How Executives Can Prepare for Long-Term Distributed Work

Some business shifts happen suddenly. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent government stay-at-home directives forced organizations across the globe to make a rapid transition to remote work. Keeping employees connected and productive as they worked from home was an imperative for sustaining business continuity.

Many organizations succeeded. They quickly implemented new technologies and processes that helped address immediate challenges, allowing employees to effectively communicate, collaborate and complete tasks without setting foot in corporate offices.

This sudden workforce change of 2020 could be a catalyst for a long-term transformation that benefits both organizations and their employees. By building a robust distributed work model, organizations can recruit new employees from a wider geographic pool, help facilitate a better work/life balance for employees, and potentially reduce office real estate costs.

Neither organizations nor their employees are eager to return to “business as usual.” According to a recent VMware survey, 61 percent of respondents agree that their organisation is experiencing the benefits of remote work and can’t return to how things were before. Approximately 90 percent of respondents agree that it is an employer’s responsibility to ensure employees can access the digital tools they need for remote work.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace includes the tools your organization needs to empower a distributed workforce. By implementing digital work spaces, high-performance remote access, united endpoint management and intrinsic security from VMware, you can create a true “work-from-anywhere” organization.

Facing the challenges of sustaining distributed work

The distributed-work model thrust upon us in 2020 offers important opportunities for businesses and their employees. But to maintain the success of distributed work for the long term, your organization will likely have to address several key challenges.

Operational complexity. Too many organizations piece together their distributed-work strategy, adopting multiple point solutions from different vendors. Attempts to integrate those solutions are not always successful. As a result, administrators are left with multiple tools and siloed teams. You need ways to unify endpoint management, simplifying administration even as you support a growing variety of device types and platforms.

Implementing scalable solutions will be key. Existing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), digital workspace and security solutions might have allowed employees to start working from home quickly during the pandemic or another period of business disruption. But can those solutions scale for the long term, as a growing number of employees expect seamless remote-work experiences? If your solutions can’t scale, distributed workers could be plagued with productivity-sapping availability issues while IT administrators become overwhelmed with complexity.

Fragmented security. As you implement and expand your distributed-workforce strategy, security must be a top priority. Look beyond traditional, perimeter-based security models. With remote employees frequently using personal devices to access apps and data, far away from company offices, you need to protect a significantly expanded attack surface.

Your organization might have relaxed security policies when stay-at-home directives were first issued. But you now need solutions that extend security policies to new endpoints scattered across a broad array of locations. And you need sufficient visibility into all of your distributed apps, data, devices and networks so you can identify threats from wherever they emerge.

Adding individual point solutions introduces both complexity and risk. Many organizations struggle to manage numerous distinct products, agents and interfaces. Beyond creating administrative complexity, this kind of fragmented approach leaves gaps that hackers will be eager to exploit. Your organization needs a singular, integrated approach to security that safeguards all assets and streamlines management—without negatively affecting user productivity.

Sub-optimal user experience. For many organizations, the pandemic did not halt hiring. Yet on boarding distributed employees can be slow and frustrating for new hires. You need ways to speed the on boarding process without requiring people to be physically present at headquarters. For employees to be productive on day one, your IT group must be able to give them secure, frictionless access to essential apps and data.

Once employees are ready to work, many need ways to overcome challenging home Wi-Fi networks. Poor network connectivity and slow virtual private network performance can seriously hamper distributed-work productivity. To make sure employees can continue to get their work done, wherever they are located, you need to provide performance and bandwidth at levels that at least approach what employees experience at the company office.

Adapting to new ways of working with the VMware Anywhere Workspace

To help organizations navigate immediate challenges and prepare for the future, VMware has created the VMware Anywhere Workspace. This integrated solution can help your organization overcome pressing remote-work obstacles and maximize benefits well into the future. You can embrace a sustainable distributed work strategy through a secure, scalable and unified digital infrastructure.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace addresses the challenges of distributed work by enabling you to automate the workspace, secure the edge, and deliver high-quality, multi-modal experiences.

Automate the workspace. The VMware Anywhere Workspace helps simplify operations and centralize endpoint management by automating the workspace. VMware Workspace ONE digital workspaces, for example, help remove complexities with automated enrollment across all platforms.

Over-the-air management helps ensure that your IT group can reach every endpoint with policies, patches and updates. Intelligence-driven, management for Windows 10 devices streamlines processes while avoiding infrastructure costs. In addition, VMware Edge Network Intelligence provides IT with actionable and automated insights on network health and app delivery. Your administrators can concentrate on defining and delivering a consistent workspace experience.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace can be scaled rapidly so your organisation can accommodate a short-term influx in remote workers or prepare for long-term expansion of the remote-work model. With the VMware Horizon VDI solution, you can take advantage of hybrid- and multi-cloud deployment models to scale users. A single cloud console lets you reduce management complexity.

