By Ralph Berndt, sales and marketing director of Syrex

Even though workforce mobility has always been important, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more critical. The hard lockdown experienced in South Africa and other parts of the world made adapting to a distributed work environment a business priority.

In fact, when combined with work from home policies, workforce mobility will become part of the standard operating procedure of organisations well into the future. Of course, the extent at which this is done will largely be guided by company requirements and the industry it operates in. Where possible, I believe most businesses will adapt a hybrid model while some have already abandoned formal workspaces entirely.

Even in more traditionally-minded markets as in South Africa, a hybrid model that balances remote working with face-to-face engagements will be effective. Companies understand that some physical engagements will always be important especially when it comes to nurturing relationships. Face-to-face discussions will always provide a more personal touch over a video call but both have their place. Companies who foster regular interactions with staff and colleagues will develop quality working relationships and create a strong business culture. More importantly, this has a positive impact on an individual’s mental health.

Unique mindset

Central to this hybrid approach is the understanding that there is no universal way of making this work for every organisation. Each company must adapt to its own unique needs. The general rule is to ensure that the company’s systems and platforms are user-friendly, cloud-based, readily available, and accessible.

In this way, employees can remain operational regardless of their geographic location. If they must work in the office for a day or two a week and off-site for the rest of the time, there will be no impact from a technology and productivity perspective.

On the hardware side, laptops with built-in Webcams are critical. And a reliable internet connection, whether from fibre or cellular, is a must. Moreover, laptops should support softphone capabilities to improve the workforce’s ability to collaborate and work from anywhere they have an internet connection.

While there are many cloud providers out there, the most robust platform and integrated technology suite falls within the Microsoft ecosystem. These solutions not only provide collaboration in the modern workspace, but also delivers system, platforms, hosting, and management in the cloud.

A starting point

Additionally, an organisation should consider using third-party applications and have these delivered as a service instead of trying to host everything on their own. Developing processes and platform integration to ensure inter-operability and ease of use become one of the critical building blocks that an organisation must put in place to remain relevant in this new operating environment.

The business landscape has changed irrevocably. Those companies willing to embrace a more mobile workforce capable of delivering on their job requirements from anywhere in the world, will be the ones most likely to increase their competitiveness in the months and years to come.