Embrace the ‘Future Normal’: Prepping Your Team and Tech for What Comes Next
All across the country, states shut down to help combat the spread of the coronavirus have started planning for what comes next. What exactly that’s going to look like will vary, not just from state-to-state but also from city-to-city, town-to-town, etc. Here in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf outlined a broad plan to begin the piecemeal, deliberate process of reopening the state. Starting on May 8, Wolf hopes to begin walking back restrictions on some of the state’s less impacted counties. The immediate and lasting success of this plan is predicated on innumerable factors outside of the control of Pennsylvania’s businesses, Governor Wolf or any level of government. However, it’s a sign that companies should at least begin strategizing for their own “future normals.”
While much still remains up in the air as to how these next few weeks and months will play out, one thing is certain. Technology has played and continues to play a major role in helping organizations carry on operations during the shutdown. Tools like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex have kept employees connected with each other and organizations connected with their customers and prospects. Given that, technology will almost certainly be heavily relied upon to support efforts to start the process of reopening businesses.
Some of the more headline-grabbing examples of this include Amazon and others investigating the use of thermal cameras in their warehouses and factories to monitor for potentially feverish employees. Then there’s Ford. The automaker considered watch-like wearables to enforce social distancing guidelines within its factories. A number of workers sported the devices, which vibrated when employees got within six feet of each other. For most organizations, their use of technology may not land them much press coverage, but it will be no less important.
Here are five questions all technology and business leaders should begin discussing so they’ll be ready to hit the ground running as restrictions are lifted.
- What will it take to maintain a safe work environment? There’s no bigger question or challenge right now than this one. Maybe the solution involves leveraging new technologies like those mentioned above. Or, maybe it means rethinking the layout of a workspace. Organizations should also make sure to consider how the technologies already in their toolboxes can help ensure employee safety – and what, if any, changes need to be made in order for them to do so.
- What will reopening a company even look like? There’s no switch to flip that will take organizations back to where they were at the start of the year. Instead, reopenings will likely take place in stages. As such, organizations need to have plans detailing what should be accomplished after 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and even 120 days. This should include how to optimize technology resources and budget, deciding which projects must be tackled right away versus which can be pushed back, etc.
- Are we prepared to support remote and in-house teams? In recent weeks, home offices have been the only office for huge numbers of workers. That could be about to change as businesses unlock their doors. For organizations accustomed to supporting a blend of remote and onsite team members, this marks a return to some kind of normalcy. For those who had to scramble over the last few weeks just to allow remote work, this blend of locations could cause its own set of problems. Organizations will need to review their security settings and network bandwidth capabilities and adjust accordingly.
- Setting aside the network, how much bandwidth does IT have? New devices, new workflows, all of this translates to more to do for already overburdened technology teams. Considering there will likely be no end date attached to many of the changes taking place, IT should plan for this spike in work to last for the foreseeable future. Organizations will need to work with their technology teams to make sure they have the bandwidth and the expertise necessary to take on new challenges.
- What about one-and-done projects? Not every change will be around for the long haul. Some of the technology projects needed to start bringing workforces back on location will be one-and-done situations. This won’t change the facts on the ground for time-strapped technology teams. However, it should change how organizations approach the problem, looking to help instead from on-demand as opposed to permanent resources.
Next Steps: Strategic and in-the-field support when you need it most
If you need help preparing your organization for what’s next, the Arraya Solutions can help. Please visit https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/ to get the conversation started.