As the world settles into a “new normal” with COVID, businesses around the world are considering what that means for them in terms of remote workforce management. Two years ago, millions of people in the United States left the office to work from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies scrambled to manage the technical aspects of employees working from home: how to ensure security and reliability to resources and data, how to manage personal devices and computers, and how to keep everyone connected and productive. As a result, many organizations moved to virtual desktops, either managing the transition internally or with a desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) partner.
This year, businesses that have made the initial transition to a remote workforce and investment in supporting technologies will not only need to refine what this means for different groups of employees but will also begin to reap the rewards.
Now that most companies are past the initial “how do we connect and work remotely?” question, it’s time for organizations to refine their remote workforce management processes to include optimizing technology and workflow for specific segments of employees. Here are common scenarios:
- Odd-Hour Employee. Whether it’s to manage family responsibilities, pursue personal hobbies, or conform to individual productivity levels, many employees may not be working primarily business hours. To accommodate these team members, companies must provide 24/7 access to files and data in a secure manner. Platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex are critical to help them stay visible and available for communications during regular hours as well.
- Traveling Team Member. Staying in touch while on the road can be a challenge for employees in sales, field service, or other out-of-the-office roles. While more and more areas are offering internet connectivity, businesses must ensure that mobile devices can work effectively and securely offline, syncing as soon as service is available. Being able to access data, file, and communications, as well as having the ability to respond while traveling, is critical to this group of employees.
- Hybrid Worker. For many businesses, a hybrid, flexible schedule may work best where employees work at the office a few days a week with the remaining days remote. This can improve productivity especially if long commutes are involved. Providing secure access to applications, software, and files to this group of employees, whether they are sitting at their office desk, connecting while on a train, stuck in traffic, or working from home, will be critical.
- Overseas Colleague. More and more organizations are hiring experts from different countries to add diversity, rare skill sets, and entry points to global markets. When geographical distances are great, businesses must ensure strong connectivity as well as reduced latency, especially for things like video calls and meetings. Time differences become a major challenge and providing 24/7 access in a secure fashion will be needed to maintain productivity across this group of employees.
- Industry Expert. In some cases, companies may want to hire consultants or other industry experts on a part-time basis to assist with a specific need or challenge. Although this segment may not be formal employees, they will require limited, secure, and ready access to certain files and applications to be able to provide the advice and direction businesses want.
Benefits of a Remote Workforce
As companies settle into remote worker management as part of their status quo, they will begin seeing significant benefits to this arrangement from a business perspective. A remote workforce can help organizations combat labor issues, expand into global markets, improve retention of top talent, and scale human resources up or down as needed. Here are more specifics:
First, the remote workforce broadens the talent pool for many organizations during The Great Resignation and helps address the labor shortages that are plaguing just about every industry. If employees can work from anywhere, the barriers to hiring, such as geographical preferences, willingness to relocate, and work-life balance issues, are removed. The playing field is leveled for small, medium, and large organizations in terms of seeking the best and the brightest.
As long as an area offers internet connectivity, businesses can tap employees that reside there, making it easier to find unique skill sets, needed expertise, and the top candidates in just about any market.
Second, this capability allows easier expansion into new markets, particularly overseas. Hiring experts in those geographic areas can not only give a company a local presence but provide insight into cultural, economic, and societal norms that can be invaluable in sales and marketing to a new target audience.
Third, a remote workforce helps businesses improve employee retention, providing valuable employees with the flexibility to work where, when, and how much they prefer. For those that have grown up in the technology era, freedom to pursue a variety of life interests and goals means that work and career is only one part of a balanced and fulfilling existence. Staying in touch with employees about their priorities will help companies determine whether remote work arrangements are a valued benefit.
And, finally, supporting a virtual team means easier scalability during periods of growth. Relying on a remote workforce allows companies to add new team members quickly and easily by simply granting permissions and access to data, operating systems, applications, and software. There’s no need for expansion of physical space, relocating to a larger office building, or all the operational and capital expenses related to those efforts. This is also important for businesses that may have peak periods of high demand or seasonal products and services. Onboarding extra help when needed is fast and efficient, and ending temporary contracts is a matter of rescinding permissions and privileges.
Evolve IP partners with IT professionals to make the future of work better by seamlessly integrating their essential productivity tools into a single, secure solution, fine-tuned for the remote workforce. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you to successfully manage a remote workforce.