New normal. Pivot. Unprecedented. Three of many 2020 business buzzwords were voted most annoying. But, like it or not, they were all true and helped us describe a spectacularly unexpected time as we navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.
In business, leaders and decision-makers were tasked with an eye-watering list of choices, all made to help protect commercial interests and livelihoods. The comfort of practiced and routine emergencies was gone. Scripted, planned responses are rendered useless. Uncertainty reigned for a period as the pandemic shape-shifted across the globe, demanding new and innovative answers to questions that had never before been asked.
It is therefore not surprising that in one study by Teradici, a virtual workstation software creator, more than 60% of those asked said if faced with the situation again they would make different decisions and take alternative steps to protect staff, customers, and their business as a whole.
Taking these three key learnings into the future could help IT leaders and business decision-makers do what was impossible in 2020 – they could help us prepare for the truly unexpected.
Having a current list of hardware and equipment available would have made the transition to remote working easier for IT leaders who were faced with the daunting task of ensuring workers not only had the tools they needed but that those tools could be secure. The Teradici study found that one-third of those questioned did not have enough equipment or a secure VPN to allow for remote access to company networks, inevitably leading to costly delays and a threat to business security.
COVID-19 made the technical side of running a company everyone’s job. Working from home meant the staff was responsible for keeping data secure and ensuring devices were correctly stored, used, and connected. There have also been steep learning curves for managers in helping teams manage a healthy work/life balance and how to stay connected and included when working within a hybrid environment.
When a crisis hits a company it’s understandable that in the past IT leaders have put the business needs first and dictated a “need to know” communication policy. While it’s easy to see why and how this happens, current leaders agree it doesn’t work. Showing empathy to your teams who will be feeling destabilized by the crisis will help retain talent while solidifying a company-wide strategy of “people first”. Communicating openly and clearly in a way everyone can understand and feel like part of the journey – even when things aren’t great – shows a level of transparency that staff will be able to trust and work well within.