The onset of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown saw a mad dash by businesses to enable home working, a set-up for which some firms and their employees were ill prepared. With rushed decisions came compromise and short-term fixes. As things settle down, businesses are now revisiting what the workplace future looks like and where IT can adapt and its role. Along with independent commissioned research, we’ve taken our own look at firms’ reactions to lockdown, what is happening as they re-emerge into a less restrictive environment and how Blue Saffron can support to make companies future-ready.

What happened through lockdown?

What is apparent from the many conversations we’ve had with suppliers, customers, consultants and industry observers is that a company’s relationship with IT is likely to change. Resilience is vital and evolution is necessary. From the outset, the IT community scrambled to respond to virtual working demands, the most common hurdles being:

  • The need for secure access to corporate services and office networks. In the first two weeks alone, we assessed, constructed and tested software for hundreds of individuals to get them securely online.
  • Unstable domestic broadband connections. Our team successfully triaged the “chain” from end user device, through to residential broadband set ups, ensuring optimal configuration and recommending equipment upgrades where necessary.
  • Unavailability of End User Devices – typically laptops. There was a frenzied rush to procure laptops for staff during a global shortage. Our response was to repurpose office PCs as remote access devices, installing, configuring and testing them gave clients an immediate and much-needed remedy.

What is happening now?

As lockdown restrictions have cautiously lifted, the workplace has again shifted. 75% of businesses are actively assessing the best way to get their employees back to the office and debating the future of home working, workforce retention and what life looks beyond furlough. While the flexibility and autonomy of remote working has led to some signs of greater productivity as work/life balance improves, the economic upside to reframing the workplace allows for significant cost savings on rents, travel, infrastructure spending and more.

Given the operational nuances of each business, Blue Saffron has adapted intelligently to specific client requests and requirements, developing remote working solutions to meet mid-market Enterprise needs. As one customer commented,

“Our current managed desktop service could not natively run audio and video services. As our use of Teams has increased exponentially, Blue Saffron have designed a new modern workplace architecture where this is no longer a problem.”

When it came to the intricacies of furloughing, we designed repeatable solutions that were managed using the Blue Saffron Knowledge Base and workflow automations, allowing anything from email forwarding, through to Microsoft License removal, mailbox conversions and more. Easy to use, each process was entirely reversable allowing for greater flexibility in these transitory times.

What happens next?

Saw-toothed recovery means adaptability is key and Blue Saffron, like many in our industry, have worked with pace, diligence and experience to relocate, reorient and rearchitect the fabric of myriad firms’ IT services. So, what needs to happen next?

With 52% of respondents believing that 10-25% of the workforce will continue to work from home over the next year, businesses need to consider the opportunities and challenges they will inevitably face.

  • Remote working.  The rush to set up home-based working did not always lead to the best deployment of resources. Opportunities to consider contracted and more flexible employment models are compelling. Now is the time to step back and take a considered approach to working out a feasible IT strategy for the future.
  • Business-grade connectivity. Now that the suspension of network supplier deliveries has abated, and business broadband is more affordable there is little question that robust, reliable connectivity is within easy reach.
  • Cyber-security protection. Given that 53% of respondents felt that one of the biggest challenges to adapting to lockdown was IT security, while 74% reported that their own customers were concerned about cybersecurity, companies will require a considered and well thought through approach to such precautions.
  • Cloud-based applications. With 65% of companies using cloud and hosting capabilities during lockdown, there has only been increasing demand for such agile technology. Now is the time to think long term.
  • Collaboration. Our survey highlighted that companies relied on video conferencing like never before. It also showed that it was rare for businesses to fully leverage the capabilities of software suites to their full capacity. Training is essential. With a marked shift of phone based activity from the central office to remote working locations, both the convenience and security of extending collaboration tolls to allow phone contact (teams voice) has borne many benefits.
  • Upgrading equipment. The rush to get employees up and running meant corners were often cut, proving short term and expensive. Step back, take a breath, review where investment needs to be made and get good advice
  • IT support. Decisions, some difficult, will need to be made on how IT support will evolve. More than 50% of companies are considering external support agencies, whether in the form of a partnership, hybrid model or an ad hoc project based engagement.

What is clear is that the re-engineering of working practices is a topic for hot debate and one that 75% of companies are actively engaged in. While some companies have confirmed that remote working is likely to remain in place, other firms are keen to mix it up, between office, work near home set ups in suburban workspaces and/or virtual working. Any solution will require a mix of thought, flexibility, a robust infrastructure and quality support.

Our customer satisfaction retained its 98% rating, even with a significant rise in support requests, highlighting our skill, dependability and professionalism. As one happy customer confirmed,


“It was a tough time for us, but the Blue Saffron team were fantastically supportive, not only in keeping us running, but identifying and implementing innovative solutions that boosted our productivity and kept control of our costs”.


Blue Saffron have a proven track record in supporting businesses even in the most challenging times. Let us know how we can help you.

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Customer Satisfaction - 98%
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