Remote Work – Now and in the Future

Bill SorensonCloud Computing, Financial IT, Healthcare IT, Legal IT

COVID-19 has definitely put pressure on the reliance on remote access and the ability for employees to work remotely. Businesses in every industry are seeing a transition – even if they weren’t before. Some industries are positioned well to take on this new business challenge, but others have been scrambling to get equipment, policies, and systems in place to make this possible.

The transition to remote work, for many organizations, will remain long after the force of COVID-19 is lifted. What was once a “strategic initiative” planned for an 18-36 month rollout became an essential reality for many businesses in the matter of a few weeks. While not ideal, it certainly has been impressive to see organizations across the world make this transition in record time.

For many organizations, the solutions put in place are bandaids – temporary solutions that aren’t meant for the long-haul. The truth is, in the short period that businesses had to make this transition, things were missed, best practices were not followed, and security implications will most certainly have fall out. 

So, let’s take a step back and look at this from the strategic standpoint it deserves and warrants for the security and success of your business.

First, the benefits of remote work:

  • It’s environmentally-friendly. Millions of people across the country are not driving to and from work anymore, saving the world of toxic omissions every single day.
  • Cost-savings. Reports have shown that remote work saves businesses $11,000 per year in productivity, real estate, equipment, etc. That’s a lot of coffees by the water cooler!
  • Increased reliance on effective communication. One myth of remote working is that it kills communication. Studies show the contrary – that remote work actually improves communication because there’s an increased reliance on effective communication.
  • Increased productivity. This was also once a myth of remote work but has since been debunked. Side conversations, office drop-ins, hallway conversations, and distractions are removed when working from home and most businesses see an increase in productivity.
  • Improved job satisfaction. Employees also enjoy the benefits of remote work, citing an increase in job satisfaction. They’re spending more time with their families and less time getting to and from work – allowing for better work/life balance.
  • Attracting a new demographic of workers. It’s no secret that millennials value work flexibility more than generations before them. Remote work offers flexibility that was unavailable to previous generations, and millennials are loving the companies who can offer it.

The benefits of remote work have us wondering…what took us so long to get here?! Well, if you’ve been part of this transition, you know that it’s quite the undertaking. And, unfortunately, since so many businesses were forced into a remote work environment, the strategic set up is less than ideal. There are operational, security, and productivity implications that haven’t been addressed, leaving thousands of businesses at risk for big-time consequences. We’ve had organizations come to Netgain to stabilize their environment, and what we’re seeing is an IT and security nightmare.

With that said, here are our top 4 “don’ts” for making remote work work for your organization:

  • Don’t go it alone. This is a big undertaking. There’s a reason why most organizations plan to roll out their remote work environment over an 18-24 month period – because it’s complex and there’s a lot to plan for. Luckily, there are IT partners who can help you down this path, quickly and securely, to get your team up and running for the long haul.
  • Don’t skimp. Do it right. Engage an expert or team of experts who have experience and expertise in managing workloads remotely. Even if you’ve hustled to put a temporary fix in place to get you here, consider using this time to get a stable, secure, and consistent work environment in place.  
  • Don’t compromise security. We know that you’ve had to do this quicker than you planned, and with fewer resources probably, but please do not put your organization at greater risk by bypassing security best practices – especially if you’re an organization who handles personal health or financial information. The risk of a data breach is huge, and hackers are targeting you now more than ever.
  • Don’t allow your employees to use their personal laptops, notebooks, or tablets to perform essential work duties. A common mistake we’re seeing is companies who are relying on their employees to use personal workstations or devices to conduct their everyday duties. Not only is this a major security risk, but it’s also unfair to employees who may not have the proper equipment. Provide every piece of equipment that your team will need to conduct their job duties – and make sure it’s secure.

This remote work trend has proven benefits and isn’t going away anytime soon; if anything it’ll become more prominent in the next few years as organizations settle in and start seeing the advantages. But, for the sake of your business and its success, be sure you’re doing remote work right. You’ll be glad you did.

If you’d like a remote work expert to review your existing remote infrastructure, contact us at 877-797-4700. We’d be happy to help ensure your organization is positioned for long term success.