We’ll Meet Again: Or Will We?
After the first lockdown we talked about how we'd all meet again soon, blissfully ignorant the imminent second lockdown.
Then we repeated the same message "we'll meet again soon" whether for business, pleasure, social or domestic, completely oblivious to yet another lockdown hanging over us; the third one in succession.
Now we've swapped that ol' one-liner and replaced it with: hopefully, maybe, perhaps, could we, will we, here's hoping, fingers crossed - and all being well!
So what does that say about the nature of things going forward? Business particularly?
It says in no uncertain terms that the likelihood of us going back to the way we were is, well, highly bloody unlikely...
The way we were is not the way we will be
Three consecutive lockdowns have forced us all to think more than before (let's face it, there's nowt else to do right now). Once upon a time we'd have thought nothing of jumping on a flight to Toyko (other countries are available) to transact business. Was there even another way?
Now if someone even suggested the notion of flying through the air, polluting the environment, submitting an exorbitant expenses claim that included miniature wine and the obligatory accompanying pretzels, the idea would seem quite preposterous.
Can you imagine the sideways glances and stifled gasps as you explained to your boss that the only way you could possibly close this deal was to look into the whites of someone's eyes and grip their hand with a contrived handshake so fierce it would make even the world's strongest man wince with pain (it's all about the handshake, isn't it, first impressions and all that).
But Covid has brought about many changes, mainly bad, but some good.
One hugely positive change that has swept across the nation almost as ferociously as the virus itself is a new resistance to travel, unless absolutely necessary. Technological advances and omnichannel business operations have brought about some seriously dynamic changes that have forced us to reinvent the wheel (a blog without some sort of trite saying really isn't a blog).
We're Living in a Global Village
The late Marshall McLuhan once described the world as a 'global village' talking about how the 'world's culture was both shrinking and expanding simultaneously.'
That was as far back as 1964 when the World Wide Web hadn't taken off, mobile phones weren't invented, kids actually played in the street and 1G was a shoe size for kids at Clarke's (5G just meant their feet got bigger!).
So imagine his take on real time communications today, with live business meetings held using Microsoft Teams, high speed Business Broadband, Leased Line connectivity for those big enough to want to pay for a private broadband line, and Hosted, VoIP and IP business phone systems.
As a theorist in the field of Media and Communications, even McLuhan would have been impressed at the technological advances that have changed the way we do business. Actually, they haven't change it, they've been around for some time, the virus has changed it: the way we were, the way we work, and the way things will be in the future.
Is there such a thing as too much choice?
So let's pretend you're a business who's been ticking over and using apps like Zoom for video conferencing, Microsoft Teams for staff meetings and re-directing calls so that your people can keep the plates spinning. But all your really want is to execute your 2020 business plan that fell flat on its face in Q1 as you took to your makeshift Anderson's Shelter and dived in the BRACE, BRACE position, immersing slowly whenever Boris gave you expressed permission.
You're now in 2021, a full year behind target, your projected figures haven't inflated the way they looked on Excel - they're actually looking more dejected than projected - and you're wondering, well, something we really don't want to say on here. You're surviving. Hey, you're getting through the days! But has it really come to that?
It's all about flexible working using technology that supports it
We've talked about the way we were and the way will be and it's probably a fair assessment to say that, going forward, we'll be a little bit of both. We might meet again, but then again we might not. That's because, one, we'll have a choice over whether we hop in the car, catch a flight or just arrange to meet via Microsoft Teams or use some other amazing new market entrants product like CallSwitch from TelcoSwitch, and two, we have all the digital capabilities needed to support any type of working, whether from home or the office, even the beach!
So despite the success of the programme on Channel 4, Location, location, location, it seems, is no longer a critical factor.
But ask yourself this: are you kitted out effectively and able to revisit your business strategy to make sure it doesn't drag on for yet another year? Do you have integrated software or an integrated CRM system, Hosted or VoIP phone systems that reduce not just the need for hardware but bills too, given that calls are made over IP internet lines rather than traditional lines?
Do you invest in High Speed Broadband, kit your staff out with revolutionary apps that unify business communications across all devices and make anything possible, from almost anywhere?
If not, why not?
There are platforms galore out there, apps that practically stand on their head, customised options you can brand with whatever name takes your fancy on any particular day and solutions that will help your business performance.
Without sounding like we're bragging (but we really are), we're experts in our field. We know about technology and data speeds and re-directing and integration - and a whole load of other stuff that sometimes seems like jargon but is critical to business growth.
Get in touch and talk to us about your plans and we'll meet up to walk through your options.
How we meet, though, is entirely up to you.
Oh, and we don't mind if you're wearing pajamas...