Downsizing Offices: Hybrid workplaces

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way business operations are run all over the world. Both in-person and remote operations provide unique value to the processes and procedures of an organization. Hybrid work has become a popular and possibly, the more preferred approach, by many employees as it gives them a more flexible schedule. Due to this, many businesses had to reconsider how their office space is being utilized and how much of that space is actually needed. Continue reading to learn how many businesses are reassessing their office setups as a response to these changes.

Businesses Are Utilizing Less Space

A workplace management software development firm, Robin Powered, released a study in July that asked 247 respondents who are in charge of their office space and documented their responses. Robin Powered, then, created the 2022 Office Space Report with the statistics as follows:

  • 11 percent of businesses are continuing to use all of their available office space
  • 46 percent of organizations were using, at most, half of their available office space
  • 48 percent of respondents were using less of their office space before the pandemic
  • 60 percent of those organizations that were using, at most, half of their office space had started downsizing before the Covid-19 pandemic even began
  • 46 percent of businesses plan to continue reducing their available office space in 2023 with 59 percent of them planning to reduce the space by at least half

Some Businesses Might Not Be Cutting Down Their Office Space But They’re Using It Much Differently

The businesses that are not reducing their available office space are choosing to use it in a different manner. Research director of International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Future of Work, Amy Loomis, states that many organizations are remodeling extra office space for increased flexibility. In other words, the removal of cubicle desks allows for creation of multipurpose rooms and collaborative technologies in order to connect in-person employees with those people who work remotely. 

International Data Corporation administered a survey back in April that revealed companies around the world are adapting their approach in the workplace. Instead of being seen as an area where employees physically go to work to be productive and efficient, the office is becoming more of a collaborative space for training and meetings.

With Today’s Technologies, Hybrid Operations Are Much Easier

With the advancements in business information technologies, a hybrid schedule for employees has become much more accessible, while providing them with a more flexible schedule. Collaborative tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Docs, and Zoom allow for teamwork and cooperation from all employees, whether they work from home or in the office. 

We can help you turn your office space into a hybrid-friendly area for increased productivity and efficiency. 

At AE Technology Group, we can offer you and your team various IT services, solutions, and softwares to help implement hybrid operations within the organization. By doing so, employees will continue to collaborate with each other while also having a flexible schedule to allow for a better work-life balance. Give us a call at (516) 536-5006 today.

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How to Create a Business Continuity Plan

No matter how prepared your business is, you still have a chance to become a victim of a cyber attack. Even with advanced lead time, cybercriminals have many opportunities to attack your business infrastructure. There are several ways to give your business the best shot of preventing an attack, but you need to be prepared if you may not always be able to stop a cyber-criminal. A business continuity plan can give your business the best chance to be prepared to manage a security breach.

Having a plan in place helps prevent extensive damage to your business, possibly putting you out of business for good. How do you create a business continuity plan to safeguard your business’s future? 

Establish a Business Continuity Team – Depending on your organization’s size, you want to ensure you have a good team of people to help you execute your business continuity plan in the event of a disaster. Include at least one person from every department to facilitate instructions and processes on the next steps.

Conduct a Business Impact Analysis – A business impact analysis will help you identify the most vulnerable areas that could threaten your business’s operations. It’s an analysis of critical functions of your business and each of those functions’ particular vulnerability and the impact a prolonged disruption will cause. 

Identify and Store Critical Stakeholders, Resources, and Functions – Identify contacts within your business that you need to keep your business functioning. Create an emergency or backup contact list that includes essential information on each person or entity and ensure that information is up to date. The contact list should include information such as point of contacts names, addresses, and an outline of their function in supporting your business. Having a contact list allows you to keep your lines of communication open to inform stakeholders of critical situations in the event of an attack. 

Create a Recovery Plan – If a cyber attack does occur, you will need to draft a recovery plan to implement steps to recover critical business functions. You want to minimize your losses and get your team back to normal operations. 

Consistently Review and Revise Your Plan – Your business continuity plan should be routinely tested and updated to ensure the plan will work when you need it to. As your business evolves, testing the plan can ensure no gaps or flaws in your processes and allows you to address any issues. Conduct regular simulations with your team and continuously improve to ensure you are properly prepared.

You can take many security measures to ensure your business does not fall victim to one of the many cyber attacks that are possible in the digital landscape. Even with advanced security, nothing is ever certain, and you want to ensure your business is protected.

