The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting Circuit Breaker here in Singapore have completely changed the way people live and work for roughly a year now.
A majority of companies had to send employees home to work remotely and adjust to new ways to serve clients, such as doing meetings via video call rather than in person. Singapore is one of the most productive cities in the world, with people working over 40 hours per week on average, meaning that disruptions to the way work happens can require significant adjustments.
Singaporeans work an average of 45 hours per week, making it the 2nd hardest working city on the planet.
Many world economists and those that look at work trends predict that companies and consumers will never quite go back to the way things used to be. Instead, they will take those lessons learned from the pandemic to adjust, adapt, and be more resilient in the future.
Here are some important lessons that the last 12 months have taught us about our use of technology now and for the future.
Cloud Technology is Vital to Business Continuity
The pandemic caused the closure of many physical offices, requiring employees to work from home. Companies that didn’t already have cloud infrastructures in place that allowed work to happen from anywhere were caught off guard and suffered more downtime and disruption than those with cloud solutions in place. Business continuity depends upon being prepared for anything, and a global pandemic wasn’t something that everyone was anticipating, which included disruption both to staff operations and customer behaviors. We learned that the cloud is absolutely essential to a business being resilient, and they need to look at permanently adopting technologies like:
- Business VoIP phone system
- Cloud productivity platform (like Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, etc.)
- Video conferencing software
- Cloud storage and sharing
- Web-based customer service portals
Cybercriminals Take Advantage of Turbulent Times
Besides the COVID-19 pandemic, the world also saw a “cyber pandemic” over the last 12 months. Rates of cybercrime increased around the globe as hackers and large criminal cartels took advantage of less secure remote workers and the general disruption companies were experiencing due to the pandemic. According to the Acronis Cyberthreats Report, 31% of global organizations reported seeing daily cyberattacks in 2020, that that number is expected to increase in 2021. To prepare for this year, companies need to address remote team cybersecurity and look at increasing basic cybersecurity best practices, which are the cause of many successful attacks. The Sophos 2021 Threat Report, which looked at cyberattacks throughout 2020, noted, “A lack of attention to one or more aspects of basic security hygiene has been found to be at the root cause of many of the most damaging attacks we’ve investigated.”
When Remote Teams Are Done Right, Everyone Saves Money
One of the big worries that many companies had when they had to send employees home was that they would not be as productive as they were in the office. But this is proving to be an unfounded concern, and in fact, many employees are more productive when they have the flexibility to work from home. In one HR survey of organizations, 95% of employers said that productivity was as high or higher than prior to the pandemic, even with teams working from home. Businesses also found that they can significantly reduce costs when implementing remote teams. Both employers and employees save on things like:
- No daily commute
- Lower cost for things like eating out for lunch, purchase of business attire, etc.
Employers see many savings, including:
- Lower energy consumption at their office
- Ability to downsize office space to save on monthly rent
- Less cost for office amenities like free coffee, etc.
- Savings on furniture, office supplies, etc.
People Need Tools to Feel Connected When Working Remotely
One negative phenomenon that happened as employees were sent home to work was that many felt disconnected and all alone. They no longer had the regular interaction of peers and feedback from managers. Companies learned that to successfully keep employees engaged and feeling like part of a team, they need to employ virtual work hubs (like Microsoft Teams). This gives employees a place to connect with each other throughout the day, communicate tasks and follow ups, and get regular feedback and support.
Online Spaces Can’t Replace Everything
Online meetings have definitely been important, but a special client event or staff holiday party can’t be held as effectively online. Human connections and experiences that happen in the same physical space are still very important. Once it’s safe to hold in-person gatherings regularly again, companies that are benefitting from a remote team, need to keep in mind that in-person interactions are still important. To get the “best of both worlds” they should also incorporate events (trainings, work celebrations, etc.) that are in person from time to time for both employees and clients.
Empower Remote Teams & Keep Them More Secure With Help from Managed IT Asia
Managed IT Asia can provide a tailored remote team plan to help you incorporate the security and cloud tools you need to be prepared for anything this year. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. Call +65 6748 8776 or reach us online.
MANAGED IT ASIA, we are an IT Support, IT Solutioning and Managed IT Service Provider specializing in serving Small Businesses across Asia. Call us at +65 6748 8776 and let us manage your Small Business IT today!