Summary of RingCentral’s Digital Boardroom – Wednesday 6th May 2020
What have been the biggest challenges for your business over the last 8 weeks?
Depending on the industry, location and the ability to do so, organisations were at different levels in terms of having staff work from home. For those who regularly work remotely issues around security, time management and being trained on the software provided will have been minimal. For those on the other side of the spectrum, the last two months have been quite trying to get employees online and working quickly.
Ensuring that all employees have the right equipment, are trained on software such as Microsoft Teams and Office365, which have been popular but were at varying stages of utilisation at the time of the outbreak, have the bandwidth to work despite factors such as location and the number of people in a household and are aware of the security threats that may arise while working away from office protection were top priorities in the initial transition.
For many organisations manual processes are and have always been in place. Some of these may be possible to complete remotely, however until this point these have not been considered. Therefore businesses have been working hard to accelerate their levels of digital within to achieve this and ensure less employees are having to leave their homes for work. If automation is not possible, like with those working remotely, all safety measures are being observed to ensure all staff feel safe and comfortable in their work.
The move to remote working has resulted in many organisations needing to accelerate their digital transformation journey. Priorities and customer habits have been changing for years and the outbreak has magnified that, meaning that certain less digital projects have been slowed down where needed and many organisations are having to move solely online or provide digital offerings for the first time to ensure the same level of quality and service to customers.
Also, as restrictions on movement remain in place, organisations are being forced to reexamine their supply chains in order to maintain productivity.
What has your organisation been doing to aid employee wellbeing?
Employee health and wellbeing is near the top of all business’ minds. For many people this will be the first time they are working remotely. Many will be surrounded by family or friends and so being able to focus and concentrate on work will be a challenge. Conversely, those who live alone with little interaction may feel isolated. It is therefore very important to remain in contact and allow flexibility to help everyone succeed.
Much work has gone into ensuring a strong infrastructure to allow work to continue safely and seamlessly, training is being provided on new systems that will assist staff in their new environments and in some cases senior management provide regular updates to all their employees to keep them informed of the current situation, reassuring them that their hard work is appreciated and things will hopefully return to some kind of normality eventually.
From a social side, many events such as town halls, quizzes and cooking streams have been utilised to keep people connected with their colleagues and friends while offices are still out of bound.
What do you envision the ‘new normal’ to look like once the outbreak has passed?
It is widely agreed that what was normal pre-COVID-19 in terms of work and culture will not be normal once the outbreak has passed. However, it remains unclear what the new normal will be. Many employees will thrive on social interactions and being able to speak to people face to face and certain job roles rely on being in one place for a number of certain hours a day.
On the other hand, many organisations have observed an increase in productivity while staff have been working remotely. This has been attributed to a number of factors; the lack of commuting, the levels of flexibility being afforded in terms of start times and the number of hours in front of a PC and the fact that home factors such as having to home school children or be with loved ones have been understood, respected and are no longer seen as distractions to name a few.
Therefore, It is expected that most organisations will be asking the questions, either now or when the outbreak has passed, regarding office spaces, the possibility of splitting work between the office and home and sourcing closer to home where possible rather than globally as a means to increase local and regional industry where possible.