07 April 2020

The need for speed in the race to a virtual workplace

By Karyn Turbill - Chief Marketing Officer

It’s a crazy world we are living in right now. A new way of life has landed upon us almost overnight. In circumstances like these, the need for speed and true business agility, and a company culture that runs deep has never been more critical.

Organisations globally are being forced to evaluate the continuity of their business and services, and business policies for that matter. These radical changes and disruptions to our traditional ways of working have thrown a spanner in the works when it comes to the reliability and resilience of business platforms and practises.

In order to maintain a ’business as usual’ approach in times like these, radical thinking and a rapid change of pace, and workstyle is required in order to adapt and remain productive.

There has never been a more important time for our teams have access to the systems and tools they need from anywhere, at any time, without any noticeable change in the performance or availability of our infrastructure. Especially in these times of isolation, where virtual contact is important for self-health and maintaining a connected community.

Digitally savvy 21st century workers are no different to online consumers. Our expectations as users are higher than they’ve ever been. In order to service our customers and perform optimally, our basic expectation is that our systems, and tools will be available when we need them, from any device.

This has been the case for a while but the challenge we face today is, how will that hold up when we have everyone doing this at the same time, on a much grander scale. This increased demand puts enormous pressure on the corporate network, applications and IT services.

For many, this pivot and up-shift of gears is something that teams are being asked to achieve immediately, so they can stay connected to customers, suppliers and each other.

Mobility: the enabler of change

Remote working isn’t a new thing, it’s already the norm for many on occasions. In fact, many of us actively seek these kinds of flexible working arrangements as an incentive, and companies in recent times have been quick to respond.

But with such radical and mandatory changes thrust upon us, remote working no longer only applies to groups who are scattered across many physical locations and connected to a laptop. It’s so much more than that. It applies to almost everyone.

As Governments and health officials over the world continue to introduce and enforce new social distancing laws, the whole fabric of how most of us lived and operated in society has vanished.

For much of the workforce, working from home has become the new norm. But how we adapt and use this opportunity to unlearn what we used to know will be a game changer. There is tremendous opportunity to apply a greater level of creative and innovative thinking to how we can work smarter and more efficiently.

Keeping the culture alive

As organisations run full steam ahead in order to adapt, we can’t ignore the strain and stress placed not only on our infrastructure, but equally our people and organisational culture, as a result of immediate and swift changes like we are seeing globally.

Employee mindfulness and actively supporting and nurturing our mental health are embedded in NEXTDC’s culture. It’s something I’ve personally benefited from over my years with the company. However, in times like these, when stress and uncertainty and the sheer enormity of what we need to get done is heightened, it becomes less of a ‘nice to have’ discipline. Instead, it is something we need to retrain ourselves into actively practising each day.

In times where we don’t have our physical support network surrounding us and observing how we are coping; how do we maintain our well-being and personal connections?

How we help each other and ourselves, come together collaboratively to overcome anxiety, and rise to the challenges we face in both the physical and virtual realms, is where culture will shine through.

NEXTDCs People & Culture team do a superb job of bringing our team the tools and practises necessary to stay strong, mentally and physically. That said, there are some excellent public resources available around maintaining personal well-being through mindfulness when working from home.

There’s a fundamental shift happening around how we do business, how we connect, collaborate and sell. From a NEXTDC perspective, this is an area where we can’t afford to take our foot off the accelerator. In fact it’s quite the opposite. There’s no business or community without connectivity, and we’ll continue to adapt to support the evolving needs of our customers and our people.

As a business, we are firmly focussed on the health and safety of all our people onsite at our data centres, be it staff, customers, partners and suppliers. However, this doesn’t divert our focus from the equally important role we play in ensuring our customers remain online, supported and connected to their staff, customers and communities.

On a personal note, I couldn’t be prouder of the inspirational efforts of our team, and the phenomenal work from so many of our customers and partners, who are helping to keep Australia’s critical digital infrastructure running when we need it most.

If we can offer any support to your business, and help bring your business closer to your customers, we would love the opportunity to connect directly.