The struggle was real. Large companies and big divisions, midsized organisations and small efficient teams – everyone was caught off-guard with the Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdowns and trying to continue business functions. With work-from-home becoming a new norm, and strong indications that many companies shall continue to encourage it going forward, management and technical leaders have evolved from localized, data-centric strategies to a global perspective to keep businesses running virtually. Organisations are connecting people from remote locations, providing secure and stable networks, and automating processes for the modern workforce thereby ensuring business continuity and resilience.
Typically, organizations need to think of:
- Providing base level connectivity: example Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Ensuring that basic collaboration tools such as e-mail, voice, instant messaging are functional and reliable
- Determining appropriate access to critical applications in order to keep the business running securely
By empowering a remote workforce and building a secure and distributed-work model, organizations seek remote collaboration solutions that are simple, reliable, and secure. The new normal requires that teams can communicate, ideate, iterate from anywhere, anytime. Solutions like Cisco WebEx for example, ensure secure collaboration and make meetings as seamless as meeting in person. This gives a huge boost for the ability to keep businesses running as usual during the disruption brought on by the pandemic.
For remote employees to work from any device, at any time, from any location, solutions like Cisco VPN and Cisco Umbrella are useful. Additionally, solutions like Cisco Meraki help to securely extend the network and enable simple, secure, reliable internet access from anywhere. Likewise, Cisco SD-WAN helps improve performance, reduce costs, and enable robust security – all without direct IT intervention.
What the future holds
According to an IBM survey, 75% of more than 25,000 respondents indicated they would like to work remotely at least occasionally post-COVID. And 54% said they would like this to be their primary way of working. What was a slow transition to new ways of working has now accelerated to a point where organizations have to learn how to adapt so that they can shape, create, and design modern employee and customer experiences'.
Returning to work
One of the top concerns for businesses while enabling their employees to return to work is safety and adherence to the guidelines issued by authorities. Social distancing has become the new normal, and companies need to manage their workspaces accordingly.
Solutions like Cisco Meraki MV cameras, together with Everyangle empower businesses to manage people in physical spaces. This solution can alert location managers in case of social distancing norm violations. In addition, solutions like Cisco DNA Spaces use location information from wireless signals, RFID tags, BLE etc. to analyse location information using cloud platforms, and enable density monitoring, proximity reporting, impact analysis, behavioural analytics and more.
The long-term goal is to “return to work”. However, in the meantime, organisations need to provide solutions that help create a “Trusted Workplace” that deliver a comprehensive workplace experience to employees who are working from home, and is effective, efficient, effortless and secure, till the time employees can “return to work”.