AE Technology Group believes that businesses can take many steps to prepare for such emergencies, and it all starts with a data backup and disaster recovery service. We can assist you with implementing such a policy for your organization to ensure that problems don’t disrupt your operations. 

For more information, contact us at (516) 536-5006.

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Has the Return to Office Led Employees To Quit?

The past few years have shown a major shift in the workplace environment. With so many jobs going fully remote during the pandemic, we’re now seeing pushback from employees who are being asked to return to the office full-time. People are referring to this as the “great resignation”, as so many employees are quitting their jobs that hashtags like #quittingmyjob #quitmyjob are trending on social media with hundreds of millions of views. Let’s consider this phenomenon called the great resignation, and how you can improve employee retention.

What Does The Great Resignation Mean?

More people than ever are voluntarily quitting their jobs as society seems to be rejecting the existing corporate model for the workplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 2021 held 47.8 million voluntary job vacancies, and 2022 is not looking much better with 4.4 million people resigning from their jobs in February alone. These are the highest numbers that the Bureau has recorded since first tracking this data in 2001.

So, this trend is more than just a social media craze, and it’s happening all over the world, not just in the U.S.

But Why are People Quitting?

The influx in remote work over the past two years has given people time to reevaluate their priorities and see what’s possible when not tied to an office 40 hours a week. With companies now pushing for a return to the office, employees simply aren’t willing to give up the freedom that remote work provides. 

Many are Generation Z age group, who joined the workforce during the pandemic, have tried to come back to the office, and have found a significant drop in workplace satisfaction, resulting in resignation.

Some are parents who, after getting so much time with their children during work from home, are simply not willing to give that up to return to the office.

Others are dropping the corporate model altogether in favor of freelance work, which provides total time and location freedom to freelancers, allowing them to travel and choose their hours.

Whatever the specific reason is, we’re seeing a huge shift from the “climb the corporate ladder” mentality of the last decade or so. Employees are now prioritizing a healthy work/life balance and putting their personal needs in front of those of a company. 

How Can I Improve Employee Retention?

The companies that are not struggling with employee retention during this great resignation are the ones willing to meet their employee’s newfound needs. If you care about maintaining devoted, engaged, and productive staff, it’s proven crucial to offer them the flexibility and autonomy that they desire. This typically looks like offering fully remote or hybrid remote and in-office positions. 

AE Technology Group is here to help you put remote or hybrid practices in place with reliable technology solutions to support them. Give us a call at (516) 536-5006 to learn more.

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Using Smartphones for More than Instagram

On average, people spend 3 to 5 hours a day on their smartphones and mobile devices, and can we blame them? Today’s smartphones give users almost everything they could possibly need, technologically, in the palm of their hand. 

Many business owners are concerned with mobile device management because they don’t want employees wasting time at work, but is this truly what’s best for your business’s productivity? Today, we’ll establish what smartphones are most commonly used for and how to use mobile devices to your business’s advantage.

What Does the Average Smartphone Usage Look Like?

Everyone and their mother has a smartphone nowadays and, with all their capabilities, you may be surprised to discover that many people use their smartphones for the same basic functions, like texting and email. Let’s take a look at the top 10 most popular things people use their smartphones for and discuss what that could mean for your business.

  1. Texting – 88%
  2. Email – 70%
  3. Social Media – 68%
  4. Camera – 61%
  5. News – 58%
  6. Shopping – 56%
  7. Weather – 54%
  8. Banking – 45%
  9. Watching Video Content – 42%
  10. Gaming – 41%

Can you identify the one thing omitted from this list? 

That’s right: making phone calls. The study this data was taken from showed that only 35% of smartphone users actually make calls with their mobile devices. A quarter of respondents hadn’t made or received a call in a calendar week, and 33% of respondents said they would ignore a call that they weren’t expecting. 

How Can You Use this Information for your Business’s Mobile Productivity?

As we mentioned, smartphones can do so much nowadays that it’s easy to misuse them, or not use them in ways that benefit your business the most. Here are some points to take into consideration when implementing mobile device management policies.

Use Smartphone Usage to your Advantage in Sales and Marketing

If you’re having marketing or sales employees make hundreds of phone calls a day, you’re probably wasting their time and your money. Cold calling is an extremely outdated strategy as studies have shown, that most clients don’t answer unknown callers anyway. Try gearing your marketing and sales efforts towards smartphone features that your target audience actually uses like email, social media, and video content.

