While everyone packed up their desks last November, and prepared their home set-up for lockdown 2.0, something felt a bit different from the first time around. This time, attitudes changed from ‘Panic! What happens now?!’ to ‘Here we go again’. Whether your customers have the temporary set-up they need to get them through the next month, or whether they’ve rolled out a full contingency plan for the foreseeable future, it’s evident that the first run-around of COVID-19 has shaped the outlook of businesses today. So, what have we learnt so far?
1. The true value of technology
Video conferencing was a ‘nice-to-have’ for businesses to save time and travel expenses, who knew everyone would become solely reliant on catching-up over video? To the point where doctors were switching in-person appointments to virtual consultations and Zoom was the latest hot-spot for a Friday night unwind, technology kept the world turning during the lengthy lockdown dropped on us in March 2020.
It’s no surprise that the uptake on video conferencing platforms excelled. Zoom saw 300mil+ daily meeting participants at Its peak. This could be partially down to their offering of free licences which was ideal for personal use. However, as people started talking about Zoom’s ease of use for virtual quizzes, more businesses started to take on the paid pro licences for added features and security. 55% of Zoom’s high revenue customers began with a single employee’s free trial.
Although it is not the same as face-to-face communication, investing in additional work from home equipment – such as headsets, speakerphones, and plug ‘n’ play cameras – will provide the next best thing to human interaction. This is something some businesses are still yet to learn, 62% of remote workers want their companies to provide better technology for when they are working from home (Finder). If your customers are still looking to provide their employees with a remote working set-up, take a look at our remote working brochure which showcases our home working portfolio.
2. Cloud has always been one step ahead
If it hasn’t happened already, Covid-19 will be the push for your customers’ digital transformation. Luckily, many IT managers could see the value in cloud technology pre-pandemic. However, some organisations have now learnt the hard way that manual processes and on-premise solutions just don’t make the cut. These businesses have started migrating their data and files to cloud hosting servers, to make it easily accessible and secure for employees working from home.
Office workers can thank cloud technology for the communication platforms we use daily – including Zoom, Pexip, BlueJeans, and Lifesize – it has also been the backbone of food delivery and retail companies as their customers turn to apps for the ease of online ordering due to being restricted on ‘popping to the shop’.
- 26% of workers are using video calling software for the first time since they started working from home (O2)
- 11% are now using cloud storage software (O2)
- 12% of workers are using new document sharing and collaboration software (O2)
3. The corporate world will never be the same
There was always a prediction that the future of the workplace would revolve around flexible working. In 2018, we were given the statistic that the number of flexible workspaces would increase by 56% by 2022. However, the number of remote workers has already doubled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Companies are starting to enjoy the benefits of remote working, including reduced overhead costs and a better work/life balance (62% of remote employees believe they are more productive now that they can fit work around their day (Institute of Employment Studies).
However, working from home isn’t for everyone, and providing businesses have the right tools in place, it shouldn’t have to be. Read our previous blog ‘4 reasons why the office is here to stay’ to find out why professionals would like the choice of returning to the office (when government guideline allows).
4. Employee wellbeing is the priority
Previously, employees took it upon themselves to go into work even if they didn’t feel 100% and 1 in 5 people have taken a day off due to stress, but 90% feel unable to tell their employer that mental health is the reason for their absence (Stats provided by MHFA England, sourced from NHS and Mind). Some seem to think that there was an unspoken rule that if you’re slightly unwell but can still get by then going into the office is a must. Since there’s been a chance of catching Corona, people take the time at home to make sure they’re putting their health first.
Not only has there been a change in how people look after their own physical and mental wellbeing, but businesses have also now taken a step back to see the effect that the restrictions of not being able to see friends and family can have on their employees. As a company, we are proudly moving forward in the right direction by training 4 of our staff to become mental health first aiders, should our employees ever need someone to speak to. In fact, we believe many companies within our industry are taking the steps to become more aware of mental wellbeing in the workplace. With this in mind, Peter Orr (Telecoms veteran) and a group of trustees have set up a charity that focuses on providing more support to people within the IT industry, who may be suffering from any sort of mental health problem. Mental Health Associates (MHA) focuses on offering advice and raising awareness of emotional wellbeing. Their support line can be reached on 0330 1244338.
5. Cashflow is key
Luckily because you’re a link in the technology supply chain, it’s likely that the pandemic put your services in high demand. Unfortunately, for many companies, business would have drifted the opposite way. These companies will be constantly reviewing their P&L’s with a fine-tooth comb to find innovative ways to save, and even in some cases survive.
Overhead costs have therefore been in the spotlight for many businesses, where surprisingly costs which you think are just a little spend here and there can turn out to be quite significant. Although companies are saving in expenses, entertaining, and facility bills, it is not enough for many companies and there is still pressure on the channel to support.
Longer payment terms, better credit, and even flexible finance or lease offerings are some of the requests being proposed because of the pandemic. That’s why at Nuvias UC, we’ve been working on our ‘Hardware-as-a-service’ offering where end users can pay monthly for any hardware, software, and professional services over the value of only £1000. This allows the end-users to control their cash flow with steady outgoings rather than paying out huge costs at one time, especially when implementing essential remote working solutions.
But it’s not just being able to offer monthly financing that will help you, our channel partners. We’ve learnt that pressure on end-user cash flow can put pressure on your cash flow, and our cash flow, which is why we’ve introduced an agency model through our new Division – Konekt.
By transacting through an agency model instead of a wholesale model, there is no cash flow implications as the contract is directly between the vendor and the end-user. So, you don’t have to find the means for large, immediate upfront payment costs, or have to worry about the risk during the current economic climate. Yet, you’ll still benefit from a regular, recurring revenue – Sounds good right?
In summary, businesses have learnt that they can maintain business continuity in the worst of situations. It seems like Covid-19 has opened our eyes to new ways of working which will be beneficial to businesses and their employees in the long-run. If your customers are still looking for ways to enable their teams to comfortably work from home, call Nuvias UC on 01635 225000 or check out our remote working guide.