There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has dramatically altered our lives, both personal and vocational, especially the processes for how all and medium-sized businesses operate from day to day. The question of how the transition away from the office, and towards the new digital reality of remote working is an interesting one. 

Some businesses have adapted quicker than others, but it has opened up a plethora of opportunities that won’t be subsiding just yet. We’re going to explore this issue in more depth to find out more about this matter that’s so vital to SMBs right now.

The Shift Towards Remote Working

The shift towards remote working has presented businesses with a range of challenges, but it’s a shift that can’t be overlooked. The pandemic has led to varying and ever-changing restrictions depending on location. 

Many businesses have been forced to adopt remote working out of necessity, including businesses that have never adopted remote working as a company policy or an option for employees before now. Since the start of the pandemic, the percentage of people working from home has risen sharply to 42%.

What the Transition Means for Businesses

The pandemic is an example of a disruptive force for many, even most, businesses. The need to adapt means adopting new digital protocols that facilitate remote working, team collaboration over longer distances, and managing teams no longer stationed at the office. Each of these disruptions and challenges break down into a series of further challenges, each of which have had to be overcome in a short period of time with very little prior warning.

How Successfully Have SMBs Adapted?

Many businesses are adapting faster because they had already begun implementing remote work principles and resources earlier, and many are also now considering making it a long-term staple. 

Deloitte found that businesses that are coping better tend to make use of cross-functional teaming in order to create faster responses to situations as they develop. They also found that a clear communication strategy from the top of the company was key in order for businesses to respond positively to the new situation.

Another example of how businesses have had to adapt comes from a study carried out by Visa. They found that SMBs are reporting taking fewer cash transactions as more and more customers switch to contactless card payments in response to the health and hygiene risks posed by COVID-19. This has forced more businesses to accept contactless card payments if they weren’t doing so already. And that’s a trend that won’t reverse anytime soon.

Essential Tips for SMBs Adapting to Remote Working and Going Digital

If your business is in the process of transitioning to remote working and going digital, there are some tips that should be on your radar. Find out more about them below.

Simplify Employee Communication

A simplified approach to employee communication is key. In order for your team to be able to collaborate across distances, it has become essential for them to be able to communicate digitally. Rather than leaving this for employees to organize among themselves, you need to put a structured plan in place, along with the right software, to facilitate fast, smooth and easy communication between staff members.

Scale Up Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is now more important and more useful to businesses of all kinds than ever before. Cloud computing makes it possible to share, edit and collaborate on documents in a team, even when the team is spread out across different locations. So it’s no surprise that so many businesses are now discovering its utility.

Work with a Managed IT Services Provider

Working with a good managed IT services provider is a good idea. Now more than ever, businesses are reliant on their IT systems as they attempt to collaborate remotely, many of them for the first time. Having a managed IT services provider ensures that things remain running smoothly at all times.

Implement High-Quality Tech Solutions

High-quality tech solutions are vitally important and certainly shouldn’t be ignored. If you don’t have the right hardware and software in place for both managers and employees to use from day to day, your new remote working arrangements simply won’t function in the way you need them to.

It’s clear that there are some businesses coping better than others with the transition away from the office and towards the new digital reality of remote working brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. If your SMB is still transitioning, the tips discussed above should help you get where you need to be faster.