“We have just brushed up our BCP to make sure we’re ready for the (almost) inevitable impact of COVID-19 on our team or our three operating countries.”


Actually it didn’t require a brush up at all, because we operate remotely and flexibly all the time – I wrote about this last year when the Sky City Convention Centre fire shut our Auckland office for 2 days and we worked right through that calamity.

The only action I had to take last week was to post a reminder to all our staff on our Teams H&S Channel to always assume they will not be coming to the office the next morning and would be working from home until further notice.

We should be thanking Microsoft for finally getting serious about an enterprise platform that delivers a secure and mobile working environment that is a true boost to productivity. This was not the case a few years ago when Google dominated the ‘online collaboration’ space with simple tools like Google Docs and the Microsoft online experience was horrible.

The transformation of our own business into a cloud based collaborative environment has been astounding over the past 2 years once we fully adopted Microsoft 365. On any day, we have people working across at least 13 locations (offices, client sites, home-offices) and multiple time-zones. We probably take a lot for granted but it is remarkable to reflect on how much we rely on cloud technology for our own mobile workforce to function.

But this is not just a technology answer

We’ve also had to change how we work, how we meet, how we communicate, how we collaborate, etc. We’ve run training sessions on how to ‘write in plain English’, we’ve tried to move most of our ‘comms traffic’ from email to Teams, we’ve enforced ‘camera on’ so that we create a personal touch to our meetings and keep people focused, we’ve improved the quality of our cameras, speakers and mics in our meeting rooms and at our desks, and we’ve also had some hiccups along the way (like dogs barking, birds squawking and babies crying in the background during client meetings!). Just having the tools doesn’t make any of us better tradespeople – we all need tuition and practice to be better too.

The COVID-19 global situation is forcing many organisations to look at the ‘mobility’ and flexibility of their workforce. And we can help from a technical perspective to implement and get more out of Microsoft 365 as an enabler. Yet, this unfortunate global emergency will also require organisations and people to learn new soft skills of remote collaboration, so we can finally see that uplift in productivity that most economies have lacked despite the promises of IT.


To be clear, working remotely is not a permanent solution for Mobile Mentor despite our global nature

Human interaction is important and some of our clients expect and want to see us in the flesh to help and coach them through the complexities of endpoint security. Nor is remote working necessarily the most ‘sustainable solution’ if you read some of the economic and environmental analysis of heating or cooling inefficient homes vs efficient office blocks. That’s a whole separate article.

Flexibility and collaboration are key skills and requirements for the 21st century workforce – working anywhere, anytime, anyhow.  COVID-19 may just provide an unwelcome boost in that direction.