Never doubt the ingenuity of the American worker. Three years ago, almost all of us relied on an office, studio, retail outlet, production facility, or some other physical space to do our jobs. But then COVID19 shut down the economy.
At least, it tried to.
Within months, businesses had found workarounds. Officing from home. Online shopping carts. Curbside pickup. And delivery. (So much delivery…)
It was a new way to work. And a lot of it relied on personal devices and home Internet connections.
On one hand, you should applaud people for finding ways to keep their lives and businesses going, no matter what. But on the other hand, personal devices aren’t ideal for professional uses.
- Messages sent over a home Internet connection were inherently less secure.
- Personal devices couldn’t be locked down against user error or hackers.
- Business transactions and expenses couldn’t be traced and recorded.
- When employees changed jobs, their cloud-based decks and documents disappeared.
For a while, business owners believed all this was a temporary blip, and they just had to hold tight till things got “back to normal.”
But today, it’s clear this is the new status quo. While offices may reopen, the best talent will demand flexibility. A new generation of workers will expect seamless, secure, always-on technology. And some businesses are even seeing rises in productivity and profits.
Three ways to create a system that works the way the world does.
1. Connect in the cloud.
On-premise solutions are sometimes the right choice for an office. But they’re a barrier to remote work. No matter how reliable your VPN and how high your bandwidth, you’ll always have a gulf between you and remote employees.
A cloud-based solution is the, well, solution.
You can route calls to any device with an Internet connection, just as easily as you could send them to a desktop phone. And specialized features that used to be available only in the office can be accessed from anywhere.
2. Make the switch to VoIP.
VoIP is where all the major telecom investments are being made. And for all but a few businesses, it’s a much better choice.
One reason? It makes remote work easier.
Now, instead of handing out a personal cell phone number, an employee can share his or her office line. With VoIP, the call will be routed right to their device, so they can take it from their home office (or kitchen table) without anyone knowing.
Want to read more about VoIP? Head over to our TEC Talks Tech article, “What Businesses Do – And Don’t – Need VoIP?”
3. More is Better. Seamless is best.
Choice is a good thing, right?
The truth is, it can get a little dizzying the first time you sit down to list your needs. Secure wifi, wired and cellular coverage. Chat, text, messaging apps, email, social sales, video calls and phone calls. Desktop, laptop, tablet and cell phones, both personal and employer-owned, with all the right apps. Onboard and accessory cameras and microphones. On-prem, cloud-based and hybrid solutions for accessing files of all sorts and sizes.
Excuse us while we catch a breath…
Every employee will have their own special way to combine these options. So a good system offers all the ones that are right for the business, without anyone having to think too much.
Employees get lots of connectivity options, with a minimum of stress.
But don’t forget, humans are still social creatures.
From an employer’s standpoint, smart technology can fix most of the concerns associated with remote work. But ironically, workers may find themselves drawn back to offices anyway. In 2021, Forbes wrote that two of the most common complaints about remote work were constant distractions and the effect on mental health. Neither of those situations has gotten any better in the last couple years.
Many people never truly liked working at home, they just enjoyed the flexibility. The businesses who do the best job of attracting talent will be the ones who offer the best of both worlds.
Safe, seamless, reliable remote technology.
And the occasional office party to go with it.