Is your business ‘Plan B’ ready?

‘Plan B’ measures have been discussed and delayed for a number of weeks already, but recent reports indicate that Boris Johnson may ‘trigger Plan B in days’.

The government has outlined ‘Plan B’ measures to tackling Covid-19 this winter, including the introduction of mandatory Covid-19 passports, compulsory face coverings, better communication, and, most crucial to UK business and the economy, is the return of ‘work from home’ (WFH) advice.

‘Plan B’ measures have been discussed and delayed for a number of weeks already, but recent reports indicate that Boris Johnson may ‘trigger Plan B in days’.

National media outlets have already indicated that ‘Plan B’ Covid measures could cost the UK economy up to £18bn, and the repercussions on businesses of all sizes could be far more severe than minor revenue loss if they do not prepare appropriately for all possible outcomes.

Sridhar Iyengar, MD for Zoho Europe and expert on hybrid and  remote working operations, said: “Adapting to remote working this time round is a completely endeavour to the short term solution employed when Covid-19 first hit, or during the second wave last year. This is not least because customers expectations for online services have inherently altered. Employee experience has also moved much higher in focus. Regardless of the sector, businesses must be equipped to offer tailored, round-the-clock, and efficient services that are resilient to the constantly changing economy and new industry trends which are regularly subject to volatile change.

“Business leaders can not afford to fall into the trap of assuming that because they’ve done it before they can do it again, and it’s imperative that they equip themselves with the right strategy, tools, tech and know-how to thrive under ‘Plan B’ measures and beyond. A sustainable strategy should be deployed to enable a seamless switch from Government advised remote working to a longer-term hybrid working model when it becomes safer to do so.”

Sridhar offers the following tips for getting your business ‘Plan B’ ready:

1. Reassess your digital infrastructure

Remote or hybrid working tech is key to unlocking your businesses full potential, and with the right tools in place, employees can work from anywhere, without a drop in efficiency. At the same time, business owners must also tackle a new set of challenges, namely how to work securely. This means organisations have to continuously review their workplace operations to ensure their security strategy is sound.

When selecting the right tools, decision makers must consider how well they ‘speak’ to each other – a majority of businesses tend to adopt a ‘Best of Business’ approach to their apps and SaaS solutions, and rarely take a moment to consider how well these tools are going to feed into existing infrastructure

Owning the ‘full stack’ is an alternative solution which guarantees seamless interoperability. Allowing users to share data between systems, communicate across apps, and access multiple functions and tools from one central hub are a few key perks to owning the full stack, but if this is not an option, businesses should look to employ technology that values interoperability with third party providers as a priority

2. Strategic changes

Managing changing working conditions must start from the top, with senior decision makers and managers. There is a lot of responsibility for seniors to facilitate training for new tech, establish open lines of communication between colleagues and staffers, and implement guidelines for how remote working under ‘Plan B’ rules, in this case, differ from usual operations, whether that’s hybrid working, full time on-site working, or something in between. But, regardless of the measures introduced, it’s important for businesses to lead by example

3. Use remote working to your advantage

Remote working, under the right conditions, can accelerate operations, improve employee wellbeing, and advance workplace efficiency. Businesses which have not experienced these perks over the last 24 months, have likely failed to adapt operations so that they effectively suit the format of remote working. Simply attempting to replicate an ‘office’ work culture will not work, and businesses should play to the strengths of working remotely. This might include increasing personal autonomy for employees, giving them greater control over their working hours, for example

Remote working can also be used to improve your company on a granular level. It can provide an opportunity to improve diversity initiatives, enable via remote hiring, for example, or open your eyes to new technology, such as CX applications, to aid customer engagements and meet sales conversion targets.

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