Businesses that have engaged with their employees on work-from-home needs are making strides towards a sustainable distributed workforce that’s capable of thriving in the future
There are lessons that businesses can learn from the chaos that 2020 has brought – lessons that can change how organisations sustainably transform the way they engage with their workforce and approach disruption. Lockdowns, social distancing and endless waves of uncertainty have resulted in numerous businesses undergoing rapid pivoting, stress and unexpected complexity.
2020 has also created immense opportunities for businesses that are willing to engage and adapt to this new operating environment. Those businesses that rise to the occasion will find themselves well positioned to lead in a new era of digital enterprise.
According to Dion Surujparsad, acting executive for product management at Liquid Telecom South Africa, organisations need to start embedding sustainability into their connectivity and collaboration platforms. “Providing their teams with the tools they need to really thrive no matter what lies ahead.”
Until now, many companies have resisted investing in comprehensive remote solutions because they’ve been waiting for life to return to normal. It makes sense – in a time when budgets are tighter than ever and spending money on systems that may never be used again seems a waste. However, as research and results reflect the benefits of working from home, and as lockdowns continue their hold on the working world, the time for waiting is over and those that hesitate may find themselves left behind.
“The pain point that has really hit businesses hard is capacity,” says Yves Kanda, manager of telephony and collaboration products at Liquid Telecom South Africa. “Currently, most companies can’t have more than 30% of their workforce on their premises, so if they want to deliver goods and services they have to create the remaining 70% capacity through the use of technology and connectivity.”
Limited — or a complete lack of — connectivity has affected organisations’ ability to collaborate and connect with employees and customers, and this has had to rapidly change for companies to survive. Many have cobbled together inventive solutions to get their people online and capable of working from home.
“Companies had to provide their people with the tools and solutions so they could get on with working as efficiently from home as they did from the office,” says Surujparsad.
The pandemic is unlikely to loosen its grip on remote working and social distancing for a while yet, so companies need to invest in solutions that will allow them to connect and collaborate more securely and reliably for the long term. In South Africa, unique circumstances such as load shedding can exacerbate already fragile work from home environments, and adaptive solutions need to be found.
“The landscape is limited, and uncertainty colours every decision,” says Kanda. “However, even within this complexity there are several threads that stand out. One, companies need to ensure their employees are as productive as possible. Two, they need to empower and enable their people because this will only benefit them in the future.”
At the end of the very long and disconnected day, people need the right tools to be effective in their jobs. They can’t work on cobbled-together platforms for the foreseeable future and they need to feel that their home office is as connected and capable as their work one.
The ideal setup will allow the workforce to view their work from home environment as an extension of the larger business – almost as a branch office of their employer. This not only gets results from people in terms of performance and productivity, but it lays the groundwork for a company that’s far more agile and adaptable than ever before.
“The truth is that companies are rapidly realising that this wasn’t as hard or as horrible as they thought it would be,” concludes Surujparsad. “Employees have adapted to remote working, skills have been enhanced, productivity has increased, and companies have found that they can trust people to work from home, after all. While there is always going to be that one person who can’t self-motivate, on the whole most people are working longer hours and are happier without the constraints of traffic and the office.”
Early adopters of new technologies will be the drivers of change, becoming the fabric of the agile and sustainable organisation that will be capable of handling any crisis in the future. These layers of connectivity and collaboration solutions are helping create companies that are more likely to thrive in the uncertain times that lie ahead.
For more information about Liquid Telecom’s work-from-home solution, please e-mail email@example.com or call 080 1111 636.
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