With the outbreak of Coronavirus escalating across the world, the majority of people are practising social distancing and self-isolation. Many businesses have had to move collaboration online whilst setting up their employees to work remotely with minimal notice. We're all adapting to the changing nature of working life and to working alone, solely dependent on technical solutions to communicate with colleagues and clients.
The impact of COVID-19 has ushered in a remote working trend, in which virtual communication and collaboration has become a lifeline for many businesses across the world. Virtual communication tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout and Zoom are enabling us to continue to collaborate, discuss and brainstorm together online.
The pandemic has highlighted the strengths of technologically advanced companies as they switch seamlessly to online collaboration whilst exposing the weaknesses of companies that have failed to include a digital strategy into their continuity and resilience plans, as they now struggle to adapt to the changing nature of the working environment.
Today’s current climate seems to be a “moment for companies to build the kind of technology and culture that, when the economy is back to full force, could make remote work easier for those who want to take advantage of it in a future where white-collar work might involve a little less commuting and a little more home.” (The Atlantic)
Companies are now encouraging teams and departments to move away from traditional conference calls to digital face-to-face sessions to encourage brainstorming and discussions. Software such as Skype, Zoom and Google Hangout are just a few market-leading technologies that can be used to set up the right environment and simulate a physical meeting. Furthermore, Facebook Horizon where users are provided with an anonymous avatar and put into online space with others allows more honest sharing of information by removing hierarchical barriers that hold people back from sharing, and can be adopted in various corporate workplace environments.
Online tools to facilitate brainstorming and collaboration such as Mural and Miro are providing real-time data tools, visual collaboration, note-sharing and virtual whiteboards helping businesses plan tasks, projects and campaigns.
Developing your own engagement portal or platform to facilitate virtual collaboration including intuitive insights, real-time collaboration and live project updates will prove to be a lucrative tool by enabling continuous communication for internal teams as well as ensuring transparency for your clients.
Technical solutions and online platforms can provide workers access to relevant training so they can continue to hone and enhance their skills whilst working remotely. Businesses with existing CPD portals and mobile apps are able to offer their staff accessible modules and courses whilst they’re out of the office. However, businesses without such solutions are still able to use digital platforms to offer development courses to their staff members. Udemy is an online platform offering thousands of courses ranging from IT and Software, Marketing, Business and Design to ensure that personal development continues outside of the office environment.
With most businesses no longer able to meet customers face to face, it's vital that companies create digital alternatives. Businesses can offer a unique customer experience by investing in technology that enables people to access information, insights and products online. The rise of e-commerce and m-commerce over the last decade has revolutionised the retail and food delivery industry and has enabled customers to purchase items and meals online, without visiting a retailer or eatery. However, in light of recent circumstances across the world, many other types of businesses should look at leveraging the power of technology to build digital solutions that streamline and enhance the customer experience.
For example, we partnered with Psyma to build one of the UK’s first mental health apps which offers psychological therapy to user’s through a live video call functionality. This type of application will help support mental wellness in a time of COVID-19 and societal isolation. Similarly, we partnered with WPJ Heating to develop Clipfix, a mobile app connecting customers and plumbers in real-time through a live video chat. In this current climate, the app is helping customers struggling with plumbing issues whilst in isolation.
Developing an app or online solution, enabling your customers to contact you quickly and simply via a chatbot, forum, or offering video communication and access to products and services online will prove extremely valuable in the coming months.
It’s important to remember that the businesses that invest in their digital strategy and continue to balance business continuity with long-term progression are putting themselves in the best possible position after the pandemic passes. As well as this, leveraging the power of technology at this current time to ensure that your employees and customers are engaged, supported and connected is vital. The Coronavirus outbreak has taught us that technology and virtual communication is a necessity in times of panic and isolation, providing people access to products, services and a connection to loved ones when all other forms of normality seem to have vanished.
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