At the start of the pandemic, nearly every sector had to quickly pivot to accommodate stay-at-home orders to flatten the COVID-19 curve. Once the stay-at-home orders slowly lifted, one thing was certain. There would be a shift in how small and medium businesses (SMBs) would return to normal. In many cases, the SMB workforce found that with the right technology in place, remote work environments could save money and resources.
Work-from-home, which many used to view as a perk, is now a part of a new reality. In a recent Intermedia survey, findings noted that:
- For SMB owners that shifted to a remote workforce for social distancing purposes, 57 percent said they will maintain remote working options in the long term.
- SMB owners have found that in this new normal, employee availability was up by 19 percent, job satisfaction was up 15 percent, and life satisfaction increased seven percent.
- While employee productivity and satisfaction increased, SMB owners found that overhead costs have gone down.
While many small business owners are still significantly impacted by the pandemic, and many of them are uncertain about a timeline for recovery, this shift to remote work environments may allow them to ultimately save costs and increase productivity in the future. To help in this effort, providers of unified communications and collaboration technologies have risen to the occasion. Within weeks and months, users quickly came to rely on video and web conferencing to connect with co-workers and teams. Now these collaboration tools are simply part of the new workday.
In a recent presentation at Cisco LIVE, Oliver Tuszik, SVP for Cisco’s Global Partner organization, predicted that we’d see several phases of change as a result of the pandemic, each of them bringing new opportunity. “The new normal will require more IT and there will be higher demands,” Tuszik predicted. In this new normal, he said that we’ll see a greater demand for secure connections, “from anywhere, to anywhere.” This will have an impact on the home office, as well as Webex and collaboration tools across remote offices.
As the SMB workforce makes this shift for the long-term, accessibility, reliability, and security will be the pillars for making remote work environments a success. The recent Zoom outage is just one example of the havoc that can be caused when a system goes down that so many people rely on. With reliability and security top of mind, Cisco recently announced major enhancements to their own Webex offering. August updates to the system include increased security, specifically updating the encryption cipher for Webex Meetings to make it resistant to tampering. Additionally, Webex updates improve video flow at high resolution even when your network has a heavy load.
To learn more about other ways that Cisco is improving Webex to empower the enterprise and SMB remote workforce, click here.