If the COVID-19 pandemic and rapid shift to remote working have taught us anything, it’s that with the right tools and connectivity, employees can work well from anywhere.
Since businesses have adopted new working models — remote, home-based or hybrid — most, if not all, say they have become more productive.
In one study by Cardiff University and the University of Southampton, 41% of employees who started working remotely because of COVID-19, said they were getting just as much work done while working from home as when they were working from an office.
More than a quarter said they are getting more work done — and it’s not just that they’re doing more, they’re also being more efficient and showing more initiative when it comes to working.
Telecoms training company Wray Castle is one example of how unified communications help improve internal communication and customer service.
Because many of Wray Castle’s employees work remotely, delivering training courses at client offices, their customers struggled to connect with employees when they weren’t in the office.
By combining their fixed and mobile communications into a single cloud-based phone system, calls can now be routed to an available employee through a single number, so customers can always get access to someone when they need to.
Ironically, remote and home-based employees are now more connected to their colleagues than they have ever been.
Empowering the workforce and creating a sense of unity has become the top priority for organisations. Communication tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have become key components of the future workplace, but they need to be connected to work effectively. This is where unified communications comes into play.
Unified communications does exactly what it says. It unifies your employee’s phones, emails, live chats, files and messages into one place so that everything your employees need to connect, share, and work together, is in the same, secure system.
Employees are thriving now in an environment where they not only have access to the tools they need, but the freedom and flexibility to get on with their work.
They have proven that they can be trusted to do their jobs, and are repaying that trust.
Productivity and remote working solutionsare also helping workers and businesses to be more proactive. This includes solutions for network connectivity and managing bandwidth.
With more connections to manage and more varied bandwidth requirements across roles, IT managers are looking for solutions that can actively manage connections, provide real-time insights and prevent slow responses or lag.
This is where a wide-area network (WAN) can help.
When Innocent Drinks wanted to improve the connectivity between their growing global workforce, they worked with us to build a WAN system to connect their UK headquarters with their offices across Europe.
By connecting their company to a fast and seamless data network, Innocent Drinks can reliably send data company-wide that is also stored efficiently and securely. Their previous system was expensive, inefficient and just didn’t work in the way Innocent’s people needed it to.
You could go one step further with a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). This intelligent network can be built over your existing infrastructure.
Unlike traditional networks which simply provide a connection between two points, SD-WAN can automatically manage the distribution of traffic over the network.
If one road becomes overloaded, the system can divert traffic down the most available route.
It also provides the potential to assign certain network routes to particular tasks.
So, for instance, high-bandwidth tasks like video conferencing or file-sharing can be assigned their paths. This means they won’t be competing with other high-volume, low-data tasks for space.
This kind of proactive network management is becoming critical for global companies trying to manage connections between thousands of workers.
And it’s not just a short-term solution. While COVID-19 brought significant short-term problems, it also highlighted the role networking technology can play in the future for businesses to adapt to be more flexible and resilient.
Beyond the pandemic, networks will be formed of multiple technologies — LAN, WAN, Cloud — that are used together and managed from a single platform.
Plus, with intelligence and autonomy built into these future networks, they’ll be able to self-manage and automatically adapt to changing scenarios. These networks are comparable to how self-driving cars work — if there’s a person in the road, the vehicle will brake to avoid a collision.
For example, changing firewalls in response to attacks on the networks, or automatically changing the level of bandwidth available over the network when it reaches a set capacity. This could be crucial for a retailer during a busy business period, such as black Friday, as they have a network that “scales up” when they need the capacity. The result? No disgruntled customers or loss of sales.
Furthermore, these benefits will go beyond the office, helping all kinds of businesses work better and become more adaptable to whatever they face in the future.
IT managers are now managing and maintaining the distribution of applications across a wider network of devices. And they need visibility and real-time data to manage these applications.
Using MDM, employees can improve how they work using mobile devices and securely access critical business information from anywhere. MDM has the added benefits of integrating easily with helpdesk ticketing software, so employees can easily log issues.
Combining MDM and mobile custom mobile app development, businesses can create specific applications for employees based on their day-to-day requirements. These apps can then easily be installed on every device.
We’re not going back to the way we used to work before. We’re all looking at how we can reinvent our business models using the best of existing human connections with new technology.
Company-wide use of digital technology has changed from a long-term ambition to a necessity — particularly for those that want to thrive in the future.
COVID-19 has been a short-term upheaval, but it has opened the eyes of many businesses to the opportunities modern technology and flexible networks offer.
And an effective business is one that can react and adjust quickly to changing circumstances.
Those most likely to achieve this are those with a workforce that is equipped with the tools and real-time data to make fast, informed decisions. We’ve all seen how the shift to remote working and the distribution of productivity solutions are already making employees more proactive in creating value for their business.
Businesses and employees alike are now rethinking what the ‘future of work’ looks like.
For employees, it’s one that better fits around their own lives. One that gives them options not only for how they work, but where they work.
For businesses, it’s about creating networks that can connect global teams, ensuring they can reliably transfer higher levels of data and providing a platform for employees to be more productive and happy in the jobs they do.
It’s also about being ready for future challenges. Whether it’s the disruption they have to navigate or simply recruiting the best talent by providing new incentives and access to the best technology.
Now is the time to take stock about the future of remote working and put in place the platforms for a more successful future.
Around the globe, our network reaches 182 countries.
We provide the underlying transport network, the virtual overlay, and the platform to prioritise everything.
Gartner names Vodafone as a Leader in its 2020 Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global.