2020 has been a year of rapid change, with almost every business regardless of sector, confronted by new challenges and questions. Whilst nobody would have predicted that the cause of the next economic downturn would be a pandemic, we are now beginning to see the impact it’s had on global businesses. Almost overnight organisations have had to re-evaluate their cost management and business models and adapt their technology, processes and operations to allow for a remote workforce. As we enter a second lockdown, we take a look at the challenges of the working environment in a post Covid-19 world and where savings can be made?

Do we need the office?

I’ve heard that some large businesses are preparing to “double their office space” to allow for long-term social distancing. But is this really what your employees want? Having spoken to many execs about their experiences of lockdown, a running theme is the positives people are taking from life in the new norm. Employees value their work-life balance and the time and expense saved on the daily commute has only rejuvenated the view that there is no need to go into the office – at least not 5 days a week. 

Conversely business leaders still face the issue of ensuring employee productivity. I’ve seen a few TV reports and read articles recently reporting on the rise of “Productivity Monitoring” services. Tools that allow employers to track “productive” time of their staff at home. Monitoring keystrokes, mouse movement, browser windows, even eye-tracking was mentioned. NO THANK YOU!! If you can’t trust your staff at home then surely the organisation’s leadership and culture should be questioned first. Anyway… park that, it’s another debate.

We all want to work in a more flexible way, but what does that mean for the office? There is no question that face to face contact is valuable, essential even, whether it’s with colleagues or clients, humans are social beings after all. However, for most, office rent is up there with wages as a business’s biggest expense. 

Are you aligning IT spend with business strategy?

I recently had a meeting with a firm I was speaking to before lockdown who wanted to make the move to our support services. Covid-19 quickly escalated and it’s taken a toll on them. The reality now is that cost control is a priority. Their current IT costs are higher than they need to be, but any transition requires up front investment. “Spend to reduce spend”. Chicken and egg for many.

In the tech world, we talk a lot about Shadow IT – the piecemeal adoption of individual products and services, often by different departments who don’t consult each other, resulting in overlap of solutions, cost duplication and often incompatibility between technologies. It also adds to confusion as to who uses what and when. 

Nearly all businesses suffer in some way from Shadow IT and now many businesses are accelerating their review of how they will operate going forward in a more flexible, home-oriented way. This combination underlines, now greater than ever, the importance of making decisions holistically rather than individually. 

Strategic Digital Transformation is essential. Understanding your business’s objectives, reviewing legacy infrastructures and applications and forming a technology strategy to transition your business to a new way of working is tough to get right. Be mindful when thinking of your business’ future, it requires a multi-discipline approach and careful thought.

How can Conosco help?

The office has always been seen as the heart of business and the technology you use is the engine that keeps it running. Though there are financial gains to be made by promoting a remote workforce, the need to protect employee mental health and find new ways of providing social interaction is a challenge businesses must overcome. Similarly business models must transform to ensure technology is breaking through information silos, promoting greater collaboration and offering the innovation needed to survive.

At Conosco, we talk about the ‘IT Advantage’ – this is gained by having a clear plan of what you need technology to deliver for your business. Our vCIO and vCTO service provides strategic consultancy helping your business to define its aspirations, objectives and vision for the future. We then use this to create an IT strategy that delivers true workplace transformation.  Download our IT Strategy eBook or get in touch with our team and find out how we can support your business.