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Tech undoubtedly changed almost every aspect of the way businesses operate throughout the last 18 months. Many companies adapted to ensure employees had support for remote logins, the bandwidth to handle video conferencing and an operating system for teams to continue working together. Seventy-one percent of small and medium businesses say they survived the pandemic through digitization, according to the latest Harris Poll research, and 79% believe the pivots they made will continue to benefit them in the long term.
Businesses with remote-only, remote-first or hybrid spaces have been held up as the new frontier for progressive workplaces thanks, in large part, to technology. Despite the occasional Zoom fatigue, employers are realizing it can be both cost-effective and more productive to have a workforce that is flexible in terms of place and time.
When the pandemic first hit, there was a lot of talk about how businesses should adopt technology to transition away from traditional settings. Now that nearly two years have gone by, let’s examine what technological strategies small businesses are utilizing to keep up the momentum.
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When a team is rarely together, one of the biggest challenges is internal communication, especially in a small business setting with fewer employees who depend on working together. Fortunately, collaborative software and apps such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and G Suite, having all necessary business communication channels grouped into one place, significantly ease the challenges of connecting employees.
Cloud computing enables small businesses to move part of their operations to third-party servers accessible via internet connectivity. This establishes variable data packages, on-demand expansion, and mobility without the dreaded downtime, crashes, or permanently lost data. Companies utilizing the cloud can innovate quickly, scale efficiently and seize new market capabilities faster. The cloud provides small businesses with resources that may have been cost-prohibitive in the past. Services such as Cox Edge bring compute resources closer to help companies operate more effectively.
With an increasing amount of data shared within businesses of all sizes, cybercriminals are exploiting gaps in companies’ remote work environments. As a result, there is a greater emphasis on technological advancements in malware protections for networks and communication platforms, as well as cybersecurity training for employees. Small business owners are urged to discourage the use of personal devices and invest in company-provided hardware for employees. Education on evolving cybersecurity threats is key and replacing lax antivirus protection with technology that can prevent attacks.
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Coworking spaces can be an interesting solution for small businesses wrestling with either going to work or staying at home. Coworking offers several advantages such as offsetting feelings of loneliness, networking opportunities, a fast internet connection and refuge from a house full of cats and babies. However, it’s important for business owners to maintain tech equity among in-office and remote workers while navigating employee safety and preferences.
In many cases, small businesses are at an advantage when it comes to investing in technology and a digital-ready culture. Leading companies will not only bring the right technology to meet the moment but inspire employees to embrace the changes that can make a business stronger and more flexible than it was before.
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For more guidance on best practices for your business, connect with our friends at Cox Business.