Secure the edge. The VMware Anywhere Workspace enables you to safeguard remote endpoints and data, shrinking your attack surface while unifying security. For example, VMware Carbon Black Cloud is a cloud-native platform that provides layered endpoint protection backed by machine learning and behavior analytics to thwart malware attacks. You can also adopt the VMware SASE Platform, an integrated secure access service edge (SASE) solution that combines the power of software-defined WAN gateways, Zero Trust secure access, secure web gateways, cloud security access brokers and next-generation firewalls.

Deliver high-quality, multi-modal experiences. The VMware Anywhere Workspace puts employees first by accelerating on boarding and providing consistent, high-quality experiences across personal and company-owned devices. Distributed workers have everything they need on day one. Using the Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub, employees have immediate access to a full set of business applications through a single sign-on process, whether they are using a personally owned or company-owned device. Zero Trust capabilities help ensure that only authorized people are granted access to apps. Self-serve resources and notifications help workers stay engaged and supported.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace also helps overcome the networking limitations of remote work. VMware SD-WAN gives remote workers the reliable remote access and robust performance they need for using critical business applications when working from home. It also helps safeguard network traffic while giving IT a choice of using built-in firewall capabilities, deploying security software as a virtual network function, or directing traffic to a third-party cloud-based firewall-as-a-service solution.

Preparing for a future of more flexible work

VMware is in a unique position to provide an integrated solution to holistically address the challenges of distributed work. By bringing together digital work spaces, high-performance edge networking, unified endpoint management and intrinsic security, the VMware Anywhere Workspace enables you to adapt to the present and prepare for the future of distributed work. You can scale to support a growing distributed workforce and maximize employee productivity while maintaining robust security.

By VMware

Source: How Executives Can Prepare for Long-Term Distributed Work

.

Read More

Top 5 Courses for Improving Your Motivational Skills

How Managers Can Cause Low Employee Morale

Low Turnover, Engaged Teams, Quality 1:1s – How Mike Pretlove of Campaigntrack Benefited from Lighthouse

4 Don Miguel Ruiz Quotes from “The Four Agreements” Leaders Must Learn

13 Things You Didn’t Plan for When You Started Hiring Remote Employees

The Benefits of Remote Work

The Challenges of Managing Remote Teams

Essential Tips for Managing Remote Employees

Keys for Working from Home During Coronavirus

Tips for Motivating Remote Teams

How to Identify Good Remote Employees

Additional Resources & Further Reading

Further reading

If you’re getting started with managing remote employees, be sure to check out our master guide: 13 Things You Didn’t Plan for When Hiring Remote Employees

Also, be sure to check out: 5 Things You Didn’t Expect When Managing Remote Teams (and what to do about it)

How to be productive while working remotely: How to Work Remotely Like a Pro: Advice from an Expert

Avoid these remote management mistakes:

5 Common Mistakes Managers Make with Remote Workers

The 5 Major Pitfalls of Managing a Partially Remote Team

Additional how-tos specifically for remote workers:

How to Build Rapport with Your Remote Team Members

3 Keys to Helping Your Team Transition to Remote Work Well

31 Questions to Ask Remote Employees to Better Support Them

Remote work: How to lead your team effectively as more work remotely

How to Do Layoffs (Even If You Have to Do them Remotely)

Why You Should Start Building Distributed Teams

Remote Work: 5 Things Every Business Needs To Know

remote-worker.jpg

Once upon a time, remote work was something only tech startups considered to be an option for staff members scattered across the globe. Then a pandemic struck, forcing businesses everywhere to reconsider the possibility that allowing employees to work from home might be the only way to keep the company from failing. 

Special Report: Working from home: How to get remote work right (free PDF)

This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet / TechRepublic special feature, helps enterprises and SMBs alike navigate the technical and management challenges of a remote workforce.

Read More

According to a TechRepublic survey, 61% of businesses have gone out of their way to make remote work possible for most employees. That’s not a blip on the radar. Given that an overwhelming majority of respondents (61%) would rather work from home than in an office, it’s safe to say the remote work option is here to stay.

For employees, it’s a change in routine and locale, but for businesses, it’s much more than that — every company has far more to consider. Let’s dive into five considerations that your company must understand for a smooth and productive work-from-home experience.

