The enterprise cybersphere is abuzz with cool phrases such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and work-life integration (work-life balance is so old-school – damn that movie “Old School” was hilarious – almost as funny as “Spy,” “The Other Guys,” “Logan Lucky,” and “Let’s Be Cops”). All these concepts try their best to represent the modern workplace as a decentralized and boundary-less phenomena. However, the truth is that in most enterprises, employees still find it difficult to be able to plug in to work when they’re not in the office physically. Forget being able to log in to systems from their homes, employees can even feel disconnected working from a workstation different from their own! A recent Gallup survey showcased how 43 percent Americans said they worked from their homes for at least some time in 2016. Remote work is a reality; it’s just that remote work is often compromised and constricted because of the accessibility issues faced by workers.
Still, it beats dealing with traffic and dealing with certain employees, but this is another topic!
In this guide, we’ll explore options that enterprises can use and make sure their employees are able to work remotely, maintaining quality and agility as if they were right there in the office.
Videoconferencing: Improve accountability and communications
In spite of the obvious benefits of letting employees work from their homes frequently, enterprises are often unwilling to endorse this in policy. That’s primarily because it’s easy for employees to misuse the flexibility, and pretty difficult for managers and supervisors to ensure that employees continue to deliver quality work in a timely manner while working remotely.
Video conferencing is a very potent solution. In fact, several companies use always-on video conferencing to make sure that geographically separated teams and individuals can just look up to their webcams and see who's doing what on the other side. That could motivate some people to want to come to work, though — you get more privacy at work!
Cisco’s Spark Board, Microsoft’s Skype, and Google’s Meet help you leverage the power of high-definition videoconferencing from laptops, desktops, and smartphones. The face-to-face aspect of communication in this manner helps individuals stay connected and cognizant of the contexts in which interactions take place.
Virtualization: A remote work solution for app-heavy enterprises
Workplace mobility and remote work are drivers of agility for enterprises. No wonder, then, that companies are seeking ways to deliver secure mission-critical application access to their workforces.
Virtualization has proven to be a very effective and scalable strategy for companies to make their critical applications accessible for remote work, without issues of data leakage and integrity violations. Irrespective of the variety of user devices, operating systems, and the applications to be used, virtualization helps enterprises make an entire gamut of apps available for uninterrupted and unrestricted access remotely.
Microsoft, VMWare, Citrix, and Workspot are the leaders in the virtualization game, offering exciting new ways for enterprises to make client applications and environments available to endpoints beyond enterprise network boundaries. Because these digital assets are centrally managed, virtualization proves to be scalable, affordable, reliable, and secure — everything an enterprise needs while delivering critical apps access remotely.
Document sharing to drive collaboration
Word documents, presentations, MS Excel dashboards, and projects of any type — everything requires collaboration to drive team productivity. Document sharing and collaborating solutions, in such scenarios, prove to be the lifeblood for enterprises looking to enable a remotely connected workforce. Google’s G-Suite is a no-brainer, of course; there are other solutions such as Microsoft’s Office 365, along with Dropbox.
These suites and solutions help teams easily create and share documents of any formats, and even support collaboration, with easy and intuitive options to add comments and conduct reviews. With mobile apps, these tools drive productivities a notch higher.
Chat apps: Enabling agility in knowledge-driven teams
More enterprise work is being done and delivered by teams, rather than individuals.
For companies with knowledge-driven teams, chat apps can prove to be a massive enabler of agility in remote work. Cisco Spark, Microsoft Teams, Google Chat, Slack — these are just a few of the chat apps that are already being successfully leveraged by teams in modern enterprises to keep members connected, even when some of them are working out of office.
Instant mobile notifications, options to quickly respond, ease of reading and responding to messages, advanced features such as video calls and document sharing — all these make chat apps useful for teams. Chat apps are seen as tremendous enablers of collaboration among teammates.
Remote work and remote control: VPNs and firewalls
Before you secure a handsome budget for mobility management and endpoint security solutions for your teams, it’s a sagacious option to work with virtual private networks and firewalls to enable remote connectivity without compromising on data security and privacy.
Virtual desktops are the preferred method for a plethora of companies to enable remote access for mission-critical applications. By implementing strict controls over remotely available applications, enterprises can strike the right balance between accessibility and safety. For instance, “good to have” features can be deactivated if employees can get the job done even without these functionalities (such as screen sharing, printing, and batch processing).
From restricting copying and pasting of data to restricting access rights based on user roles, VPNs and firewalls help companies implement any level of control over remote work.
Upgrade your management skills
New types of managerial skills are needed to make remote work a sustainable possibility for any enterprise. The two pillars of making this work are:
- Regular and proactive communications: When employees know they’ll have someone attempting a dialog with them within the hour, they’ll not even think of misusing the flexibility of being able to work from home.
- Measure productivity: It takes time, but it’s important for managers to measure and discuss productivity metrics for employees working remotely, so that they know when something’s amiss.
Also, remote work’s sustainability depends to a great extent on the company’s ability to identify the best work methods for the different categories of work required within departments and teams.
Doing your home work
“Work from anywhere” — that’s what the modern workplace wants to be able to promise. A company or organization that says they are up to date should not be against someone who wants to work from their home. That type of restriction is a 20th century employee strategy – it is simply out of touch now.