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Anne Valaitis

Coronavirus: Plan, Prepare, Respond

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Way We Work

Mar 12, 2020 12:22:28 PM


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As the news and information surrounding COVID-19 or coronavirus becomes more frequent and urgent, many people are faced with the decision regarding how and where to work. If businesses are shut down, for indefinite periods of time, how will employees continue to get work done? If workers do work from home, will they have everything they need to continue operating as if they were in the office?


Large swaths of businesses have made remote working and distance meeting a strategic initiative, while others have a long-standing tradition of workers traveling to brick-and-mortar facilities to conduct most business. There is no shortage of technology currently designed to make remote and distance working easier, instead it’s a matter of how prepared businesses are to enact and institute some of these ideas. More people are being asked or directed to work from home, and in some cases struggling for those valuable connections and solutions that are needed from the home office.


As we navigate through disruptions to work and life due to COVID-19 (not just for ourselves and our work but also for our children), educational facilities are quickly making plans on how to best move forward if and when decisions are made to close schools. How will they teach the students, can they conduct e-learning adequately and what will it look like? While schools make plans, how do businesses fare when faced with a high percentage of employees who might need to work remotely? They have to ask themselves the same questions: Will employees be able to successfully accomplish business tasks outside of the traditional business environment? How can we facilitate remote working for those used to conducting business face to face?


Voice and video communications and collaboration solutions have come a long way for business use. Technology that was once relegated to the largest of conference rooms and boardrooms—feeling a bit static and stuffy—has evolved and become mobile and agile. Companies have implemented huddle rooms or smaller common meeting spaces to exist for short or impromptu discussions. The products and solutions targeting these “smart” spaces are capitalizing on this new unmet area, but a truly smart office extends beyond physical walls.


COVID-19 is a compelling motivator towards an emerging truth in business: The office no longer has walls. Employees need to be able to work from anywhere, with the same resources and capabilities in or outside the office. Remote workers, however, will be looking for solutions that don’t require an immense amount of integration or connective help, while providing the same level of sophistication, feature set, and satisfaction as if they were in an office. There is a need for turnkey functionality, knowing that calling IT to one’s residence is typically not an option—and now, more than ever, with potential quarantines.


The good news? Smart solutions for communications and collaborations are more accessible than ever. Costs have dropped, the features are rich, and integration and installation are not difficult. So, while it shouldn’t take a pandemic to yield change in the office, this one has shed light on a pressing business need and it will pave the way for a rush of adoption to help businesses and their employees.


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