The Impact of COVID
The COVID pandemic has impacted businesses and their employees in many ways, from developing new models of communication to encourage productivity, to ways of interacting with and serving customers. One of these shifts in the modern workplace includes the enablement of a remote workplace, or a virtual office.
The pandemic forced businesses to quickly transition many of their employees to work remotely. In many cases they also needed to implement new technology solutions to keep workers productive and engaged during this time.
But as 2021 draws to a close, many of these same companies are rethinking how to manage their workforces for 2022 and beyond. Now, with vaccinations rolling out, many companies are transitioning employees back to in-office work. However, a recent survey from CBRE (Coldwell Bankers Richard Ellis) revealed that 80% of large US businesses and 66% of mid-size businesses intend to implement a flexible, “hybrid” work model.
Some of the reasons are financial. With so many employees working remotely, businesses are re-evaluating how much capital investment they need for office space and how much could be sold off or rented out for additional revenue. They could also reduce operational expenses such as heating, cooling and electricity.
The pandemic also has had an effect on employees. Many people, adapt easily to working remotely. They became more proficient with tools that helped them communicate and collaborate on projects with a minimal impact on productivity. And they appreciated getting the extra 1-2 hours of commute time back in their lives. It also meant more money in their pockets instead of their gas tanks.
It’s not surprising, then, that a Harvard Business School survey found that 81% of workers said they wanted to continue working remotely or in a hybrid schedule.
Working from home has also caused many to re-evaluate their life and career priorities and re-think what things are truly important to them. In what has been call the “Great Resignation,” as many as 95% of American workers have said they are considering changing jobs to maintain this flexibility.
Four essential needs of the virtual office
This all means businesses will be investing in technology to adapt to this trend. There are four basic needs for remote workers to successfully do their jobs.
Workers need to be able to connect with each other as easily as walking to the next cubical. This requires an omni-channel communication platform that includes phone, email, text and instant messaging solutions.
Workers also need to hold meetings and make group presentations regularly. This requires robust web conferencing tools that make it easy to set up, join and facilitate online meetings, even on short notice.
A third need for workers are tools that will help them collaborate, review, edit, sign and share documents. This trend will push businesses to adopt an increasingly paperless work environment.
Workers will need ready access to customer and business data and the tools to analyze that data to make sound business decisions. Accessing and interacting with this information remotely also requires systems to be secure and efficient.
Into the Future
In the not too distant future, remote workers will be able to collaborate and interact as if in person through VR technology, effectively blending all the communication tools into a single, interactive platform.
But today, technology providers like Amazon Connect and 8×8 have created powerful communication and analytical tools that can meet your business needs. Third party companies like InterVision work with these providers to offer customized Unified Communications (UCaaS) and Contact Center (CCaaS) solutions as a service, for a single monthly bill.
InterVision has been helping businesses solve IT problems for more than 25 years. If you are looking for new UCaaS or CCaaS solutions to connect your remote workforces to their virtual offices, contact us here or call one of our representatives at 844-622-5710 for a free consultation.