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Blog · 07 Jul 2021

Five factors shaping the future of work for business services companies

Discover the decisions business services firms are facing about how they’ll operate in an emerging post-pandemic world.

Gareth Jenkins
Head of international business services

Change is everywhere in the business services environment right now, as companies try to establish what the future of work will look like.

In many senses, the old business rulebook has been ripped up and thrown away, bringing so much into question.

There’s a lot of uncertainty around, but this is only reinforcing the importance of building flexibility into structures to allow firms to make changes at a moment’s notice. Many business services firms have supercharged their move to the cloud, embracing digital transformation to keep operations running as smoothly as possible during the pandemic, but these new cloud environments mean new security vulnerabilities to manage.

It’s a full agenda, but it’s also a time bursting with potential and possibilities. A future way of working that improves the employee and the customer experience and positions the business for success is within our reach. All we need is the courage to explore and to think differently so we create solutions that are the ideal answers to the challenges business services firms face.

From talking to companies ranging from law firms to food service companies and recruitment consultancies, these are the factors that I believe will shape the future of work for business services:

1. The pressure to transform experiences

The link between being face-to-face and effective collaboration has been broken once and for all. A large part of the future of work will be about bringing people together remotely using collaboration tools to build connections in ways that improve both the employee and the customer experience. Recruitment firms, for example, need to empower frontline staff to be able to assess candidates as thoroughly as they would do during an office meeting. It’s essential to explore the possibilities, re-evaluating the business’ network and infrastructure to make sure it can support the firm’s choice of collaboration tools and video technology.

2. A critical need for flexibility

Where and how we work has had a huge shake-up and the one certainty to emerge is the need to stay flexible to adapt to new circumstances. Running massive sites with high staffing levels is largely impossible right now for safety reasons, and businesses are feeling their way to a more distributed way of working. Food service businesses, for example, have had to pivot from supplying huge events to supporting multiple, smaller events, requiring rapid and agile staff deployment. Many firms are rethinking their business models, turning to remote self-service, an increase in 5G sensor technology to create a contactless, touchless, pre-orderable and traceable experience.

3. Increased security concerns

As business models change, security must change too. The rapid cloud adoption that was a feature of so many business services firms during the pandemic has redrawn security perimeters. The recruitment industry, for example, has been hit by hacks leading to the exposure or theft of candidates’ personal information. As well as potential fines for breaching GDPR, firms face a loss in confidence that could drive clients to competitors and hit the business hard. As connected ways of working grow, so do vulnerabilities. As companies turn to self-service and automation technologies to keep up with consumer demand for convenience, their security coverage often lags behind – and this must change. The business services sector needs to adopt a proactive approach to security that will keep pace with this rapidly changing threat landscape.

4. New expectations for contact centres

It’s one thing to recognise that you need to move to a cloud-based contact centre model to access all the benefits of easy scaling, agents working from anywhere and a pay-for-use cost basis – it’s another to actually make the leap. I’m talking to a lot of business services companies at the moment who are hesitating, worried about it being a huge, expensive upheaval to an environment that’s unpredictable and out of their control. In fact, it’s sticking with the old contact centre model that poses the greatest risk – all other concerns can be tackled by careful planning and the right choice of set-up. If you can’t flex your solution to meet whatever your business needs next, you’ll fall behind your competition.

5. A drive for sustainability

Boosting sustainability is no longer a ‘luxury’ for business services companies; it’s going to be tomorrow’s essential, so we should all start planning for it today. A shift in business model to a more agile, cloud-based, remote-working infrastructure is a prime opportunity to operate in a sustainable way. As an organisation, we’re ready to help you avoid using carbon, and welcome the chance to talk through the possibilities. Our aim is to reduce our carbon intensity by 87% by 2030 and we intend to become a net zero carbon emissions business by 2045.

Start shaping the future of your business

The future of work for business services companies doesn’t have to be a puzzle. Instead, it’s the opportunity to do things differently – and better. For more information about how we can support your business as you adapt to the new world, please contact your account manager. 

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