Remote Work May Be Here to Stay
Recently, Cisco announced new offerings based on specific solutions that were demanded by customers during the pandemic, including video collaboration, virtual visitations, and social distancing monitors. Even though Cisco's initiatives may appear to be making their appearance a bit late, Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO, stated that these are well-thought-of solutions that will meet business demands well into the future.
Meanwhile, Zoom’s revenue grew by 169%. The video calling service saw an increase of 354% in clients with more than ten employees. Even though Cisco's applications saw a decline of 5% in the recent quarter, it still held first place, and the company's major revenue came from hardware for data centers.
According to Robbins, many in the business community did not believe that remote work was viable. Seeing how productive people proved to be, the company is considering embracing remote work for its employees from here on too.
Remote work has already shown that business travel may be unnecessary, and decisions are now made faster than ever.
The Demise of the Self-Serve Bar
Consumers were used to helping themselves from the endless displays at self-serve areas in delis and supermarkets. As consumers worry more about the spread of the virus, these previously popular areas have seen a drastic decline in sales.
According to Information Resources Incorporated (IRI), even though prepared food sales dropped by 47% in mid-April, they started to improve again in May.
Grocers have to rethink their approach to revive their sales. Some stores have used sneeze guards to close off the displays and have employees dish out items. Others are pre-packing their offerings in colorful displays, and others have resorted to offering customized menus, prepared on the spot by employees wearing protective clothing.
One startup, Chowbotics, has offered an even bolder idea, Sally the Robot. This is not a new idea and has previously been marketed to hospitals and college campuses, where there is a strong demand for healthy meals. According to CEO Rick Wilmer, the robot holds 22 ingredients, including muesli and Greek yogurt. Depending on the chosen ingredients, a meal can cost anything from $5 to $11. The dispensing robot costs $35,000, including training and maintenance.
Other Tech Changes
Industrial sector workers may still need some time before they can run a factory remotely. However, there are some implementations where suppliers and frontline workers can access machines to keep them running.
Real-time analytics is important for companies and enables them to meet spikes in demand. This data is important in keeping supply chains in motion. Cloud-based data collection helps companies make faster adjustments and collaborations, and this was recently seen with the high demand and supply for yeast and flour. On the other hand, the sale of candy declined dramatically.
Innovations in safety are also important for employees who must be in their workspace. Many companies, including hotels, food stores, and offices, are implementing UV sterilization, better air purification, and ventilation. Safety equipment has now become essential in most businesses.
Finally, keeping the morale and mood of remote employees up is vital. Chatbots have been deployed by Genpact to measure the mood of its 95,000 employees over the last 12 months. They realized that to measure the impact of working remotely during the pandemic monitoring may be required every 24 hours on certain groups. This type of intervention allows companies to offer support to employees where needed.
The pace of change has escalated to ensure that wherever people work from, they can safely work as effectively as ever.
About the Author
Mariliana has an MSC in consumer analytics and business strategy. She has a special interest in fast-moving industries and big data.