- With 2020 behind us and a “new normal” taking effect across the board, now is a good time to reflect on last year and what it taught UK businesses – especially around IT support.
- Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. In this article, we’ll explore the positive lessons that UK businesses have learned and how the experience can inform a brighter, more resilient future.
What did you learn last year?
For an average year, this wouldn’t be much of a loaded question. But for 2020? It’s fully loaded.
For many businesses, 2020 was the year that everything changed. Many companies were forced to pivot to entirely new business models; others were, sadly, forced to make more difficult decisions.
Either way, we all learned plenty in 2020 – and it’s those lessons that will provide a foundation on which to navigate this “new normal” and grow the business in a post-COVID world.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the key lessons UK businesses learned in 2020 – especially when it comes to IT and technology.
Lesson #1: “You might not need your office as much as you thought you did”
Here’s some food for thought: according to the latest statistics, 27% of businesses either have no timeline for returning to the office, or will never return.
As work-from-home recommendations came into force in spring 2020, companies across the UK and the world had to think on their feet. The move to work-from-home as the default for many office-based roles meant that adjustments had to be made in terms of technology and communication.
When it comes to IT support, these changes were pretty significant.
For a lot of us, learning the ropes of new digital collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams was essential, (and not always easy), but it opened the door to what might become a new way of working.
If you are one of that 27% of companies which have discovered that working from home isn’t as unproductive as you thought, there’s a good chance you might decide that working remotely is the best choice for you.
Though 2020 was tough, this forced “experiment” into remote working has resulted in a positive change for millions of employees all over the world.
Lesson #2: “Successful teams are built on a foundation of trust”
If we’d told you 18 months ago that you’d need to switch your entire team to remote working, you’d probably have had a few concerns.
Not least of these would have been around the topic of productivity.
Simply put, how can you be sure that your team are actually working when they say they are? Wouldn’t productivity take a hit? Wouldn’t some people say they’re working while actually catching up on Netflix? Surely this drop in productivity would translate to a direct reduction in your bottom line?
All of these concerns were completely valid at the time, but now that we’ve done the WFH thing for a year (or more), many businesses are learning that they were actually unfounded doubts. The reality is that, assuming you can trust your team (and why wouldn’t you?), that everyone has been pulling their weight and things are still getting done. Thanks to collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams, and a solid structure for team meetings – including 1-on-1 calls for those who struggle more with WFH – maintaining team output is very achievable.
That said, if you’re still concerned about productivity, we’ve covered this topic (along with some other work-from-home issues) in a previous article on the Get Support blog.
Lesson #3: “Embracing new technology is essential for a business to survive”
Prior to 2020, adopting new technology was a slow process for many businesses.
That might be something as simple as an upgrade to faster business internet, or as complex as installing an entirely new fleet of faster computers. Whatever the case, many of us were happy to carry on with what we had – at least until something came along which forced us to take a fresh look.
In 2020, that “something” came along, and new technology was suddenly top of the agenda.
In terms of adapting to the pandemic world, a lot of businesses had an immediate requirement for new laptops for their at-home workforce. Beyond that, more infrastructural systems-based changes were required for a lot of companies – one great example being Remote Desktop. This allows employees to log in to their workstation as though they were in the office, but it does require some setup and configuration to work well (and work securely). Finally, new software solutions were required, as we’ve already covered with Teams.
One of the solutions which has come in incredibly handy over the last year – and actually solves a lot of these problems at once – is Microsoft 365. A subscription-based business software suite, the package includes:
- Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)
- Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft Exchange and Outlook (for email)
- Microsoft OneDrive for Business (for cloud storage)
For businesses looking to hit the ground running in the post-COVID world, Microsoft 365 is an excellent place to start.
Lesson #4: “Doing business online isn’t really optional anymore”
2020 brought several facts into clear relief, but one stands out more than others: online business is here to stay.
There’ll always be a place for bricks-and-mortar stores, of course, but 2020 has shown that – at least for a while – the bulk of business will be done online. Similar to working from home, it’s likely that the future will bring about a hybrid model with a limited physical presence and larger online one.
With more of us online than ever – a third of 65+ consumers plan to increase their online spend, after all – having an online presence is no longer optional for most businesses. And to be online, you need a reliable internet connection and rock-solid IT support. When the internet is the lifeblood of your company, any downtime whatsoever can quickly become costly, so it’s essential that you have an IT support solution which is fast, responsive, and knows your business back-to-front.
(And wouldn’t you just know it? That’s exactly what we do at Get Support).
Lesson #5: “You can never be too prepared for the future”
No matter what anybody tells you, one thing is certain when it comes to 2020: nobody saw it coming.
Predicting the full scale of the pandemic, and its effect on business, would have required genuine superpowers, so it’s no surprise that companies felt blindsided.
The lesson? Anything can happen.
It may sound like something of a cliché, but 2020 is the perfect example of issues outside of a company’s control having a huge impact, leaving them to simply deal with the consequences and hope for the best.
For this reason (and a few others) it’s vital that you plan for practically any event. Of course, there’s no escaping the fact that a totally unpredictable event like 2020 will happen again, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t control the things you can control. When it comes to business and IT support in particular, there are two core examples: cybersecurity and data backup / disaster recovery.
Both of these areas require some forethought which, when properly managed, can save your business time and money. Even a simple data backup system can help protect your business from untold financial damage, so it’s well worth taking the time up front to set it up.
If this is all new to you, don’t worry – we have a couple of great resources to share which will get you off on the right track:
- The Plain English Guide to: Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
- Business Continuity vs. Backup: What's the Difference?
Need an IT support check-up? We’re here to help
If 2020 taught UK businesses nothing else, it’s that IT support plays an essential role in running (and growing) a company.
If you’re a business owner or manager and you’re still trying to handle IT support yourself – or relying on a single overburdened team member to take care of it all – we can help.
With decades of experience getting UK companies up and running with hardware, software, and even internet connections, Get Support is perfectly placed for the “new normal”.
For a free review of your current IT setup, call the team now on 01865 59 4000 or just fill out the form below.