Organizations are viewing the work from home (WFH) model as the best business continuity plan during a global pandemic. However, remote working isn’t a new concept. It has been used by enterprises before to give their employees a flexible and comfortable work environment.
Remote work has increased by 159% since 2005, a testament to the increasing dominance of the model. While it was just a benefit that workers had last year, today, work from home is being viewed as a long-term model for entire enterprises to ensure some semblance of work. This is because workloads need to be handled with as less external human intervention as possible.
It is this sudden, forced change that has placed millions of workers worldwide in an unfamiliar situation; of daily work from home and remote work which cannot just approximate onsite work, but which needs to replicate onsite efficiency and quality. While the WFH model has resolved productivity and has gone some way ahead to ensure the future of organizations, it has also posed some unique challenges for the end users.
The Personal in our Personnel
COVID-19 has necessitated the shift to technological means of working and all that it comprises, including collaboration, technical support, data access, and the actual, physical workplace. While this has ushered in a few conveniences, such coerced work from home and remote working leads to greater solitude and lesser engagement. Interacting with team members, let alone business clients, takes more effort and may not lead to the same enthusiasm or activity as usual. Isolation is important but this isn’t regular remote working. This same isolation can reduce opportunities for meaningful interaction and acquired learning.
Remote working also implies that most workers use personal devices. In a BYOD-dominant scenario at such a scale worldwide, it is imperative that adequate preparation is taken against potential security risks. For a BYOD-dominant scenario, personal devices do not typically possess stringent security protocols and standards that are required to safeguard a company’s data. Non-company-owned devices will also lack a kiosk lockdown mode that can ensure that the devices are used for work purposes alone which leads to an effective use of time.
Homes also have distractions in the form of chores and care. This can also lead to mismanagement of time and blurred boundaries of working hours. When transitioning to a remote setup, the lack of clear guidelines and boundaries can adversely impact employees as they wouldn’t be sure about the amount of work they undertake and the amount of time they have for the same. These factors can result in a motivational crisis, which, while affecting delivery quality, also impacts morale and productivity.
Not considering the number of hours spent in the office as a KPI is certainly welcome but remote working does offer up the challenge of tracking employee performance effectively. There is a lack of suitable metrics that can act as proper substitutes for any of their in-office counterparts. While they exist, putting them in practice requires robust tools not employed by most organizations.
Making the Most of Digital
With digital technologies paving the way forward for the new norm, it is in these technologies that we can find ways to resolve these challenges. This is where HCL Digital Workplace Services comes to the fore, backed by decades of high-level engagement experience and pioneering engineering.
Changes need to be made at the leadership level, with strict and transparent work policies. Boundaries can be created with the help of time-tracking software tools. In addition, HCL also provisions a tool-based collaboration index, which can evaluate customer experience in real time, and custom-build applications, workflows, and bots, that can augment performance tracking, monitoring, and evaluation in digital workspaces.
Next-generation management solutions can offer instant IT support and automated ticket resolution to reduce downtime and help maintain normal work schedules. Cognitive AI-enabled assistance can offer predictive support for greater efficiency as well. Secure data access can be enabled by robust, encrypted platforms which can create virtual environments removed from external devices. Fully managed digital workspaces, seamless OS migrations, and interactive walk-in zones, that form some of the many HCL Fluid Workplace offerings around virtual workspaces, remote collaboration, and adaptive security can help bring the office to your home as well.
Solving Problems in Digital and Beyond
Intricately designed digital tools and solutions for virtual workspaces go a long way toward solving the challenges faced by employees all over the globe. However, the right leadership approach is vital to ensuring that practices are tweaked to adjust to the remote structure in a way that makes work accessible and convenient for all.
In times of global disruption, HCL’s particular yet wide-ranging expertise can help your organization not just create adaptive, connected and scalable Fluid Workplace of the future, but also help your present workplace adapt to the demands of the ‘New Normal’.