Although the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic may be over, the way we work has changed forever. Today, more people are working remotely either part-time or full-time and more employers are hiring remote talent.
A recent Gartner study found that almost three quarters of the organisations plan to have 5% to 20% of their employee workforce who previously were not working remotely, to remain permanently working from home post COVID-19.
What’s more, an HP IT decision maker (ITDM) study conducted in 2020 found that 56% of employees will want to keep working at home as much as they want even after the pandemic is over.
With both employers and employees foreseeing remote work as standard going forward, what can businesses do to support this ‘new normal’? Here are four important steps IT can take to enable a successful remote work environment.
- Review your device and software mix
This may be an obvious first step, but one that can easily be overlooked when being forced to shift from in-office to remote work quickly. With the height of the pandemic behind us, now is the time to review your entire device and software mix to ensure it’s fit for long-term remote work.
Seek feedback from users on how their hardware is working for them, and whether there’s anything they feel they need to do their job better, wherever they’re working from. Remember to consider ergonomics: 46% of remote workers say they lack a dedicated workspace at home, so your workforce may need support in setting up a viable long-term remote work environment.
Also consider your software setup: does everyone have access to a secure VPN? Is your antivirus software up to date? Can remote employees share and edit documents in real-time? Are users appropriately trained? Answering these questions is essential to ensuring everyone has the software they need to work effectively.
- Give employees the tools they need to collaborate
Collaboration is a critical driver of innovation and productivity – and it shouldn’t fall by the wayside because teams are working remotely. Make sure employees have access to useful collaboration apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype or Slack, as well as cloud-based project management applications.
What’s appropriate here will depend on the needs of your workforce, so ask teams about their current workflows, what works and what doesn’t, and areas in which new tools could help them collaborate more effectively.
- Make security a priority
The unfortunate reality is a remote workforce can increase your risk of a security breach. With endpoint devices no longer being confined to the office, it can be more difficult to control access and user behaviour.
However, it’s possible to mitigate security risks by focusing on technology and education.
Firstly, ensure your devices, such as PCs and printers, are as secure as possible. Hardware that comes with a built-in security portfolio, such as HP Elite PCs, can reduce risk by automatically protecting firmware and isolating threats to protect devices from infection.
Secondly, educate users about best practices while working remotely: network security principles, how to spot the signs of phishing and malware, how to enable two-factor authentication and so on.
- Develop a remote workforce continuity plan
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that business disruptions can happen at any time, and it’s crucial to be prepared for the unexpected.
For IT teams, this means regularly reviewing your technology, systems and processes, and having a robust business continuity plan in place for your remote workforce. Ensure employees know how to seek support if they experience an IT issue while working remotely, and what to do if they suspect a cyberattack or threat.
As the nature of work evolves, IT teams face new productivity, connectivity and security challenges. At Viatek, our partnerships with global leaders such as HP allow us to deliver our clients the best solutions, technology and services available in the market today. Contact us today to discuss how we can support the needs of your remote workforce.