Navigating the three phases of remote working adoption

(Image: CWSI)

How can businesses implement secure and reliable working-from-home solutions throughout the Coronavirus and beyond? asks CWSI

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11 May 2020 | 0

In association with CWSI

Following the introduction of social distancing measures due to the Coronavirus, a large number of employers and employees in Ireland have adapted, with various degrees of success, to a home working environment. Remote working trials that may have begun as part of a contingency plan are now in full operation as all non-essential workers are required to work from home where possible, with no definite end to the current measures in sight. But how have businesses adapted to the new circumstances? And what are the implications of this virus on the future of work and the security of organisations and their data?

Transforming reactionary steps into a permanent strategy will not only help them better mobilise and prepare for the possibility of further rolling lockdowns, but will also future proof and position them as progressive and forward-looking business.

 

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While Covid-19 has forced most businesses to adjust suddenly; even prior to the Coronavirus outbreak remote work was accelerating. With housing and congestion becoming huge problems in major cities such as Dublin, remote working had emerged as one option which could help alleviate these issues. Staff working either part or full-time from home can greatly reduce their weekly commute and don’t need to live so centrally as to be close to their workplace. 

Furthermore, in the technology sector where the demand for talent has been so competitive, many organisations have already long realised the benefits of embracing collaboration tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. As expectations for flexibility and a good user-experience continue to rise, organisations realised that facilitating remote working was a step that could help to attract and retain emerging talent.

However, all this is not to say that remote working does not come with its own challenges or downsides. In addition to a host of new cyber security risks, enhanced threats and logistical considerations facing businesses, employees themselves face an entirely new work environment and routine when working from home.

These challenges take time to overcome and new routines take time to adjust to. Organisations who have been slowly phasing in remote working stand at a huge advantage to others caught off guard by the outbreak of Covid-19. We are now seeing a forced proof of concept of the technology in many organisations locally and at a global level. This has the potential to dramatically change workstyles into the future and could lead to a profound cultural shift as organisations realise the viability of a full or partial remote working policy.

Yet many companies are still in the very early stages of this journey or perhaps are still unconvinced by the applicability of remote working to them. There is clearly a long way for many to go before remote working becomes anything like the norm. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, organisations have typically progressed through three phases of remote working adoption.

Phase one: Disruption

The impact of Covid-19 on the workplace was unforeseen by most organisations. As such, the first phase for many was an initial scramble to quickly launch and deploy a workable remote working solution. Faced with the prospect of having employees completely cut-off from the company network and entirely unable to carry out their daily work, important elements such as security and compliance may have been neglected in favour of simply establishing a base level of operations.

Employers needs are focused on getting remote workers set up with the basic requirements, while continuing service delivery, conserving cash and bolstering IT support to cope with increased demand. This phase typically comprises the initial two to three week.

Phase two: Exploration

The second phase of remote working adoption is the acceptance that these circumstances will be here for some time and that flexible working is also a concept here to stay. Once over the initial disruption and with a workable remote working solution in place, businesses have more time and freedom to explore how to enable advanced remote working functionality, make temporary solutions more robust and address any security or compliance issues.

Issues are likely to begin to emerge at this point stemming from hastily implemented solutions in phase one. Now is the time businesses need to comprehensively review security, access, productivity and connectivity issues with a view to retrofitting their new working environment in accordance with the business and compliance requirements they had pre-Covid-19.

Phase three: Future proofing

After months of operating on a remote working basis, what initially began as a business continuity plan may now become business as usual for workers. Even as offices begin to reopen, it may be very difficult for employers to revoke the privileges of remote working. While some staff will be keen to return to the office, others may have come to favour working from home and will expect to have the ability to continue to do so at some level.

This is an opportunity for organisations to rethink remote working policies and rewrite business continuity plans. Designing a mature remote working strategy, evaluating and investing in technology, as well as continuing to develop an effective mobile and remote working culture can all pay long-term dividends for employers. Transforming reactionary steps into a permanent strategy will not only help them better mobilise and prepare for the possibility of further rolling lockdowns, but will also future proof and position them as progressive and forward-looking business.

Consistent throughout each of the phases above is an ever-present need to secure the remote environment. In the early stages, organisations may be guilty of compromising on security in the rush to implement a basic workable solution. It is vital that these companies don’t continue to postpone a security review of their environment or they may risk exposing themselves to a data breach. The damage of such a security breach would be greatly compounded in the current crisis and could potentially prove catastrophic for some businesses.

Leveraging the advice of a security expert like CWSI can help organisations safely navigate and overcome the most common remote working challenges. Solutions such as CWSI’s secure productivity in a box, equip staff with a remote device with built-in device control and management as standard. Out of the box secure and productive solutions such as this allow businesses to enable remote working not only quickly, but also securely. From initial device set-up through to developing mature working from home policies and strategies, CWSI provides advice and support to businesses in each phase of their remote working journey.

The Coronavirus has shaken every aspect of modern life and the workplace is no different. However, many businesses are fortunate to be in a place where with some tweaks and pivoting, they can continue to operate, survive and in time even thrive. Investment in the technology and culture that, when the economy returns to something like normal, enables those who wish to work remotely to do so securely and productively, will elevate a business to a true leader in the future of work.

CWSI offers three levels of highly affordable, effective and scalable Secure Productivity bundles to cover your current and evolving remote working needs. For more information visit our web site or contact us at info@cwsi.ie

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