I sat down with Vonage’s VP of Product and Solutions Marketing, Brian Gilman, to chat about what the workplace might look like in a post-COVID-19 society. The global health crisis may present an opportunity to enact real change for the future of work, he told me during our recent interview. Outside of the current necessity, when the crisis passes, there will remain certain benefits to remote work, like work/life balance, time saved that is usually spent commuting to-and-from work, and the ease of video meetings – the list goes on.
What COVID-19 has shown us thus far is that many businesses may not have been prepared to take employees online but quickly realized how easily a virtual workplace can be created and how effective it is.
“It’s forced them to look at the future of work and look at the cloud, as well as realize it solves a ton of complex problems”
This brings us to business continuity, another key ingredient, and it’s not just a buzzword. Today, business leaders around the globe have a far better perception of the significance of staying connected. “At Vonage, we were fortunate in that we were already using the tools needed to transition to full-time remote work. We got an email on a Tuesday, came in, grabbed our laptops, and we’re all working remotely on Friday.”
Of course, this ability to transition quickly depends on the preparedness of the company, Gilman, added. Companies of all sizes may find it challenging to make the transition if they are operating in an on-prem communications environment and don’t have the business continuity infrastructure in place.
This, Gilman contends, is the new conversation surrounding business continuity – shutting down or making a swift transition to the cloud. “We had instances where we worked hard to get entire on-prem companies online within a 24-48 hour time-frame.” Vonage did this by issuing mobile-only licenses, which gave businesses a desktop and mobile application. “Because they kept their online instances, all calls were forwarded to their mobile extensions from us.”
Gilman also told me, Vonage partners within the channel community brought these solutions to customers quickly, and assisted them in implementation. “There are also many organizations that had the technology but not the processes to quickly implement remote work on a large scale.”
Gilman said in addition to the unified communications offering, contact center and communications APIs Vonage provides, the company has created a standalone video conferencing solution, which it’s offered free of charge through the end of the year. And the company is seeing tremendous upticks in usage and adoption. In a recent report, Vonage notes it has seen a 232 percent increase in video usage among customers across all industries in March alone.
In light of the current health crisis, many companies are beginning to realize that the ability to enable employees to work from home will and should be a part of their business continuity plans now and well into the future. This preparedness, Gilman, said will be the new norm in a post-COVID-19 society. The rapid amount of digital transformation that’s happened in a matter of a few months is drastic, and will likely have long-lasting impacts moving forward. It is not a fad, but in fact, sustainable and almost certain to transform the way we do everything henceforth.