The past year has been one of the most disruptive in recent memory. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced organisations to rethink their traditional processes and rapidly embrace digital transformation to stay relevant and keep their employees operational during lockdown conditions. As such, connectivity has become the cornerstone of remaining productive as people across industry sectors have had to contend with the normalisation of remote work.
Whether it is in retail or healthcare, education or corporate, the work environment has had to become more flexible. Globally, the percentage of workers that will be permanently based at home is expected to double in 2021 as organisations realise the productivity gains to be had. At the same time, this mitigates against the risk of the virus spreading with office environments seeing fewer employees than ever. This means that the decision to stay connected and productive becomes as much a human health one as the realisation of an eagerly awaited technology trend.
Unfortunately, in the rush to migrate to cloud-based environments and adapt infrastructure to “make do” during the hard lockdown, many businesses had to take shortcuts that could potentially result in loss of productivity down the line. Now is the ideal time for companies to assess what they have put in place and identify the optimal technology solutions for improving their flexible work environment.
These must be robust to deliver long-term productivity gains and establish a resilient environment for employees and companies alike. If the events of 2020 have shown decision makers anything, then it is about the importance of turning inward and ensuring their employees are doing okay. Disasters such as this can have an impact on mental health, so it becomes vital to check in on workers, especially those who are now operating remotely.
The reality is that companies must be resilient, flexible and adaptable to meet continually evolving requirements while still enabling their workforces to remain efficient.
In conjunction with Cisco, we have developed Comstor kits that feature everything partners need to make employees productive from anywhere they have a reliable Internet connection. These are geared for small businesses and designed to reflect the specific needs of South African companies. The kits offer essential technologies for the flexible worker, delivering collaborative tools and the security choice of Cisco Duo, AnyConnect, Umbrella and Cloud Mailbox Defense at an affordable monthly price per user.
With the future of work being an increasingly remote one, companies must ensure their employees have the tools they need to remain productive and deliver on expectations. Being productive from anywhere and staying safe while doing so will be organisational priorities as we head into 2021 and beyond. This does not mean companies have to reinvent the wheel. Rather, they need to leverage their existing networks and infrastructure with innovative solutions that empower employees to perform optimally regardless of what is happening in the world around them.
- Louise Taute is Comstor director at Westcon-Comstor sub-Saharan Africa
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