As the scientific community races to find a vaccine and prophylactic treatments for COVID-19, businesses are adopting measures to protect employees, customers, and stakeholders – as well as their immediate and long-term financial futures. For industries staffed with people across multiple job sites and other remote locations, web conferencing and shared documents have been necessary first steps in supporting these increasingly distributed workforces. But other innovative technologies can help simulate or enhance operational workflows, increase overall safety, improve cost savings, and secure financial sustainability – no matter the industry.
Companies now must find ways to drive continued communication as they send some of their employees to work from home — or as their customers, clients, contractors, and suppliers compel their own staff to work remotely. In recent weeks, we have seen countless stories of employees using web conferencing solutions like Zoom to collaborate and work together from the safety of their homes.
Likewise, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram have enabled people to stay connected with their professional and personal communities. Workers have attended digital events and webinars to stay up to date on their industry and still engage with prospects. In these anxious times, technology has played a crucial role in addressing the imperatives of productivity, performance, and operational agility.
Still, we recognize that not all professions and jobs can be done from the confines of a home office. And, in this time of financial uncertainty, those businesses must keep safe employees conducting essential activities in their offices, in the field, or on job sites, while simultaneously driving productivity and efficiency with the people and resources they have.
Employee Safety is Paramount
Safety has always been a top priority for construction, energy, oil and gas, mining, agriculture, and other industries where personal, property, and environmental hazards exist, especially since federal, state, and local regulations govern many of their operating practices.
Technological innovations like drone technology, driverless trucks, and the Internet of Things (IoT) have reduced or eliminated human error and the need to put humans in hazardous conditions. They have also provided early warning systems that give businesses the time to respond to issues before they escalate. As we continue to shelter in place, technologies that allow companies to operate with fewer people onsite or with an increased physical distance between people, provide extra safeguards in mitigating the virus’s spread, while simultaneously reducing costs.
Now more than ever, technologies that boost employee safety and reduce the need for medical attention are crucial. As healthcare professionals and facilities become inundated with COVID-19 cases, it is part of our collective responsibility, as business leaders, to work to find solutions that prevent accidents, which add to hospital caseloads and can expose employees to the virus.
Working from Anywhere with the Same — or Better — Workflows
Work gets done in many ways: informal interactions; formal meetings; software-driven data capture, analysis, and dissemination; and much more. Technologies that simulate or enhance how work gets done will be critical over the next few months.
SaaS technologies, like G-Suite and Office 365, deliver significant advantages to distributed workforces. They enable people to access applications and data from anywhere, regardless of their physical location.
But industrial businesses must often contend with accessibility and productivity challenges with software beyond web-based document creation, spreadsheet, presentation, and collaboration technologies — specifically applications that measure, manage, and control activities on the job site or field.
Solutions that enhance collaboration empower people to exchange data and insights in real-time – on the field and off – are essential for the ongoing viability of these businesses.
DroneDeploy, for example, enables people to not only share maps of fields and buildings but also annotate them to facilitate communication and knowledge quickly ― and integrate them with the applications their workforce uses daily. With solutions like these, businesses can continue critical operations, regardless of their employees’ locations.
Rapid Change Requires Secure, Real-Time Data and Distributed Decisions
In this time of fluctuating market conditions and customer demands, businesses need the agility to make the best decisions on the fly. Some industries are shuttering operations due to revenue losses, while others must ramp up operations to keep up with rising demand. And this must be done quickly to avoid adverse operational issues, expenses, or customer ire. For many companies, this is an opportunity. But if these businesses that provide tech platforms like video conferencing, for example, can’t handle increased traffic or, worse, suffer a security breach, they will lose credibility and squander an opportunity to reach more customers.
The increasingly distributed nature of workforces cannot stymie decisions. SaaS-based applications that deliver real-time data to employees with the right expertise can empower decisions “at the field edge,” regardless of employee location. But leveraging SaaS applications and promoting distributed decisions cannot come at the cost of security breaches. Businesses must evaluate their security applications and protocols and mitigate potential risks.
It is imperative companies take decisive, actionable steps to protect what they deem most valuable during these trying times. By addressing common anxieties, listening to the concerns of customers, employees, contractors, and clients, driving workforce productivity, and enacting proper safety measures, companies will better protect their current and future financial assets and stay better connected with their teams.
Advancements in science and medicine are the most critical drivers to overcoming COVID-19, but technology delivers considerable benefits when protecting lives and livelihoods. Learn more about how SaaS technologies can have a significant impact on commercial industries.