With the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus all over the world, the business world is learning the value of flexibility in the workplace. As the world learns to work from home and begins to explore the virtues of working online with video and teleconferencing platforms, the technology industry has not had to adjust its method of working very much, if at all.
This industry has, from its inception, made the most of existing technology to shape the work models and practices of every company working in the digital world. The digital realm has very few boundaries. As long as you have access to an internet connection, you can stay productive.
The COVID-19 pandemic is putting all types of businesses to the test in staying productive and profitable. Those businesses that can seamlessly adopt the day to day working practices of the technology industry will be able to have the best chance of surviving the current worldwide crisis.
The innate flexibility of the technology industry is ahead of the curve in providing the world with vital solutions to the ‘social distancing’ necessary to combat the coronavirus.
Video-conferencing, telecommuting, work-from-home practices and co-working spaces with conference rooms available on an 'as-needed' basis have all been a part of the technology company’s usual practices for some time.
These working solutions are quickly being adapted to suit more and more businesses that can use them as a work-around solution to keep their profitability up and their doors open for business. Business owners and managers have seen how these tools can be used to allow their employees who work almost completely online to continue in their jobs without a hitch in their productivity.
One aspect that businesses new to this method of working are quickly realising is that keeping open lines of communication with these workers, no matter where they are physically located, is vitally important.
For managers, this can seem daunting at first. Rather than looking out over an office and seeing who is at work and who isn’t, the manager has to go online and use a platform or communication app that allows them to do what they used to do easily by sight.
But many software companies offer Customer Relation Management systems (CRMs) that are designed to help managers manage employees no matter their location. These systems were first designed to help with the timely online response to customer requests and enquiries. But as companies adapted to these remote methods of working, they realised that these platforms could be adapted as a platform of seamless communication among employees and managers as well.
Technology companies have also been using these systems for years, and they can tell who is working on which project at a glance by making use of these platforms. These CRMs have made these remote working habits easier to manage and keep track of for companies all around the globe. And they are becoming especially valuable as social distancing becomes the norm during the current crisis.
It remains to be seen what the future of business will be after the pandemic eases, and people resume their lives outside their homes once again. Many companies who have had a good experience trying the remote working model on for size, might question whether they need the large offices and the expense it incurs in their future.
For these companies who are mainly service-based and don't have physical factories or production lines, they have seen the value in the way the technology industry has been working. It has worked for them as well, and you may see a drop in the commercial real estate market because of it.
The methods of working that have become second nature in the technology industry will become the ‘new and improved normal’ and represent a way that these companies can save costs in the rush to get back up to speed after the pandemic.
There’s a saying that every cloud has a silver lining. The experience of trying out these remote ways of working might be the silver lining for many companies that will help them to deal with the financial hardships caused by the coronavirus.