Long before COVID-19 took the world in its deadly grip, the idea of employees working remotely from the office had a global appeal. Now, remote working is for many a necessity.
It is the time to take a look inside the new ‘work anywhere’ world ‘landscape’ of clouds, screens and fewer people making the long trudge into and out of work. Countless companies are adapting to the remote work model and realising that this ‘cloud’ can indeed have a silver lining.
But what exactly does the new work model hold and what key themes do businesses need to consider? Sunny Dhami, Senior Director of Product Marketing at RingCentral explores the issues.
Cash and financial management are always crucial components for a business. In today’s climate, companies are under more pressure than ever to get their finances in order. With further restrictions in place and more on the horizon, businesses have felt the squeeze. Hospitality, travel and the high street are particularly under threat.
The government has introduced schemes to support the hospitality sector, but for many they may not be enough. The tourism and travel industry is also struggling, with weekly changes to locations on the quarantine list. Businesses need ways of improving liquidity to survive.
The choices are not easy. Reducing expenses, revising redundant assets, and following other strategies are all essential. Key considerations are:
- Reducing cash outflows by cutting services and contracts
- Becoming faster on collections and payments
- Introducing cash flow KPI options for reporting and targeting
- Optimising order-to-cash and procure-to-pay procedures
- Selling or leasing hardware IT assets
According to Deloitte and PWC, two-thirds of CFOs are expecting capital expenditure to decrease in the 3 years following the pandemic. In fact 79% of CFOs are still planning on aggressive cost-containment measures. However, businesses also need to ensure they are considering total cost of ownership when weighing potential infrastructure options in the ‘remote’ future.
Automation and the impact on the workforce
It’s a crucial time for companies of all sizes to invest more time and effort in innovation. After an initial outlay, investment in automation will expand resource opportunities for allocation elsewhere, helping businesses become more competitive.
Automation in the new era means providing easier access to knowledge, not just for consumption, but also interpretation and innovation. Leaders need to develop businesses that can thrive in a digital age, which means empowering human employees, and finding supplementary solutions.
In the new business landscape automation will support employees in finding their perfect point of productivity. Companies that resist change and refuse to help staff members discover the benefits of new technology will find themselves falling behind.
The adoption of cloud technology is another major theme that’s transforming the landscape today. This technology plays a crucial role in allowing for remote working and supporting businesses through continuity in the face of unpredictable events.
Just as organisations have gradually moved towards the work from home model, they have also been shifting more significantly into the new world of the cloud. The movement into cloud largely comes from a desire to minimise operating costs, scale services up and down according to need, and connect a disparate workforce. Cloud technology also means companies can easily gain access to emerging capabilities and features.
The shift to cloud technology will accelerate in the years ahead. In a recent survey by research organisation Nemertes, 64.8% of organisations, and 77.8% of those with the highest ROI for their collaborative environments, said they’re more likely to use cloud services to support working from home since the pandemic.
Employee engagement is a significant concern in the current landscape, and an issue highlighted in a recent study.
When asked what they think a significant challenge could be for a remote working environment, 73.2% of respondents to the survey by ‘Workable’ highlighted individual employee motivation and engagement.
Employee engagement focused significantly on communications and synchronisation, with around 54.5% of respondents planning virtual team meetings, and 52.8% planning to incorporate more communication technology.
Despite the concerns that many companies have about employees working remotely, there’s very little emphasis on upskilling and retraining employees for remote work. Companies seem to be more focused on connectivity. Participants in a recent roundtable discussion hosted by RingCentral revealed that despite the growing demand for remote working, not all employees are enjoying the experience.
Working from home has a lot of benefits, but it can also be overwhelming. Alongside feelings of general disconnect from the company, employees are also dealing with countless back-to-back calls that seem to progress well into the evening. There’s also the threat of feeling isolated or uninformed about what’s going on in the organisation.
Adapting to the new world of work
Surviving in the new complex working landscape means finding the right way to properly empower employees and serve customers. As valuable as the ‘work anywhere’ landscape can be, it’s important to remember that every significant change brings challenges that must be considered.
Companies have done surprisingly well making the shift into a remote landscape in such a short space of time this year. However, there are still steps to take, and there is a lot of progress to be made. Preparing for the future with a focus on the themes above will help your organisation stay ahead of the curve.
This article comes courtesy of RingCentral, a leading business communications platform providing unified communications, contact centre and customer engagement as a service.