smart working to maintain business continuity during covid-19

How to Maintain Business Continuity during COVID-19: Smart Working

It’s becoming highly evident that the wide-sweeping impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are fast-tracking digital transformation initiatives and forcing companies to adjust business models to keep operations running.

Nobody can foresee when this emergency will stabilize, or the magnitude of the financial impact on the business network. The time for establishing operational efficiencies, planning how to restructure business models and grow innovation frameworks to accommodate enhanced mobility is now.

Businesses that invest in mobile solutions to create and implement new methodologies can reduce the risks related with the COVID-19 outbreak and keep their organizations running successfully during this crisis period.

In this article we will show how digital transformation and smart working are allowing companies to continue to operate efficiently and effectively.

smart working from home

Smart Working

Understanding the meaning of Smart Working may not be intuitive or immediate. We hear more and more about “smart working” but what does it actually mean?

We can define it as a new managerial philosophy based upon giving people flexibility and autonomy in the choice of space, schedules and tools they use, but, with a greater responsibility for results. It involves the “intelligent” rethinking of the ways in which work is carried out, removing constraints arising from fixed position, open space and single office models that are at odds with the principles of personalization, flexibility and virtuality.

Smart Working is not just about work-life balance and corporate welfare initiatives for employees. It is a pathway to profound cultural change and an evolution of corporate organizational models. A detailed, phased roadmap, which is congruent with the organization’s technological, cultural and managerial nuances is required.

In all of this, technology plays a key role. Smart Working necessitates Digital Transformation in the workplace. This involves the application of technologies to connect people, spaces, objects and business processes. The aim is to deliver efficiency and effectiveness that maximise productivities in line with business objectives and priorities.

Smart Working: Helping Business cope with Coronavirus

Since February, Chinese businesses have successfully adopted Smart Working as a commercial antidote to the impact of Coronavirus.  As the virus now proliferates across other parts of the World, there is a unique opportunity to embrace Smart Working as a socially responsible vehicle for business to continue and to thrive.

The Technology That Enables Smart Working

Smart Working has become possible because of digital technologies that allow us to choose where and when to work. Technologies that support remote work are already widespread and diverse.

Employees today communicate through different owned and corporate devices. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), once broadly opposed by business, has become a main driver of agile work. Indeed, there is no Smart Working without Enterprise Mobility Management and many organizations have already started on the path to embrace it. BYOD does require governance and systems security to safeguard against employees’ personal devices compromising business technology infrastructure.

In terms of other enabling equipment, the standard suite generally consists of a laptop PC, VPN and social collaboration services but often also includes company provided mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Customised Apps

Mobile apps can be invaluable in driving business value. All kinds of businesses use mobile apps in all kinds of ways. Apart from the self-evident role of apps in m-commerce to generate revenues and to engage the customer in novel ways, businesses are now identifying compelling ways in which mobile can support other functions. These can include supply chain management, business documentation, administration and compliance, remote monitoring and control of systems and infrastructure, training and development etc.

One word of caution though. The spike in homeworking is placing unforeseen pressures on internet connectivity. Low speed connections can negatively impact the benefits of Smart Working. Make sure when your app is being designed that the technical requirements include solutions for limited connectivity scenarios.

Scalability should also be planned for. Scalability, in this context, can be defined as the capacity of a system to deal with a growing amount of work by adding resources to the platform’s framework. As the number of users and customers engaging with the app grows, the app platform must have the capacity to grow too.

collaborating tools for smart working

Collaborative platforms for Smart Working

There are various excellent platforms that facilitate Smart Working. Different platforms offer different solutions, from remote meeting, to project coordination and task management, to content sharing and collaboration, etc.

Here are a few of the more popular…

G-Suite

G-Suite is a bundle of productivity and collaboration tools, including Gmail (for e-mail), Google Drive (for uploading, sharing and managing content), Google Hangouts (a video conferencing system), Google Calendar as well as document, spreadsheet, presentation and task management software.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is similar to G Suite in terms of the range of tools on offer.  There are advantages and disadvantages to G Suite and Microsoft when compared with each other. They are both excellent products so any choice regarding which to select often simply comes down to personal preference of Google vs Microsoft. There are several online articles that critique and compare both if you need some assistance.

Trello

Trello is a tool that allows you to detail tasks and activities that need to be completed, organize them into lists, assign them to the relevant personnel  and track the progress and completion of the work.

Slack

Slack is a business collaboration and instant communications platform. Users can engage with colleagues, clients or other stakeholders using specific topics and dedicated channels to manage and store communications. Inside the platform you can connect Google Drive, Trello, Google Calendar and many other popular applications.

Skype

Skype  is a Microsoft solution for making video calls, chatting and sharing documents and files. It also offers the capability to create channels for the organization of teamwork. Video conferencing solutions like this help organizations save time, resources, and money by organizing large meetings with only a few clicks.

TeamViewer

This is a platform that allows remote access to your computer or other mobile devices from any device through any browser. So, for example, a user working from home could access their office desktop remotely.

Conclusion

The vast majority of businesses are investigating and implementing new ways of working as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many organisations had been supporting home working  before the outbreak, for others this is a whole new proposition. Fortunately, the digital world provides access to customised and off-the-shelf tools to facilitate the transition from traditional to remote working methodologies..

Hopefully enforced work-from-home orders will be lifted in the coming months. However, businesses should probably anticipate that perceptions surrounding working from home will be changed forever.

Smart Woking offers a host of benefits for employers and employees and should be embraced as a positive despite the dreadful backdrop that is enforcing the current situation.  Consequently, in many cases, the transition to new work methodologies should be considered a long-term project and not a short-term emergency measure.

This requires business to plan for remote connectivity, systems infrastructure and information security. It also required the deployment of the digital tools that will drive growth and productivity.

Many  of these tools already exist but the really ambitious and innovative businesses will need some proprietary customized solutions to drive new value within their various stakeholder groups. If you need to know more about customised mobile applications, Appify is here to help.