March Business News sponsored by:
“Cape Town set to become the first major city in the world to run out of water” is just one of the statements to make headlines amidst the severe drought residents are facing. And while Day Zero is somewhat of a moving target, the reality of taps running dry has caused sleepless nights for many business owners and leaders when considering the impact it will have on business operations.
This doesn’t only pertain to the more obvious businesses like the local car wash, restaurants, or hairdressers. According to Robin Olivier - Managing Director at Apple Premium Reseller Digicape - it applies to all companies across the spectrum.
Businesses will need to maintain basic services and sanitation, like running water and flushing loos – which will become a challenge in areas of restricted access to water.
The likelihood of the city’s taps being switched off has necessitated the need for businesses to re-envision their daily operations, such as allowing staff to work remotely.
“This is not only a necessary conversation, but a smart one, too, says Olivier. “Even though we don’t have all the facts, it’s essential to have open and honest conversations, and be armed with solutions for any eventuality,” he adds.
What does working remotely mean for businesses & employees?
Working remotely isn’t a new phenomenon - over the years the desire for a better work-life balance has become increasingly important to the average employee. “More and more people are looking to be evaluated on the work they produce, rather than the hours they spend glued to their seat, and companies have been re-envisioning their organisational structures to support this,” says Olivier. With Day Zero on the horizon, enabling a more mobile workforce is not simply a nice-to-have, but may become a necessity.
This way of working is made easier for businesses that have welcomed BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and withApple’s stringent security features and rich Mobile Device Management (MDM) infrastructure, business owners and employees have complete peace of mind that their data is secure and protected from viruses.
Olivier believes that a primary concern for business owners is that if people aren’t in office, they aren’t working. However, a recent survey indicated that mobile workers were clocking around 240 more hours each year than those office bound, as revealed in a Capgemini Consulting report.
“As a business owner, I understand the hesitation to have staff scattered around the city, but when it comes down to it, everything that happens in business is underpinned by communications. In fact, the only thing that has changed over the years is how we communicate.”
Olivier recommends a number of mobile applications which he believes to facilitate better communication between staff members, particularly within the context of a more mobile workforce.
Perdoo is an app that assists business when executing strategies. Olivier says, “not only does Perdoo promote collaboration amongst the management team, it also offers a reporting dashboard to quickly and easily assess the status of roll-out.”
As with strategy, team-based project management can also be done remotely. Using apps such as Trello orTeamWork can make delegation, time management and progress tracking a breeze.
In terms of communication, Slack provides a platform to house all your team’s communication together, “creating a shared workspace where conversations are organised accessible,” says Olivier.
“There is even an app for company culture,” says Olivier. OfficeVibe is a cloud-based online tool which provides a real-time overview of company culture. It measures metrics such as engagement, personal growth, recognition and satisfaction (to name but a few). It is user-friendly, and even offers two-way anonymous feedback to give staff the confidence to raise issues they otherwise would not.
“This helps ensure that the employee culture continues to permeate throughout the business, even when staff aren’t necessarily in the same room,” says Olivier.
Olivier concludes, “I believe more businesses should – even without the drought as a driver - be rethinking the way they operate in order to work smarter, using technology as the facilitator.”