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The pros and cons of a remote workforce

key actions you should take to assure success

remote working pros cons

The lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 forced organisations to shift at scale to tech-driven remote working models – a move that changed the world of work forever.

Fast forward to today, and while some firms are formalising fully remote working practices, others are implementing hybrid working models to give employees greater flexibility about where and when they work.

As organisations prepare to evolve and operationalise their remote work policies, what are the key actions they should take to assure success?

1 Assessing and addressing risk

There are lots of benefits to be gained from enabling employees to work fully remotely on a regular basis or to support hybrid working as a matter of course.

Organisations will need less office space and therefore can make substantial savings on rent and utility costs. Meanwhile, virtual meeting technologies mean spend on business travel and accommodation can be significantly reduced. Finally, remote work enables organisations to hire talent from anywhere in the UK – and beyond.

For all this to work, organisations will need to ensure they have the right protections in place to secure their employees, devices, networks, systems, and data. That includes an education and training programme that keeps remote workers updated on day-to-day security procedures and protocols.

The rising tide of cyber threats means that getting a grip on cybersecurity and embedding security from the get-go is critical for ensuring the dispersed workforce is a secure workforce.

2 Facilitating productivity

Employees that work from home face fewer distractions from colleagues and can focus on work tasks the moment they sit down at their desks. They also have the flexibility to get jobs done at a time of day that works best for them.

But being productive depends on having fast and dependable access to the systems, resources and data they need – the moment they need it. That includes an optimised communications infrastructure that supports everything from video calls to real-time collaboration with no lags or delays.

Initiating a modern workplace solution that boosts the user experience and makes it easy for workers to perform effectively in their roles is just the start. The devices remote employees depend upon also need to be appropriately managed, updated and replaced at a moment’s notice. Plus there needs to a failsafe way to manage the smooth onboarding and enrolment of new and replacement devices, as well as the secure return of kit whenever a remote worker leaves.

3 Supporting a vibrant cross-organisational culture

Enhanced productivity, easier and faster collaboration, and greater worker satisfaction thanks to the ability to work flexible hours. These are all proven benefits that can result from a remote workforce model.

However, when employees work remotely there are fewer opportunities for random or spontaneous conversations between team members or with colleagues working in other functions.

Informal coffee machine meet-ups or desk-cruise-by chats are a thing of the past and this can result to people working in silos with little view or understanding of what co-workers in other departments are up to.

To counter this ‘inward focus’, organisations will need to initiate smart communication policies that leverage today’s communication and collaboration tools to foster the cross-group connectivity, interpersonal relationships, as well as ideas-sharing that lead to more innovative approaches to organisational and business challenges.

Preparing for success

The concept of remote working has come a long way in the past two years. Initially, organisations had to grapple with new tools and technologies as well as updating compliance policies to reflect their new work-from-anywhere programmes.

As organisations prepare for their next phase of remote working, they’ll need to ensure they have strong foundations in place. Whether that’s enforcing appropriate cybersecurity safeguards, mitigating data security risks, or establishing appropriate workflows to support remote work best practices. Or it could be to provide employees with sufficient access to information and data so they can perform effectively and efficiently in their roles.

The good news is that with some clear thinking, combined with the right technology platforms and processes, every organisation can ensure their remote work policy delivers all the pros – and non of the cons.