SEE: Speed up your home office: How to optimize your network for remote work and learning (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Remote office tools

No matter where your employees work, they need the right tools. When those employees are working in the office, you provide them with everything necessary to get the job done: Computers, printers, mobile devices, desks, chairs, network devices, software, white boards, and more. If you believe employees working from home should be on their own for equipment, you’re doing remote work wrong.

If you’re not willing to directly pay for the tools your employees need, you should at least consider allowing them to expense those costs. But all purchases must be approved — otherwise, you’ll wind up with employees buying extravagant chairs and laptops.

According to our survey, 56% of respondents said that their company had done a poor job of supplying the necessary hardware (computers, printers, and so on) and 52% of respondents said their company had done a poor job supplying them with the necessary office equipment (desks, chairs, etc.) to work remotely. Unless this improves, staff will either be incapable of doing their jobs with any level of productivity (at best) or they’ll burn out and quit (at worst).

At a bare minimum, your company should supply remote workers with:

  • A computer or laptop for work only
  • A printer (if needed)
  • All software necessary to do their jobs
  • A VPN (if security is a concern)

Managing burnout

Burnout is a serious issue with employees who are not accustomed to working from home. Why does this happen? The biggest reason is the inability to separate work from home. When this happens, the lines blur so much that employees can begin to feel as though they’re working 24/7/365. On top of that, people no longer get a much-needed break from family life. That one-two punch makes burnout happen faster and on a more profound level.

How do you manage this? The most important thing you can do is keep the lines of communication open. You’ll need to have someone (or multiple people) on hand to talk to staff in order to help them through these periods.

You’ll need to educate your staff to:

  • Create a routine such as scheduled work times that clearly define ‘work time’ and ‘home time’.
  • Set boundaries like, “When the office door is closed, I’m at work.”
  • Communicate with family — make sure your employees are doing a good job of communicating with their loved ones.
  • Practice self-care. Your employees will need, on some level, to learn how to take care of themselves to avoid stress.
  • Understand priorities so your staff always know what work takes priority and what work can be put off.

According to our survey, 78% of respondents indicated they were working from home five days a week. If those staff members don’t work smart, they’ll suffer burnout fast. Feeling like you’re ‘in the office’ day in and day out can be exhausting. To that end, you’ll need to consider allowing staff to work a flexible schedule.

Managing a flexible schedule

This one is a challenge for most businesses because nearly every company works on the assumption that business hours are universal. There’s a reason why Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” resonates so well with a majority of the population around the world.

However, with remote workers, the idea of a set work schedule needs to be thrown out the door. You must remember that people are working at home, which can throw a major wrench in the works. What am I talking about?

  • Tending to children who aren’t in school
  • The possibility of burnout
  • Family responsibilities
  • Less reliable networks
  • Equipment failure

The single most important thing to consider is that your employees do prefer to work from home, and can be even more productive working in that comfortable environment. But that improved productivity might come with a price for your company in the form of allowing for flexible schedules.

Remember: As long as work is getting done in a timely fashion, it shouldn’t matter when it’s getting done.

Security is key

One thing your business must consider is security, and how to help your remote workers do their jobs without compromising company data. This might mean you’ll need to purchase enterprise-class VPN services for those who must transmit sensitive data from their home networks. Those employees who deal with very sensitive data might also need to be trained on how to use encryption.

Another issue that must be addressed is passwords. You probably have password policies in place for office-based staff, but you can’t enforce those policies on their home networks, which means you’ll need to train your remote workers to change all network passwords (such as those for wireless routers) to be strong and unique. Even if you also have to get those employees up to speed on using a password manager (which they should anyway), this cannot be stressed enough.

SEE: How to manage passwords: Best practices and security tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

KPIs to monitor

You need to know which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor, and I suggest these KPIs as a good starting point.

  • Self-discipline: An employee’s ability to work independently.
  • Effective communication: An employee’s ability to communicate effectively and efficiently with teams and clients.
  • Learning skills: An employee’s ability to not just follow a known instruction set, but also to learn new things efficiently.
  • Remote vs. local tasks: Are there tasks that can or cannot be performed remotely? You must know the difference.
  • Accountability: Employees must learn to hold themselves accountable to get their tasks done with less supervision.
  • Self-discipline: Employees must be capable of staying on-task with less supervision.
  • Collaboration: Employees must be capable of working with other teammates efficiently via video/audio chat and email.
  • Availability: Managers must be available to discuss work-related matters during business hours. Although employees might work a flexible schedule, they must also be available during business hours.

