Covid-19 has caused swift changes in the way organizations get work done. It leads us to question what adaptations will be here to stay.
As Covid-19 continues to sweep its way through the country (and world), businesses have had to make quick changes to accommodate for remote workers and are using a distributed workforce like never before. While remote work has been a topic in the IT industry for the past decade or so, the pandemic has quickly shifted from remote workers being a small portion of workforces to most businesses adapting to having their entire workforce working remotely. This has brought many questions about the future of the workforce and certainly makes an argument that having a remote work strategy and set-up is vital for the future.
A report by Global Workplace Analytics noted that the number of remote workers has grown 173% from 2005, 11% faster than the rest of the workforce. This number is only set to expand as a March 30th Gallup survey stated that 74% of CFOs plan to move even more onsite employees to remote workspaces permanently after the Covid-19 restrictions end.
As the pandemic has shifted much of America's corporate workforce to remote work, organizations have had a unique opportunity to critically review how a distributed workforce affects the organization and if there are long term benefits of having the ability to have a workforce adapted to such work.
Is a Distributed Workforce the "New Normal"?
As organizations begin thinking about the future and what their organization may look like after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, there will be considerations for positive ways that distributed workforces can continue to be a part of the organization.
For many organizations, having all staff with the ability to work remote as needed may very well be the norm. It is smart to assume that there will be long lasting effects from this pandemic on the way people work.
While some organizations may shift more employees to an entirely remote experience, others may look at having employees set up with a remote work office as well as an on-site office. This allows teammates to work both in-office and remote and allows them to be productive from anywhere to accommodate personal illness, family illness, or personal problems that may keep them from being physically in the office.
Considerations for a long-term Distributed Workforce
As restrictions are lifted and organizations adapt to new work from home policies and make way for more remote work there are some considerations to keep in mind.
Setting Up A Remote Work Space
One of the most important aspects of remote work is ensuring that the worker has everything they need to be successful. This includes:
A working computer - a laptop is preferred as employees can plug in on-site and at home with ease
A fast and reliable internet connection - working via a VPN or remote session will not be an enjoyable experience without a fast and reliable internet connection.
A quiet place to work free of distractions - when working from home it can be easy to become distracted. Make sure that employees have a dedicated workspace at home
Set office hours - while working from home can provide more flexibility to the work-day it is best practice to expect your workforce to work during a standard set of business hours. This makes sure that communication and collaboration is effective.
Security needs to be at the top of your priority list when setting up your distributed workforce. Here are some security considerations to keep top of mind:
Utilize full disk encryption to ensure that even if the device falls into the wrong hands, the company's data is not accessible
Continue to enforce strong password policies and use of 2FA as often as possible where applicable
Use a VPN to connect remote workers to the organization's internal network. This prevents access from unknown entities from remote locations.
Have employees use company owned devices as much as possible, using personal devices increases risk of secured files and data being saved on unsecure devices
When it is not possible to use a company owned device use a solution such as GC Connect to connect securely into a user's machine at work for their day-to-day tasks. (For our current GC customers we are offering free 60 days of our GC Connect, contact your CRM for more information)
Collaboration & Connectivity Considerations
Distributed workforces bring new challenges when it comes to connecting and collaboration within your organization. It is important to consider these challenges and create opportunities for collaboration and connection within your distributed workforce.
We recommend using a tool such as Microsoft Teams which offers videoconferencing, chat, project collaboration, file sharing, and more. Teams is a robust solution that allows workers to connect with each other easily and efficiently no matter where they are working. To learn more about Teams & to learn how Teams can work for your organization visit: https://www.mapletronics.com/post/workforce-going-remote