Technology is transforming the way we work. It is also enabling businesses to go virtual and protect profits that were previously consumed by the cost of office space. With more and more people working remotely, the role technology plays to support virtual businesses can’t be overstated. But, when it fails, it can have a significant impact on the effectiveness and success of virtual businesses. It’s particularly important for B2B service providers to get it right — agencies, accountants, and other professional services businesses — for whom time is chargeable. Any interruption to business as usual is a direct attack on profits. Preventing technology outages becomes the Number One priority.
What are the challenges that poor technology presents for virtual teams? And what should your IT team be doing to prevent a technology outage that might bring your virtual business to a standstill?
Reduced productivity. It’s top of the list and hits business owners where it hurts most. Bad technology can slow down employees and reduce their productivity. Slow internet connections and outdated software or hardware cause delays and lead to missed deadlines. This results in lost revenue, missed opportunities and reputational damage.
Stress. High on the list of success factors for any business is a happy and healthy workforce. Dealing with bad technology can be stressful but good technology can also prevent some of the contributing factors to employee stress. Of the Health & Safety Executive’s top causes of stress in the workplace, technology can help to prevent most of them by helping staff cope with their workload, communicate more effectively and control how and when they work.
Communication breakdown. Communication is often cited as the toughest nut virtual businesses need to crack. When technology fails, communication breaks down, leading to missed messages, misunderstandings and delays in decision-making. This can cause frustration, confusion and loss of trust among team members.
Proactively preventing technology outages in a business requires a systematic approach and a focus on best practices. Here are some of the things the engineers in our Proactive Team focus on to prevent technology outages:
Continuous maintenance including updating software, replacing aging hardware and checking for viruses or malware.
Monitoring performance to identify potential issues before they become outages. This involves using tools to track network performance and monitoring servers and applications.
Testing the Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). The DRP aims to minimise the impact of outages that might occur through unforeseen events. This plan is designed for your business alone — there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. It includes procedures for restoring systems and data, as well as a communication plan for notifying stakeholders. It’s not enough that you have a DRP, you need to know it works.
Maintaining cybersecurity is essential: implementing firewalls and antivirus software, conducting regular security audits and training employees on safe computing practices. Onboarding new clients here at Ziptech includes going through the UK Government’s Cyber Essentials Accreditation to make sure risks of attack or breach are mitigated.
A technology-positive culture will be key to evolving your virtual business. Promoting a mindset of continuous improvement and encouraging team members to share ideas for using technology more effectively will help your business engage with modern workplace tech. Identifying champions for business improvement projects empowers your team to make the changes they need to do their job differently. You can find out more about how Microsoft’s new, low-code automation technology is allowing teams to make enormous improvements to everyday processes in our Easy-Read Guide for SMEs.
By taking these steps, virtual teams can avoid many of the most common technology-related problems. By prioritising reliable technology and a proactive approach, virtual teams can minimise technical issues and focus on achieving their goals. If you’d like to find out more about how to support your remote teams better, please get in touch.