Conclusion

Your company’s transition from a standard work environment to a full remote or hybrid (remote and in-house) environment doesn’t have to be a challenge. Given that nearly every business across the globe has been practically forced into this new world order, the hard part is already taken care of. With just a bit of extra planning and work, you can make this new reality not only seamless but even more productive.

Jack Wallen

 

By

Source: Remote work: 5 things every business needs to know | ZDNet

.

.

Also see

 

The Four Hidden Dangers Of Long-Term Remote Work (That Almost Nobody’s Talking About Yet)

Working from home during lockdown

OK, so we’ve got this remote work thing down pat, right? Technically, yes. We’re Zoom or Microsoft Teams wizards, we’re used to (and actually good at) dealing with transmission delays and frozen screens, and we’re adjusting to time zone warp: being in New Jersey but on a call at 11:30 PM with your late-working California team. They’re all eating take-out dinners during the call (cute) and all you’d like to do is get to sleep because you have a 5:30 AM call with London tomorrow – and you’re one of the presenters, no less.

But that’s life these days and it’s all cool, right? Not so fast.

The part of the iceberg we can see

In this writer’s judgment, discussions about the pros and cons of remote work have lacked depth, and have been based, mostly, on our knee-jerk reactions to the events and developments of a mere eleven months. Consequently, we’ve also given short shrift to the long view. We’ve done well, all in all, playing the cards we were dealt, but this is a longer game. Discussions about technology and scheduling, although compelling, are surface issues; they’re the 10 percent of the iceberg we can see.

How we solve problems

Business is one gigantic, never-ending experiment in solving problems or – for a more positive spin – seizing opportunities. They’re one and the same, as problems are nothing more than opportunities poorly dressed. How, though, do we actually solve problems?

According to extensive structured research projects by University of Illinois at Chicago’s Associate Professor Emeritus of Managerial Studies Dr. Robert Cooke, a renowned expert in organizational culture and CEO of Chicago-based Human Synergistics International, virtual teams do not perform as well as face-to-face teams in solving problems.

Cooke explains that we use two processes: the rational and the interpersonal. Although we saw “heroic problem solving early in the pandemic,” as Cooke observed, virtuality “is not an automatic solution to either rational or interpersonal problem solving.” Data indicated that when it comes to depending on remote work, some groups just got it and some just didn’t, making adaptability an issue.

Cooke’s model of organizational culture reveals three types of behavior, whether individual, team, or organization: aggressive/defensive (marked by internal competitiveness, power grabbing, and opposition), passive/defensive (including avoidance, need for approval, and conventional thinking), and constructive (achievement orientation, encouragement, and affiliation). Among other observations, the distance of virtuality makes it easier to extend the two non-constructive cultures’ behavioral norms.

In short, says Cooke, “We’re seeing the electronic disintegration of the interpersonal process.” There’s danger number one.

What makes for a good job? Design!

Just as there’s a world of difference between the instructional design of in-person or distance learning, there is as great a difference in designing on-site or virtual jobs. We’ve long since learned that we can’t take a traditional classroom course (or degree, for that matter), plop it on a server, and expect the same result. Same challenge with designing jobs.

Job design considers technical and organizational requirements as well as social and personal requirements of the worker. Dr. Cooke referred to Hackman and Oldham’s job characteristic theory (1976) stating that work should engender three critical psychological states in individuals: deriving meaning, feeling responsibility for outcomes, and understanding the results of their work.

As a result, the theory proposes, employees’ intrinsic motivation will be enhanced, job satisfaction will grow, quality of work will improve, and turnover will fall. This is not to say that successful job design is possible only in in-person settings. It does, though, point forcefully to the difference in design and the perils of not dealing with that difference.

There’s danger number two.

Mental and physical health issues

           Two mental health counselors and one medical doctor (all of whom requested anonymity due to sensitive, private nature of their work) agree that long-term virtual work could have multiple deleterious health effects on anyone. Apparently, says one, “We’re already seeing too much of it to ignore.”

On the mental health side, feelings of isolation lead to depression. Being alone day after day tends to intensify the feeling of aloneness, while in a constructive in-person environment, there could well be a support structure in place. Stigma-free organizations could decide to create a mental health counselor position, perhaps.

Regarding physical health, problems like eye strain (eight, ten hours a day on the screen), poor posture while sitting too long, inactivity, and proximity to the refrigerator and snack drawer (really!) are more than theoretical threats.

There’s danger number three.

Stop thinking? Or stop and think?

Chris Brune, retired knowledge manager and business researcher, offers this observation: “When something becomes possible, it becomes expected.”

