Positive Takeaways from the Pandemic

Envision IT Pressroom | July 1, 2021

Envision IT Pressroom
July 1, 2021

If you’re looking for reasons to be optimistic about the post-pandemic world of work, consider this: For years, Gallup has shared research that remote work promotes employee engagement and engaged employees are more productive.

COVID-19 provided tangible proof of that as Gallup reported record highs in employee engagement in 2020. Other studies cite increased productivity among remote workers, and most employers have deemed the shift successful.“We saw a reinvigoration of appreciation of our shared humanity,” says Nancy Pautsch, chief evangelist of stakeholder value at Envision IT (which translates to company president). “Remote work built a two-way street of trust. Employers really took care of their people by helping them stay safe at home. So employees felt cared for and, in turn, they cared for the business and did stellar work.”Remote work … works, and Pautsch says flexible workstyles are here to stay. Surveys show that 80% of employees want to continue working from home and 74% of businesses say they will make work-at-home arrangements permanent.“Let’s take the good that came out of this and keep it going,” Pautsch says. “And let’s make things even better where possible.”

Here are three ways businesses can do just that:

1. Continue supporting flexible workstyles and empower employees.
Technology can help by providing a digital workspace that supports employee focus by offering all of the apps workers need in one place with intuitive navigation. Multitasking and context-switching stifles productivity, and lost productivity due to multitasking can cost businesses $450 billion annually, according to Trello, a web-based, list-making application.

Other ways to support flexible work with technology include providing a digital workspace that leverages artificial intelligence, machine learning, and microapps that cut through the noise and streamline workflows.In many organizations, IT staffs were the unsung heroes and heroines of the pandemic, scrambling to enable remote work and making them among the most stressed of all employees, according to Pautsch. She suggests helping ease their anxiety by teaming with a managed services partner (like Envision IT) to oversee daily upkeep of the tech environment so IT staff can focus on strategic initiatives.

While employees might have felt more productive and engaged over the past year, their well-being suffered, studies show. “Historically, employee engagement and employee well-being go hand in hand — they’re reciprocal. And when both are present, employees and businesses thrive,” Pautsch says. “Unprecedently, in 2020, we saw them diverge. Stress levels suffered during the pandemic, negatively impacting wellbeing. All of the terrible news took a toll on people, and that kind of personal stress can lead to burnout.” Pautsch contends that supporting employee well-being and lowering the risk of burnout will be critical for employers moving forward. Again, microapps can help, reminding employees to step away from their desk and stretch or go for a walk, for example, or offering stress-relieving breathing exercises or brief meditations.

2. Continue the pace of innovation by leveraging technology platforms that promote virtual collaboration for remote teams.
The pace of innovation skyrocketed in 2020 because businesses had to pivot to survive — implementing new go-to-market strategies or addressing supply chain constraints. That innovation, according to Pautsch, happened because employees were engaged and able
to collaborate.She cites results of a 2020 McKinsey Global Survey indicating that many executives reported moving 20 to 25 times faster than they thought possible on such tasks as building supply-chain redundancies, improving data security, and increasing the use of advanced technologies in operations.

3. Shore up IT security. Bad actors have turned up the heat.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported a 70% increase in cyberattacks in 2020. Cybint, a global cyber education company, notes that 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses, and the average global cost of a data breach is $3.9 million across small and medium-size businesses.

Ways to boost security include partnering with a managed services provider, offering employee training to help people identify phishing emails and voicemails, purchasing cyber insurance, and developing incident response and disaster recovery plans for tech environments. “There are important lessons coming out of the pandemic,” Pautsch says. “People are the source of business. It’s important to care for them. Technology can help secure the business as well as support employees’ focus, well-being, and collaboration while they continue to work from anywhere.”

As seen in InBusiness Magazine July 2021

Tags: Conscious Business, Conscious Leadership, Remote Work, Security, Technology