As 2022 rolls around, you're probably already thinking about ways to improve your own life – go to the gym, read more, take the online course you've been putting off for months – but it's also just as important to look after your businesses health and improvement.
There are a few key resolutions you can make now to ensure that your business enters 2022 in the best possible shape. From remote working to social media, we've outlined some wins, as well as the tech that can help you get there.
After a couple of turbulent years, we don't know what 2022 will bring, but we can at least be prepared!
1. Settle on a Hybrid or Remote Working Policy
To use the word ‘turbulent' to describe the office environment over the past two years might be underselling it. The pandemic has seen a seismic shift in the way we work that hasn't been felt in generations, and inevitably, it's taking time for all of us to adjust. That's no truer than for businesses, who have had to deal with work forces that are no longer based in one centralized location, but spread out across different states, time zones and countries, in some cases.
With this in mind, it's important to make sure that your business has a concrete hybrid or remote working plan in place, for the ease of both you and your employees. We're still finding out that there are huge discrepancies between what staff expect, and what companies are prepared to do, so it's a good idea to make sure that everyone is on the same page. A robust policy on remote work means that there's little room for doubt, and ensures a fair system for all.
As for the actual details, well, that's up to you. Maybe you'll embrace remote working, like Square, which has said that all staff are welcome to work remotely, forever. Or perhaps you'll adopt a more hybrid approach with some days in the office and others from home, like Facebook and Google.
2. Web Conferencing is the Future – Embrace it
If there's been one ‘winner' in the pandemic, it's been web conferencing. Sure, the concept has been around for years, but it hasn't been until recently that most of us have had to actually rely on it, denied the option of in-person meetings. It's a place we would have got to in the future anyway, as every science fiction author will no doubt tell you, the pandemic just happened to shove us towards it faster.
Getting to grips with web conferencing hasn't been a smooth ride. There's the slightly weird etiquette of virtual meetings, tech issues, the desperate tidying of the small space behind you, making sure you don't have the cat filter on… phew, it's been exhausting. But, we've survived, and thrived, and now for most of us video meetings over Zoom, Microsoft Teams or whatever platform you choose to use have become as natural as email did back in the 90s.
Don't assume though, that when the pandemic ends, web conferencing will be consigned to the scrapheap of pandemic fads alongside Tiger King and elbow bumps. The ‘new normal' of hybrid working will mean that even if you're in the office, your colleagues might not be.
Web conferencing platforms have show real commitment over the past two years, continuing to add new features to make our video chats better and more productive. We'll admit there are still some meetings that work better in-person, but Zoom ain't going nowhere.
Read our guide to the best web conferencing providers
3. Make Sure Your Business Is Cyber Safe
Did you read the headlines in 2021? If you did, you'll have noticed a lot of reporting on hacking, scams and ransomware, and no, it wasn't your imagination, there were more than usual. In fact, 2021 saw an increase in hacking and scam attacks, linked to the fact that so many of us are now working from home, and company security is stretched.
In 2021 it seemed that barely a week went by without news of a ransomware attack, in which company data is held hostage by hackers for payment, usually in cryptocurrency. Failure to pay means risking having your data stolen and distributed. Many organisations have been affected, from oil pipelines to local school authorities.
It's not just ransomware either. Other types of scams, such as phishing are also on the rise, making it more important than ever to ensure your businesses cyber security is tighter than your pants after Christmas dinner.
While your in-office security might seem to be fairly robust, remote and hybrid working can open your business up to a lot of bad practices. Employees should be helped and given the tools to make their own day to day activities more secure. VPNs for example, will mask their activities online, while password managers will stop them from reusing the same password on every site, or even worse, writing it on a post-it note.
Then there's our old friend, anti-virus software, which will identify and remove all sorts of nasty, potentially damaging viruses before they even get a chance to carry out their dastardly deeds.
4. Nail Your Social Media Strategy
A lot of businesses have had to pivot to online in the last two years, whether it's to stay in touch with colleagues, or to take their products from store shelves customers can no longer access, to online retail. We've seen that communication is more important than ever, which is why sorting out your social media approach for 2022 will only benefit you and your business.
If you haven't already got a solid social media strategy in place, then it's time to plan one out. If you do have one, ask yourself if it's still relevant in 2022, and if it's pandemic-proof. Are you addressing topical events and engaging with your audience where they are today, or are you relying on outdated methods?
One of the best ways to juggle your businesses' social media accounts across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and anything else you may use, is with a social media manager. One of these could prove to be a game changer, allowing you to schedule posts for key times, collect and analyze data, log in with multiple account, and respond to comments more productively.
Read our guide to finding the best social media management tools.