If the Corona emergency has proven anything it is that companies need to be ready to deal with displaced workforces. Companies have been on the quest to reduce costs by replacing workers with technology. Along the way, they have neglected decentralizing work forces to deal with emergencies.

Anyone that has entered a McDonald’s recently understands how technology is being used to reduce costs. Each ordering kiosk replaces a worker, or, even three. Each kiosk costs less than a worker. For companies, the greatest expense on their balance sheets is the labor force.

As the pressure to reduce costs intensifies, companies have been looking at replacing their work force with technology. Machines are cheaper than people.

But not every job can be replaced by a computer.

Therein lies the trouble that many companies are now faced with. In their haste to deploy kiosks they have neglected the reality that the future of the workforce is decentralized. Large office complexes are no longer necessary. They do little to allow workers to produce and are expensive to keep and maintain. Not to mention the costs involved in workers having to commute.

With the existing technology very little work must be completed face-to-face. Product samples or necessary documents can be shared online. Meetings can be held remotely. Workers can work remotely and still produce.

Many companies are dealing with the reality that their workforce must work remotely during times of crisis. But few are ready for that.

Fortunately, the solutions are simple and exist today.

For example, VoIP (Voice over IP) services are simple to deploy and in many instances are cost effective. Not only are VoIP services cost savers but they also make workers more productive by integrating different services, like text messaging, social media messaging, telephone calls and online meetings into one tool.

Rather than have employees juggle a telephone, a meeting App or mobile phones, with today’s technology each employee gets one telephone number where all forms of communications, including long-forgotten faxes can be used for communications.

At Cognent, we’ve deployed such a system we’ve dubbed the Workspace Kit.

Cognent’s Workspace Kit is one service that offers each employee a company email account and a company telephone number where all communications happen regardless of where the employee happens to be, even at home.

It is what the future decentralized workforce looks like.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...