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As of this week, all 50 states have taken at least some steps toward reopening and allowing businesses that had been shut down by the pandemic to bring employees and customers back. How exactly it will go, and how well, remains to be seen. But even if the return is slow, it's clear that the first phase of the response is over. So what now?

That question—what now?—must strike a chord with enterprise communications/collaboration managers. On one level, the answer is clear: With gathering sizes continuing to be limited, most end users will likely continue to work from home. And even many who could go into the office may choose not to do so in the first stage of return.

Many enterprises have judged the work-from-home experiment to be a major success; by most accounts, employees remained productive and work continued pretty much on track. That's not to say there weren't major challenges, especially for the employees, many of whom had to juggle childcare duties and other burdens imposed by the lockdown. But they were at least able to continue doing their jobs. So there's not necessarily any rush to bring them back to offices that will likely not be the kind of hospitable, welcoming environments where people want to spend time. Mask-wearing and keeping your distance from others isn't necessarily conducive to collaboration.

But if most workers continue to stay home in this first phase of reopening, enterprises will need to build on their initial remote work rollouts. The emphasis now turns to securing and standardizing, analyzing, and optimizing these deployments.

To help you deal with the next phase, Enterprise Connect is launching an online destination we're calling Enterprise Connect Virtual Bootcamp: Collaboration for the New Reality. From this site, you can sign up for a series of webinars that will take place next month, focusing on what we've learned from the first stage of enterprises' pandemic response, and where we go from here. The site also contains assets like whitepapers, e-books, and more.

I'm particularly excited about the first two webinars we've announced for the bootcamp. We're kicking off the bootcamp on June 15 with a keynote, titled The Enteprises's Checklist for Meeting New Workplace Challenges," by Robin Gareiss of Nemertes Research. Robin will share insights from Nemertes's new studies on how enterprises are responding to today's reality and provide actionable next steps. A week later, on June 22, Steve Leaden of Leaden Associates consultancy will present some real-world stories drawn from his work with enterprise IT teams in the health care, higher education, and other verticals, many in the hard-hit New York metro area, during the first wave of the pandemic.

I hope you'll take a look at what we have planned for the bootcamp, and continue to check back for additional materials as we'll be adding more webinars and other assets over the coming weeks. Our aim is to help you understand how to take your enterprise communications/collaboration into an admittedly uncertain future.

Eric Krapf
GM & Program Co-Chair Enterprise Connect & WorkSpace Connect Publisher, No Jitter 

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