In the beginning of 2020, many companies were taking their steps towards a more digital culture, but I am sure that none of them expected this future to arrive as abruptly and intensely as it did last year, accelerated in a few weeks for something vital to business survival. SMEs, which still move from analogue to digital, were the most affected by the pandemic, and there were many who had to close their doors or lay off employees.

While 78% of them are now betting on technologies aimed at communication and collaboration to resume business, as shown by a survey by Microsoft, 71% already feel prepared for remote work. So, how to unite technology and care with remote management?

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Using corporate customer service teams as an example, 63% of them started working from home in 2020, while 35% felt they still did not have the right tools for it, as shown by the Zendesk CX Trends 2021 survey, which evaluated the main trends and perceptions of the customer experience market. It is important to analyze these teams because they are in the front line with the customer, and consequently in how the company is perceived by the market. For consumers, the experience with a brand has become more important for customer loyalty than the quality of the price or the product, as pointed out by the survey.

While the adoption of technology is something simpler to solve, considering that cloud computing has enabled remote and personalized access to different work bases and the best management, collaboration and communication tools so that employees feel supported to work home, there is a gap resulting from the cultural factor of companies in how to use them in this new moment.

In the case of SMEs, many are still in the process of adopting a digital work culture. Both the teams themselves and their managers are relearning how to establish communication, collaboration and productivity monitoring in this change in the way they work. Adapting to the new reality also means combining technology with these transformations. Among the technological adoptions by Brazilian companies in this period of 2020 and which are still in the post-Covid plans, are process automation (91%), collaboration (81%), increased team productivity (75%), self-service (69%) and applications that integrate information from departments (63%).

Today, when it comes to measuring and increasing productivity, adopting a data-driven culture becomes essential, and more than simply having data collection and analysis tools. The goal is to have a holistic visibility of the operation in a single place, as an integrated platform of the company, to identify points of improvement in productivity and direct resources to the channels and areas most in demand at all times, helping to reduce the overload of teams when required. Likewise, creating resources for automating bureaucratic processes and implementing self-service for teams aims at increasing productivity and reducing work stress.

Establishing connection

Another very important point of investments in new technologies is collaboration, and the way companies deal with this brings a lot of the customer-centric vision. Creating connections and establishing links with team members without having daily physical contact is challenging. It is natural that the lack of time for coffee, lunch and other interaction situations impact this proximity, and become a focus especially for managers.

According to CX Trends 2021, 9 out of 10 companies are looking for new ways to promote this team engagement, which may be in the simplest actions, from using information technology. video conference to promote meetings, even greater investments in opening new channels so that employees can connect in the way they feel most comfortable. After all, if we talk about customer centrality and offers like omnichannel, this culture must permeate both external and internal customers. Survey data showed that 60% of respondents consider this collaborative and supportive work environment it offers as the most important point for delivering a good job.

Therefore, I believe that, more than ever, this is a time to practice empathy and strive to meet the needs of others. To care for the excess of care and attention to people and not to consider only the professionals, but the human beings behind them. And if we are talking about empathy, 80% of Brazilians also look for this in their relationship with companies.

I would say that it is an opportunity for the reinvention of corporate culture, since the links cannot stop existing. In this sense, remember to always say good morning, either at Zoom, email, or WhatsApp, try to understand the problems and challenges of each one and have constant conversations through these and other channels. Create true connections by practicing understanding and trust. Everyone is adapting to work remotely and trust in the team's work is essential so that they can feel safe in this process of cultural transformation.

There is no denying that we have lost natural human interactions with social distancing. We are facing a moment of reinvention of the way people work and connect, and this can seem confusing. But with the support of the right technologies, we will adapt and have a healthier modus operandi because we will be able to establish real links without being physically present. And it can be liberating.