Transition to remote work caught UK businesses off guard

remote work

Businesses in the United Kingdom found that nearly half (49%) of businesses struggled initially to transition to remote work as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world, with only 39% already using technology that made working from home easier.

Preliminary data from Brightcove’s Q1 2020 Global Video Index, meanwhile, showed that in the first quarter consumption of video from enterprises nearly doubled during the quarter across the globe. In the UK, enterprise video views increased nearly 73% with time viewed increasing 67% as COVID-19 prompted a government-mandated lockdown. The Q1 2020 Video Index is launching June 8.

Readiness for remote work varied with business size

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of businesses larger than 250 employees had to invest in new hardware to respond to the need for work-from-home flexibility, and nearly two-thirds (62%) invested in new software.

The survey of 900 decision makers, conducted for tech developer Studio Graphene, also found about half (48%) of all businesses had to invest in new software.

To facilitate the rapid change to a remote workforce, 40% of all businesses have offered digital skills training to employees. Among large businesses, 46% offered some training along with just 28% of microbusinesses.

The bottom line

The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to scramble to maintain business continuity and some, obviously, did a better job than others. Being able to quickly establish secure communications at scale with employees, to pivot to virtual events from in-person events and to maintain critical connections to vendors and customers has been a challenge for many.

But there are some great tools that make it easier. Check out, for example, Brightcove’s Play TV, an OTT streaming service developed in just 60 days when the company’s customer event that occurs in May each year, Play, had to adapt because of uncertainties surrounding COVID-19.

As we move forward it’s increasingly obvious more businesses are going to continue to embrace remote work. For example, Facebook just last week joined several other tech companies in publicly stating it would work to maintain a larger remote workforce.

But, having the right tools and service will be crucial… Zoom and FaceTime just won’t carry the load.

As Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “The seeds for the flexible working revolution have truly been sown, and the pandemic will certainly accelerate the move towards employees doing their jobs outside of the office’s four walls.”

Indeed.

Stay tuned and stay well.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn