Working remotely has its challenges for many of us. We have all had to adjust recently to a new way of working, in a new location, even if you have been working from home since before lockdown. These adjustments relate to customers, collaborating in our teams, and understanding the world and the market in an unprecedented season.
Thankfully, many of us have discovered great benefits from working remotely too! Less commuting, more pyjamas & lunchtime yoga, among other highlights.
We IT service professionals, however, have been remote working for some time. We thought we'd share with you the ‘real talk’ highs and lows of what IT service professionals are really thinking about remote working.
Remote working benefits
There is no doubt that we see real benefit to remote working, being connected and staying productive. The IT world has exploded with mobile telephony, WiFi data and even a (perhaps rather feeble) attempt at commercial in-flight internet access. Everyone wants the ability to work everywhere to keep their employer and their customers happy.
You will find that in countries like the US, there’s a 159% increase in people who are working remotely from 2005 to 2017 – across all sectors including legal, commercial property and manufacturing.
Competitive edge and service is soon lost without access to CRM on the move or email from home just to ‘catch-up’ before and at the end of the working day.
However, when it comes to working from home flexibly or permanently, this is more ‘taboo’ than being able to access work email on holiday.
Myths become challenges
There is no doubt that nearly every IT service professional would rubber stamp remote working, subject to some fine print.
Conversely, many business owners have become nervous over the years about employee’s not being present in the office during working hours and working from home. This nervousness is often from the unknown and derived from myths.
These myths create challenges for IT service professionals, and business teams, to implementing what could be a very efficient and productive way of working. These myths include:
“My team want to work from home so they can work from their garden”
There’s no denying that due to the work-life balance it promotes, remote working is in high demand. However, managers are truly mistaken if they believe the benefits of remote working are in favour of their employees.
There is significant research showing lower operational costs, reduced attrition rates and increased productivity with a balance of home working. Perhaps this needs to be an A/B split test with a few employees?
“Once one person works from home – they all will – we can’t do that can we?”
An “all or nothing” approach isn’t required with remote or home working. Thousands of companies around the world are easing into home working and remote work policies one team at a time. You might be surprised how many of your employees will just keep coming to the office or attend a few days a week for team interaction.
“My employees will be distracted by their partners, children and DIY”
Maybe there will be a little distraction at home, but how often are employees distracted from working at work? Especially in open plan offices. Interruptions can become a productivity nightmare.
Caveats to the remote working silver bullet
We mentioned previously about small print. We definitely advocate remote working, but it needs to be done completely, and well. The strategy and planning into implementing the correct technology, backup and security is vital. Poor execution will deliver poor results and impact business performance and confidence in remote working.
We cannot emphasise this enough… backup and security are vital! If your employees do not feel safe and well-equipped to access everything that they need when working remotely, their work will simply not be as productive. Backup is not only useful when preparing for the future and planning crisis management solutions, but it is also valuable to ensure that your employees can remain online and recover their work no matter what happens to their original copy or their device.
Many employees who work remotely use multiple devices, including personal devices, to access their emails and your business’s data. Using personal devices can be tricky though – refer to our blog on BYOD.
Technology doesn’t just include devices. We have all spent hours waiting for a download. It is important to make sure the right secure connectivity is in place for each home or remote worker. Connectivity tests, recommendations and implementation should be done before rolling out remote working.
Finally, if your cyber security is not updated regularly to be as efficient as possible, then you will be leaving your business open to potential threats. Cyber security is one of the most crucially important features in IT services today – we professionals know this. Cyber attacks cost the world a whopping £1.2 trillion last year, and the most common attacks come via email, something that we all use every day.
Find out more about how we can help you with your Cyber security here.
One silver lining to all suddenly being thrown head-first into activating remote workforces, is that IT services have adapted and developed to our needs rapidly. Staying up to date with the latest cutting-edge services and products will help your business to remain ahead of the curb, no matter what challenges you might face (like, a global pandemic for instance!).
Solutions such as Microsoft 365 not only will provide you with engaging ways to communicate with your employees but will also allow you to monitor your devices and data remotely from one secure location (Microsoft Intune). Utilising and backing up to a Cloud environment such as Microsoft Azure will establish confidence and security throughout your workforce, as your employees will be able to easily understand and access all that they need, no matter what.
IT service professionals are primarily focused on ensuring that services and products can be supplied in the most efficient, secure and accessible ways possible.
We understand that each business will have different needs, but technology can really help to focus on the priorities that any successful business requires; creating a healthy & sustainable culture, remaining safe and enabling productivity through providing your employees and clients with everything they need to succeed.