How MSPs Can Help Customers Adapt to New Norms
The life of a Business Traveler surely includes stories of some great trips balanced by hopefully fewer less than stellar experiences. The gauge between good and bad depends on the success of the meetings and, of course, the journey with all it has to offer, including flights or rail rides, taxi or rideshare encounters, traffic conditions and other transportation and logistics-related experiences. Mix in all the activities related to securing accommodations and navigating venues, and the possibilities are endless.
That was pre-Covid-19. Our travel norms were, for most part, taken away mid-March when the world became less safe and our travel virtually came to a halt. Most businesses and travelers reset their priorities.
Since that point, I have taken three trips and lot has changed from what I considered the old “norm.” Here are some of my observations of what differs from the pre-COVID world.
Change is Everywhere
First and foremost, and perhaps most obvious to the frequent traveler, is the lack of people at airports. That has had an influence on other activities. For one, airport construction is increasing. While that has been an ongoing activity at LaGuardia Airport in NYC for as long as I can remember, their roadmap appears to have accelerated with thousands of fewer people flying each day. In just 60 days, between June 15th to August 15th, their crews built a brand-new entrance and road. Yes, it is still a mess going in and out of the building, but I have never seen so much work done in such little time in that airport.
Due to a lack of travelers, there are also not a lot of direct flights. You may get stuck flying to major airport hubs and take smaller planes from there to many destinations.
Another observation is the majority of the restaurants and bars are closed and the few that remain open have long lines due to social distancing lines guidelines. There may be just one or two places available in an entire wing of the airport resulting in capacity limitations during high demand hours. With restaurants missing half their chairs, good luck finding a seat.
In my three trips, only one Delta Lounge was open, and their food was all prepackaged. Don’t expect to see buffets or sit at a bar (all taped off) anytime soon.
The inflight experience is also quite different. On Delta, unless you are traveling with someone, you are more than likely going to have an aisle seat to yourself. While they are banning hard liquor purchases (or carry on), I find it strange that beer and wine are still being served. However, when you get on the plane, you can expect to receive a small bag of snacks and hand sanitizer and wipes to clean your seat. Those are the perks!
There are also changes for CLEAR members. You may recall putting two fingers on a scanner to earn first-in-line status at the security gate. They now scan your eyes.
Some travelers are carrying on business-as-usual. Some people are roaming all over the airport with few limitations, while others are masked up head-to-toe socially distancing themselves from the ticket counter to the gate. In Atlanta, there was no one within at least twenty feet of me when I attempted to talk with my wife on the phone; she couldn’t hear me through my mask. As soon as I took it off, another passenger ran from another gate and told me to put it back on.
Realizing that people have different comfort levels is a requirement today, as is respecting others’ personal boundaries. This is the new norm for travel, at least from my experiences.
Transform and Adapt
Why share my observations of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic? Quite frankly, much like the airlines, IT services businesses need to proactively adapt to the current environment.
After seven months, many businesses are continuing their quest for new services and solutions that allow operations to return as close to normal as possible. Improving productivity despite the distractions is a top priority.
Your clients surely understand that things may not return to “normal’ any time soon. Can you help them adapt their operations to the new business environment, including flexible workspaces and WFH options? These are the issues many companies continue to grapple with after all these months.
Of course, security plays a big role in these work transformations. From protecting and encrypting email messages to providing remote access through VPNs and endpoint protection, MSPs can lead the way and safely help their clients adapt their operations to meet any security challenge.