Ican be difficult to comprehend how much the landscape has changed globally in recent months. Many businesses are now used to a new way of working, some finding themselves in a position of reactiveness in the absence of an agile Business Continuity Plan (BCP).  Not only does this leave businesses without policies in place for ‘Plan B’, it also leaves them open to operational vulnerabilities, whether that be customer support teams without access to on-premise based systems and dataor even employees unequipped with the basic tools required to work effectively from a home environment. Even as we begin a return to the workplace, for many the cultural dynamics of desk-based working have forever changed as we adapt to our new normal. 

Rapid deploy home worker solutions designed to keep your teams collaborating, phone lines live and customer support agents online have been the hero of 2020, but it doesn't end there.  

Communication Software 

Although a popular method of communication, only 50% of emails receive a response within two hours, which has the potential to decrease company-wide productivity and efficiency by a significant amount when communicating internally. For many businesses without remote collaboration tools such as Mitel MiTeam Meetings or Microsoft Teams, this is the reality. By making use of seamless chat, video, calling and file sharing, companies are able to collaborate and communicate internally in a way that was previously impractical from remote locations. Microsoft Teams now hosts 75 million daily users, on the rise every week as companies realise the potential of real time communication.   

MiFi Devices and Unlimited Data Sims 

In the UK and abroad we’ve seen data providers experiencing significant hikes in data usage. The increased reliability on connectivity has led some businesses to unknowingly rack up large bills as they surpass their typical data usage. Fortunately, data providers such as Vodafone have risen to the challenge. Unlimited data plans allow you and your team to freely use data as much as is required, at a capped cost.  

We’ve also seen ‘MiFi’ devices become increasingly common throughout the lockdown; small pieces of hardware that allow devices to connect to the internet reliably, avoiding speed limitations of home routers. Both options allow users to stay reliably connected when working from home without the worry of contended networks.  

Unified Communications 

While use of Unified Communication (UC) technology has grown substantially in the past years, the recent change in landscape has been a huge wake-up call for businesses to improve their UC capabilities. Unified Communications allows your desk phone, mobile phone, and other devices to converge into a unified’ communications system. This means employees within your business, who might otherwise become unreachable can be forwarded calls from anyone in the business, or easily route external calls to their preferred device. This makes handling enquiries easy as the switchboard remains fully functional, even if there’s no-one physically in office. 

The effects of COVID-19 will be seen far beyond its demise. Businesses have been forced to adapt and modernise, perhaps earlier than they would have liked. The rise in usage of collaboration tools and UC is justification enough that these tools not only add value but are an essential part of a modern workplace. The landscape has changed permanently, with reliable home-working strategies and robust business continuity plans becoming paramount for retaining staff and continuing to deliver simply brilliant customer experiences.  

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