Many businesses in the Asia Pacific region continue to feel the impact of COVID-19. The pandemic has transformed the workplace overnight and unleashed the biggest work–life social experiment ever. Even as countries around the region ease up on restrictions and allow more businesses and daily activities to resume, remote work is likely to stay.
The pandemic has brought about new challenges in maintaining networks and changed how we communicate. From Telstra’s South Asia regional offices, we believe the "Kampong spirit" is even more essential to keep teams close and ensure people keep a lookout for one other. With this spirit in mind, we are making sure that we have secure collaborative tools and infrastructure for our teams and customers to stay connected.
Interestingly, through a recent study1 conducted with GlobalData, we also found that more organisations are making changes to their technology infrastructure to deploy cloud-based collaborative tools. Most of these companies were impacted by the recent experience and challenges they’ve faced. Other APAC findings from the research include:
- COVID-19 has impacted APAC companies’ existing ICT budget, with 18% seeing a budget decrease, 21% reallocating its existing funds and 57% increasing their technology investments. Remote work is and will remain a brave new world for many businesses. It requires the right mindset, equipment and necessary infrastructure for the people involved. We are helping many of our international enterprise customers by rolling out a suite of products and services and helping to upgrade their network capacity as we expect demand to increase.
- APAC companies are planning ahead as a result of COVID-19. Over 65% of respondents believe that COVID-19 will change their business forever. In view of the changes, 72% of companies have updated their remote work policies; 64% have updated their business continuity plans (BCP); 46% are planning for long-term closures of branch offices; and 48% are studying ways to implement agile and DevOps for remote working. To thrive in the new digital world, businesses need to prioritise and revisit their BCP to ensure that both the people and business are taken care of during a crisis. A sensible move is to plan for the unplanned.
- Video conference will gain prominence, even in the post-COVID world. Over 98% of respondents shared that there will be an increased reliance on video conferencing to replace F2F meetings post COVID-19 recovery. This is unsurprising as business leaders reassess the impact and need for business travel and redefine what productivity means.
To share our findings from this research, we hosted a webinar together with our partner Cisco and GlobalData for our customers on 13th May, where we discussed "Business continuity through flexible working and adaptive infrastructure".
One of the most interesting takeaways is seeing the overwhelming positive response for tools such as video conferencing from customers who attended the webinar as well as our survey respondents. Cisco also shared their observation of how, in one month, the company reported a four to five-fold increase in Webex minutes!
Dustin Kehoe, Services Director, GlobalData, commented, "While the technology has always been available, we are seeing generational shift in perception from pre and post-COVID eras. Video conferencing will drive even richer collaborative tool sets, assisting companies greatly with core objectives such as winning the talent war; transforming employee experiences and critical customer support functions." Dustin went on to share his outlook for the post-COVID life, saying, "We are entering a new era of workplace by going back to the basics – putting in place integrated enterprise technology with management strategies to support a diverse workforce."
Indeed, in the face of difficult business conditions and market volatility, one learning stands out – businesses need to have adaptive technologies and secure collaborative tools to ensure this connectivity among people. The digital workforce is here to stay, and we will need the essential collaboration tools to stay connected and help people work wherever they are. We can do our best work as part of a team, but the best teams aren’t always in the same place. Technology is the very puzzle that will bring everyone together, to spark a culture of collaboration and a thriving team.
1 GlobalData, Business Continuity, Flexible Working and Adaptive Infrastructure: 5 Actions for When the Economy Reopens, May 2020