Increase Productivity by Implementing Employee Smartphones

According to several studies on work–smartphone correlation, nearly all businesses that allow employee devices, whether they are provided by the organization or through a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, see a 20% increase in overall profitability. And, as we all know, increased profitability means there’s been an increase in productivity. 

Rethink your Mobile Device Management Plan for the Office

Since people are so tied to their phones nowadays, it can cause contention when they’re told not to use them. Removing mobile device privileges at work makes employees feel belittled. While it’s understandable that you don’t want an office full of people playing Candy Crush, it’s important to trust that your employees are adults and should be capable of balancing their work duties while sending a text to a friend every now and then.

Smartphones equal happy employees, and happy employees equal more dedication to your business and less employee turnover.

Improve Customer Experience with Mobile Devices

By having company mobile devices where employees can better communicate with customers, you can greatly increase your overall customer experience and satisfaction. As we viewed in the study above on smartphone usage, many customers may prefer texting or messaging on social media with employees over more traditional methods like phone calls and emails. By having these options available, you’ll be able to gain more returning customers by improving their experience with your business.

A smartphone is an exceptional tool for business, despite what more traditional authoritarian office structures might want you to think. If you would like to talk to one of our experts on how to structure a mobile device management policy in your office, give us a call at (516) 536-5006

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Have a Disaster Recovery Plan to Prevent Losing Your Company

Even when everything is going well, running a business can be challenging—all of that is to say that things are especially difficult when everything starts to go wrong, particularly in the realm of business continuity and disaster recovery. While nobody likes to imagine the worst-case scenario, we always like to say that imaging the worst-case scenario can help you prepare for it, and it can take the sting away from dealing with it. 

Consider the Risks 

A disaster recovery plan means that you are considering all of the risks your business is likely to face, as well as those that may not be as likely. Some of them will have to do with your geographic location, like weather hazards or natural disasters, whereas others might involve operational downtime as a result of technology problems or loss of workforce. Regardless, you’ll need to have a plan in place to address the issues that surface in your business continuity plan. 

 

Specifically, you’ll need to consider risks that would hinder your business’ ability to function. They might include things like fires, floods, or weather disasters, or they could include hardware failure and utility failure. One example that we are sure no one considered is the case for a pandemic as a business risk. Most companies were not prepared for something like the COVID-19 pandemic, and it forced organizations to make drastic operational changes on short notice. 

 

You might think it’s possible to have a response to every single problem, but there will likely be something unaccounted for, no matter how well-prepared you think you are. Still, it’s best to think about these situations whenever possible and to do your best regardless, and one great catch-all solution for this is with a data backup and disaster recovery tool. 

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery 

If a business cannot recover data in the event of a disaster, chances are they will lose customers. Whether it’s the result of a malware attack, a component failure, or a natural disaster, losing data of any kind can be problematic. You’ll want to take steps to implement data backup that can keep your business operational even under the worst circumstances. This includes having a reliable and redundant data backup solution for all files and applications. You should keep an on-site backup, but you also must keep some that are available off-site in the event a disaster wipes out your office. A cloud-hosted backup can be extremely valuable in this regard. 

 

A data backup solution is the insurance policy that can keep your organization safe in the event of a disaster of just about any kind. Here are some of the scenarios a data backup solution can help you navigate: 

 

  • Ransomware attacks: If your business becomes a victim of a ransomware attack, you could have hackers locking down files. Sometimes it is more beneficial to just restore a backup rather than entertain hackers with the idea that you will pay a ransom. After all, there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will even help you get your files back, and you don’t want to risk your organization’s continuity in that regard, either. 
  • Natural disasters: Some disasters will always take shape for a business, but depending on your location, you might be more prone to experience them than others. If you know that your infrastructure is backed up, you can rest assured knowing that even these unpredictable events won’t impact your operations. 
  • Human error or sabotage: did you know that end users are the cause for 88 percent of all data breaches? You should be ready to protect your data from all kinds of mistakes your employees could make, as well as sabotage from an internal data breach. 

 

These are just three examples of how your organization could suffer without a disaster recovery solution in place. To learn more about how you can safeguard your business from countless threats and possibilities, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006. 

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