Working remotely has led to some interesting business challenges this year. Although a business can save a lot of money on overhead with an exclusively remote based working model, there are some drawbacks. Although most are familiar with free conferencing platforms like Zoom, nothing beats in-person access for an answer to that one quick question. Waiting around for people to reply to emails just slows down the whole process of doing business. It should be no surprise when this has some type of income on the customer facing end.
Getting everyone on the same page in a business is a challenge in every industry. Sales must answer to the customers - and often make excuses when things don’t move along on the backend. They take the brunt of the repercussions when something goes wrong. Ideally, if everyone were working with the same information, it would make the salesperson’s job easier. It is, indeed, possible if you have a tool like SOS Inventory
that integrates the sales team’s workflows with everyone else’s in the business.
Some other challenges include:
1. Poor Communication – when communication between employees is less frequent, assumptions may be made whether resulting from misunderstandings or just a lack of confirmation.
2. Connectivity Problems – Business continuity relies on the quality of the internet connection at each employee’s home. If the upload or download speed is slow, so, too, is productivity. If they must login to a secure VPN to access files and cannot connect, well, then customers will just have to wait a little longer for a response.
3. Reduced Productivity – Any work that must be conducted in the office is delayed by reducing the on-site staff to accommodate social distancing rules.
Naturally, different industries are impacted in different ways. You can’t run an event-based business remotely. To survive, your business model must evolve.
Many online businesses have already been operating remotely for years and have it down to a science. This is the case with SaaS business models as the product is delivered digitally. Ecommerce stores are a crossbreed; they can dropship product and avoid the most disrupted side of the business as long as the drop shipper has adequate staff to deliver product on time.
There are some benefits to remote working for employees, i.e., savings on travel costs, food and clothing; yet, the business model is flawed for some business types. There are ways to make things easier by staggering in-person contact when on-site work is required, testing, and upgrading employee internet access, scheduling frequent meetings, and outlining protocol for response time.
The goal must be to continue providing quality product or service to the customer. If your competitor can deliver and you can’t, then you’ve got a problem. Your competitor is likely facing the same challenges you are during these unusual times. You must be willing to consider alternate approaches to stay afloat at a time when customer contact is becoming less personal.