And there’s danger number four.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

With 50 years’ experience in diversified international business, I am a well-established, prolific journalist, having authored nearly 2,000 articles on job market, workplace, and leadership issues since 2003. I founded my executive career coaching practice, Amdur Coaching and Advisory Group in 1997, serving thousands of individual and corporate clients across 25 industries in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. I have worked for two global office electronics giants, held a directorship in a French-led global affiliate network, and began two start-ups. At Fairleigh Dickinson University I taught leadership courses (MBA, MAS) for 15 years, was Executive-in-Residence in the Center for Healthcare Management Studies, and co-founded the Institute for Life Sciences Leadership.

Source: The Four Hidden Dangers Of Long-Term Remote Work (That Almost Nobody’s Talking About Yet)

.

.

For anyone that works, commuting might just be the worst part of the day. So with WFH and less time commuting, could we see a drastic change in the cities we live in? #WFH #FutureOfWork #BloombergQuicktake ——– Like this video? Subscribe: http://www.youtube.com/Bloomberg?sub_…
.
More Contents:
How A Web Application Could Help Your Business Overcome Remote Working Challenges| The Digital Gene Blog
[…] How can web applications help remote working problems?     Problem – ‘We’re still a paper heavy business even though all our team are all working fro […]
1
How to introduce remote working tools
[…] Tried this yourself? We’d love to hear about your human-centred approaches to solving your remote working problems […]
1
Solid Rules in Fluid Workspaces: Boosting Productivity while Working Remotely
[…] easier to address them! Here are a few of our tried and tested ways to combat the more common remote working problems and create solid productivity ground rules for you and your team […]
0
Top 5 Wireless Earbuds For Remote Working | Work In My Pajamas
workinmypajamas.com – December 4, 2020
[…] Wireless earbuds are an ideal solution to help you get rid of all your remote working problems […]
1
Solving Remote Working Problems For Designers – Renting a Modular Office
webdesignledger.com – October 1, 2020
This year has brought about a lot of changes for all of us, but specifically us designers. Luckily and thankfully, we all work jobs that give us the privilege of working from home. And although working from home is a privilege, that doesn’t mean that remote work won’t come with its fair share of…
1
How Sparx* Successfully Implemented A Crash Course on Remote Working | virtuos
http://www.sparx.com – June 29, 2020
[…] Implementing Remote Working: Problems and Solutions There were three distinct issues that were encountered throughout the planning […]
1
A Changing World Requires a Changing View of Security
blog.radware.com – June 25, 2020
In the last few months, IT teams have delivered more solutions to remote working problems than ever before […]
3
Slack – Tips and Tricks
http://www.globalmacit.com – June 24, 2020
[…] By applying the right technological solution to your remote working problems, overcoming those hurdles becomes far easier to achieve […]
N/A
Small businesses’ top technology challenges with remote working
[…] Cisco and he’s here to share with us some practical strategies which will help you move past these remote working problems and get back to what you do best […]
13
Covid 19 situation provides important lessons on dealing with future large-scale crises: Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO, Acer India
http://www.expresscomputer.in – April 20, 2020
[…] Here are few key challenges one might face during remote working. Problems with technology may not get resolved as quickly as they would in the office and can make i […]
1
#HackRemote Event Accessibility Associated with Remote Work
irishtechnews.ie – March 24, 2020
[…] Hack is teaming up with Thunkable to create #HackRemote event to design tech based solutions for remote working problems […]
1
Best remote work equipment in 2020
amontalenti.com – March 22, 2020
[…] Here, I have some recommendations for Mac OS X software you can use for a number of common remote working problems […]
1
50 days with coronavirus: the story so far for UK utilities
utilityweek.co.uk – March 20, 2020
[…] Challenges for companies to get to grips with during this surreal period range from overcoming remote working problems for employees, to understanding impacts on important planned maintenance regimes for infrastructure […]
3
#HackRemote , virtual hackathon solving issues around remote work Tickets, Tue 31 Mar 2020 at 09:30
http://www.eventbrite.ie – March 2, 2020
[…] Hack is teaming up with Thunkable to create #HackRemote an event to design tech based solutions for remote working problems […]
2
Top 50 Barcelona WiFi Cafes of 2018
akommo.com – September 28, 2018
[…] Black Remedy – The Remedy for Your Remote Working Problems – The Gothic Carrer de la Ciutat, 5 – Monday to Friday 9AM – 7PM, Saturday and Sunday 10AM – 7PM […]
4
Bringing Your Remote Workforce Into the Fold
http://www.cmswire.com – August 27, 2018
[…] it’s worth noting that there are other solutions like finding managers that deal specifically with remote working problems […]
%d bloggers like this: