attract talent. It was seen as a nice, attractive employee perk, offered by a handful of businesses with the technological capabilities to allow their teams to work on such a flexible basis.
Then came COVID-19. With people encouraged and later ordered to work from home, remote working went from a nice-to-have to a necessity overnight – leaving many businesses scrambling to put adequate infrastructure in place to support remote personnel.
And that’s where technology comes into the picture. Without it, businesses would have faced seismic issues during the coronavirus lockdown, with limited opportunities for collaboration, reduced communication between teams, and a breakdown in the processes and means of working on which all companies rely.
But with signs indicating that coronavirus-related disruption could be coming to an end, will businesses revert to previous in-office ways of working? Or have advances in technology done enough to persuade business leaders that flexible, remote working is not only viable, but that it could be the right fit for their enterprise in the long term?
There’s no getting around the fact that remote work can be challenging for all sorts of businesses. But given the circumstances in which the world found itself in 2020, many firms will be feeling pleasantly surprised at how smoothly their operations continued to run during the pandemic – and that’s all thanks to technology.
In one sense, COVID-19 couldn’t have disrupted our lives at a more convenient time. With a majority of UK businesses having embraced at least some element of digital transformation over the past decade, and others already offering flexibility in terms of working hours and location, technology helped lessen the impact of the pandemic in a way that would have been impossible to imagine 20 years ago.
Consider the prerequisite of any successful organisation: communication. Without innovative new technologies, teams would be hard-pressed to achieve nearly the same level of collaboration, interaction and cross-departmental liaison, with video conferencing software, project management platforms and instant messaging apps making for seamless communication between remote staff.
Elsewhere, technology has facilitated unbridled business continuity, with collaborative tools and platforms allowing remote teams to maintain work on ongoing projects in remote locations. With many businesses turning to cloud-based software and solutions during the pandemic, this allowed for the easy scaling up or down of project work, as well as unrestricted collaboration between teams.
Of course, one of the primary assets of being in a physical workplace is allowing staff access to all company systems, hardware and resources in one secure location. However, thanks to the rise of cloud-based ERP solutions, which essentially unify systems and data into a single, easy-to-access platform, many businesses have been unhampered by the constraints of remote working – with staff able to access all the tools, data and information they need at home.
Now that COVID-19 is all but behind us, many firms and their personnel are eager to return to the workplace – and that’s understandable. But there’s no doubt that the pandemic has brought about a change in people’s attitudes to remote working, with many more businesses viewing it as a viable commercial solution than did before the events of 2020.
For businesses weighing up the pros and cons of remote working with a view to making it a permanent part of their offering, here are some essential tips which could help leaders comprehend its attributes.
Recognise its Benefits – Not Just Its Limitations
Although remote working has been broadly accepted as a feasible solution to ensuring business continuity, there has been little focus on its merits. Many businesses view it as a short-term solution, but it can offer so much more than that.
When weighing up whether to continue allowing remote working in the wake of COVID-19, look beyond its convenience during a global pandemic. There are many benefits to allowing employees to work remotely, and these could contribute to greater efficiencies, cost savings and the conception of big, ground-breaking ideas in the long term.
Continue to Invest in Up-to-Date Technologies
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we are critically reliant on the tools, platforms, software and hardware on which we run our businesses day after day, week after week. Without regular and consistent investment in new and emerging technologies, who knows where your business may end up during the next period of global disruption.
Don’t Fear Remote Software Implementation
One of the perceived hurdles of remote working is the lack of opportunity in which to implement new business software. With personnel working in remote locations, it can be tricky for businesses to implement upgrades, enhancements and updates which are of critical importance to the long-term scale-up of the business.
With that said, however, businesses should have nothing to fear from the deployment of new systems and software in a remote working setting. With cloud technology allowing for seamless integration, and scores of specialists dedicated to streamlining the process, managing remote software implementation is considerably simpler than you might think.
Don’t believe us? Read our guide on managing a remote ERP implementation for practical tips and advice on the process.
Have you enjoyed this article? For more technology guides and features, head to the JS3 Global blog, where we cover lots of business-related topics. If you need helping managing a remote workforce and believe enterprise resource planning software could be the way forward, our experts will be happy to talk you through the options available. To speak with one of our ERP specialists, visit the homepage or call us today on 0161 503 0866.