The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is clearly taking a toll on the global economy, writes Tim Minahan, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer, Citrix . Productivity is lagging as companies restrict travel and workers in affected areas remain quarantined.

Supply chains are being disrupted as manufacturing in key markets has ground to a halt. Corporate forecasts are being revised downward. Even the 2020 Olympic Games are potentially in jeopardy.

Natural disasters and public health emergencies can strike anywhere at any time. And when they do, organisations need to be prepared to ensure the safety of their employees, customers and partners and minimise disruptions to their business.

While it’s difficult to predict how severe things will get, one thing is clear: maintaining employee engagement, business continuity, and customer support in times like these requires flexible work models and secure remote workplace technologies.

Leveraging the automation, scale, and ubiquity of the cloud, digital workspace solutions give employees access to the applications and information they need to be informed, collaborate, and get work done from their homes — or wherever they happen to be – in a safe and secure manner.

Savvy organisations that have such digital workspace technologies as a foundation of their business continuity plans have demonstrated the agility, speed and efficiency required to manage resources in the dynamic way that unpredictable business environments demand.

Ready for growth

Having sound flexible work and digital workspace readiness programs is also proving to be a source for growth and competitive advantage. A recent study conducted by the Center for Economics and Business Research with support from Citrix found that 69 percent of people who are currently unemployed or economically inactive would be willing to start working if given the opportunity to work flexibly.

Activating these untapped pools of talent such as work from home parents, workers in rural areas, retirees, and part-time gig workers through digital workspace technologies can improve business and the global economy.

Give the economy a jolt

Proof: According to Cebr, if the currently unemployed and economically inactive did rejoin the workforce, it could drive upwards of $2 trillion in economic gains across the US economy and an increase in GDP of 10.2 percent. 

Remote work can also reduce the time and costs associated with commuting and, according to the Cebr study, generate savings to the tune of $107 billion a year for employees which they can pump back into their local economies.

Build a sustainable business

There are environmental benefits too. Sustainability is no longer lip service, but a key corporate objective. With increasing frequency, companies are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, and remote working is a cost-effective and simple way to do it. With greater adoption of flexible working practices, companies can operate from smaller offices and reduce the number of commuting hours and vehicles on the roads. And according to a 2018 study by Regus this could cut CO2 emissions by 214 million tons annually.

Few things in business are certain. Except change. And the pace with which it is happening is faster than ever before. Companies that adopt digital workspace solutions to create flexible digital environments that provide employees with everything they need to be and perform at their best, can not only keep business moving, but quickly move ahead.

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