The Old Way of Work Isn’t Coming Back – Here’s How to Thrive in the New Normal
The new business normal is here. While there were shifts in the idea of work before the pandemic, the COVID era accelerated change. The reality of the new normal is flexible, hybrid work models where distributed teams communicate and collaborate virtually. Is your SMB prepared for this transition? How can you thrive in changing times?
Remote Work Didn’t Derail Business Success
Whether remote work was mainstream for your business or you quickly adopted it, the good news is that it works. A survey revealed that 83 percent of employers and 71 percent of employees call it a success. Further, 84 percent of employees want to work remotely at least one day a week. Most companies are amenable to this request and don’t plan a full return to the office.
To compete for talent and drive growth, you should consider establishing a hybrid workforce, which means there’s a mix of workers in the office and at home. Such a model provides flexibility and autonomy. Those are two things that workers want and expect now.
Hybrid and Remote Work Does Have Challenges
Most of the work ecosystem agrees that remote work is a success, which doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. According to research from Microsoft, the transition to remote work did disrupt communication and collaboration. The solution? Technology.
Another poll found that 56 percent of respondents said the change was easy because they had the right equipment. Leadership certainly understands the need for tools that streamline communication and collaboration, with 72 percent planning more investments in these areas.
When you equip your people with the right tools and create an agile and responsive culture, you can come out the other side ready to thrive in this new normal.
What Does the New Business Normal Mean for You and Your Technology Roadmap?
Many factors impact what the new business normal means for you and what tools you’ll need to find success. Your business model and what your company does are at the top of the list. Consider these questions in determining what your employees need to stay productive and engaged.
Do your workers need to be highly mobile?
If so, then you need communication and collaboration tools that are. Ideally, these employees would use an app on their device to take calls, share files, start chats, and more. For this to work, you’ll need a cloud-based phone system that uses the internet for making and receiving calls.
Do you have a contact center?
If you have a team dedicated to customer service, then you need contact center software that’s agile. That’s especially true if you want to expand and hire people that will work remotely. Additionally, the platform should provide an omnichannel approach to align with how customers want to engage – phone, email, or chat.
How is your sales team interacting with customers and prospects?
Sales once relied on in-person meetings, but that changed with restrictions. Now, virtual meetings are more common than in-person ones. Video conferencing isn’t fading away, so you need tools that make this easy and are highly reliable.
Are your collaboration and communication tools on one platform?
If you’re using multiple systems for voice, chat, email, video, and file sharing, you’re likely dealing with inefficiencies – the swivel chair effect of bouncing between applications. You may also be overpaying for these. Migrating to one platform improves productivity and cuts costs.
How organized and accessible is key information?
When you have distributed teams, collaboration can suffer. You can’t just pop over to someone’s office and ask where something is. Using multiple hubs to store documentation, training, sales enablement content, and files creates confusion.
With a central file storage and sharing system, you can streamline document management. Employees can also work on a document simultaneously without friction.
How can you use communication tools to strengthen culture and improve job satisfaction?
When workers have what they need to do their jobs, they tend to have much higher job satisfaction. In contrast, when they don’t, they become disengaged. You don’t need to be in the same physical location to have a healthy work culture, but its foundation must be communication.
Ask them what they need and why technology works or doesn’t. Feedback is critical in the employee-to-manager relationship. You can use communication tools to improve this by:
- Having regular team meetings with video so everyone sees each other
- Creating team chat channels for various topics, from specific workflows or products to fun ones like a pet channel
- Enabling easy collaboration with screen sharing, mimicking what a meeting would look like in a conference room with a whiteboard.
The New Business Normal Is an Opportunity
Change is hard, but it’s constant and necessary. Navigating the unknown has been your path since the pandemic hit. Now, the world’s view on business and work is different. To find success in the next frontier, listen to your staff, provide them with what they need to succeed, and leverage technology to fill gaps.
In doing so, you’ll be able to transform in ways that make you leaner and more competitive. Learn more about hybrid work models and how to support them in this post.