How quickly everything changes! Since the video we shared a couple of weeks ago, we’ve now moved into phase two of lockdown as an increasing number of businesses are reopening.
Like other businesses, we too have had to change the way in which our business communications structure works to adapt to working from home, during the Covid-19 lockdown. We previously wrote about how most businesses felt that their communications were cobbled together to keep themselves going in the face of a new climate.
If you’re still working out how to manage your business communications through this time we’ve divided our thinking into three phases which may help. These are: what you did as a first reaction, what you should be doing now, and what the future may look like.
Phase 1: React and respond
Although we’ve passed this phase, it’s good to reflect on how a lot of businesses reacted to the announcement of lockdown in the UK.
The Goal: Keep our people safe, customers served and the business running!
Having a disaster recovery plan was one thing, but for most Covid-19 was in the same risk category as ‘alien invasion’.
The priority was keeping our people safe and our businesses running as we switched overnight to homeworking.
That meant cobbled together comms, mixing existing services with whatever else you could put on a credit card.
Essentially, we did what we needed to do. It’s likely none of these were in our communications strategies.
Everyone was using lots of different services for different things, just to get the job done – whatever it took.
Business calls diverted to people’s mobiles, WhatsApp messaging groups and Zoom video were high on the list.
For some, who had already moved to cloud-based services, the move was more straightforward, but for most of us it was still on the to do list.
Phase 2: Plan and improve
As we’re adjusting our work lives to this new normal it’s important to start planning on how to improve your business communications solutions.
The Goal: Investigate and implement tools to create a sustainable and effective way of working
What should you be doing right now?
It’s time to look at the business communications solution you quickly put in place and figure out how to make things easier and better for customers and colleagues.
You need to be asking where your pain points have been and if the current ways of working are sustainable, to give priority as to where to start.
Our new future needs to combine parts of homeworking and office life in a sustainable way, now’s the time to make sure you’ve got this right.
What improvements should you consider?
Explore solutions that offer the same customer and colleague experience, regardless of location, to give everyone the tools they need to be productive.
Focus on solutions that are easy for people to adopt and will simplify their life.
Look for the one or two things that will make a difference right now, but that can also become the core of a wider plan to build on over time.
This will likely be a cloud telephony system to manage calls consistently across any location, on any device. And also a collaboration tool, such as Microsoft Teams, that brings together instant messaging, online meetings, desktop sharing, video calls and more in a familiar and consistent way.
Ideally these should integrate. But avoid long term contracts and complex, one-size-fits-all tools that are hard for your employees to use.
Phase 3: Embrace and optimise
The Goal: See tomorrow as an opportunity to embrace a new normal
What comes next?
As restrictions are lifted, we want the best of both worlds, to combine the benefits of both office and home working.
Embrace the best elements of homeworking that worked for your business and build them into your everyday processes and technology choices.
How do you realign for your future strategy?
It should be all about the user, with flexibility built in. The right decisions in phase two will give lots of scope to adopt the additional functionality that people will need.
Next steps could include CRM integration, tailored analytics and reporting, further adoption of collaboration tools, moving corporate data or on-premise business applications to the cloud, reviewing devices or developing your approach to security and compliance.
This is an ongoing continual improvement process to be built out over time. You’re no longer reacting to Covid-19; you’re back to your strategy, building your company for the future.
If you need more support in setting up a business communications solution to work for your business, why not send us a message, chat to us online or call us on 0800 160 1111.