In case you hadn’t noticed the world has changed a lot over the last 10 months and it is fair to say the business world has changed as much if not more than most other areas of life.
From busy commutes, packed offices, after work dinners, drinks, client entertaining and events to working in pyjamas, endless Zoom calls and painful staff broadband issues. But what does it all mean for business communications? What are we learning now we can keep doing and what are we going to lose as soon as “this is all over”?
How things were
It may seem like a long time ago but it really was only about 10 months ago things were totally normal. IT systems and communications were set up in the office and generally managed by outsourced companies or in-house teams. Video calling was used but the meeting was still king! Business broadband was not something most staff thought about, it just worked and that was it. Mobiles were used for business, but most major companies used more traditional handsets and headsets in the office.
Well, now it quite different. There were lots of video conferencing options out there but for most companies Zoom seems to be the weapon of choice. The mobile phone is now essential business kit, more than it ever was. For the most part businesses just did whatever they could to get systems in place for the first 3-6 months. Some still are winging it in the hope this all goes away. However, some businesses really jumped on it and brought in new systems for employees and created some very solid working processes.
What can businesses do better?
Well, if you run a business that is still running staff personal mobiles as phone lines and using skype then there are certainly some areas you can improve.
Business communications specialist Rob Whyte-Venables from Omni3 says:
“There is a lot of things businesses can do now that they can still use going forward. Investment now doesn’t mean it is wasted. A lot of businesses are holding on with bad set ups in the hope this all goes away when they could be investing in future proof systems.”
Voice over IP phone systems are a great way to bring back a proper comms set up. You can get handsets and headsets set up in home offices and work stations and used traditional landline numbers, use call forwarding and all the usual conference calling and voicemail options.
Direct Routing for Teams
Microsoft Teams is very popular, it may not be suitable for everyone but it does fit well with companies using MS products. Direct Routing is an extension to the MS system that can be offered by third parties. It allows companies to sync up the phone systems so calls can be made and received through teams without the need for an extra phone system.
Whether or not the days of large office IT systems and servers comes back there is no doubt of the requirement to be agile right now. Cloud solutions allow businesses to exist without the need for large server rooms and all the costs that go with them. It may seem a big leap of faith but it really is the future and works perfectly in the current climate!
There is, of course, lots of debate about this and what it might look like. But as things start to relax business will push on, just as it has pushed on throughout this crisis. There will be things that will have changed forever though. Working from home is highly likely to remain a very a key working practice from now on. So, making sure your business communications are set up with that in mind is critical. Don’t think of expenditure now as firefighting, it’s actually investing in the new work paradigm. Treating staff well and dealing with HR and the like is obviously much harder online but processes can be put in place and it all comes down to comms again. If the systems are there then one to one meetings can work very well. Messenger services are perfect for discreet contact and checking in on people and can actually be better than an awkward face to face meeting.
The world will never be the same again, but business will flourish as it has always done. The businesses that embrace change are the ones that usually win so now is a great time to look at the now and the future and push on!