Undoubtedly, the business world has experienced an earthshaking cultural shift. Remote workforces are in; minuscule cubicles in cramped offices are out. Many experts believe that the change is permanent. Even if we return to the office post-COVID-19, buildings will be reconfigured, and we may see more touchless fixtures in shared spaces.
Accepting the New Paradigm of Remote Work
A significant part of changing internal business processes is getting used to the idea in the first place. Crises have a way of changing how everyone lives and works. After 9/11, for example, airports adopted more rigorous security processes. And, things have changed again. This time, airlines are adopting new initiatives to ease consumer fears about travel.
At present, remote work is yet another reality to accept. To be sure, it has been facilitated by new advances in IT technology. However, there's another factor to consider. The United Nations projects that there'll be approximately 8.5 billion people living on this planet by 2030 — only a decade away. So, the journey towards a sustainable (and healthy) workforce should be a key goal.
With eight to nine billion people on earth, the effects of viral outbreaks will be even more pronounced. It's for this reason that we think remote working will become a de-facto global standard. Below, we discuss the internal changes organizations must make as they transition to a remote framework.
Leaders Must Clearly Communicate the Shift Towards Remote Work
There are vastly different strategies for reopening in a post-COVID-19 world. Some countries like Sweden never shut down at all, while 49 U.S. states have now implemented phased reopenings. Like many organizations, you may be contemplating a permanent shift to remote work. The number of personnel you assign to remote work will depend upon your business goals. Either way, it's important to communicate any changes clearly.
Upgrade and Strengthen IT Security
As we pointed out in a previous post, the increase in remote workforces has left many organizations vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Since every IT business is unique, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for upgrading and strengthening IT security frameworks. Nevertheless, the fluid pace of change will require both creativity and agility. Whatever your goals, make IT security a top focus.
Provide Employees With Consistent and Valuable Information
Keeping your employees in the loop is critical in easing the stress of any transition. While some people love the solitary nature of remote work, others may revel in daily in-person interactions. Consistent communications may make the switch to remote work easier for your employees.
Invest in Digital Transformation
The importance of digital transformation can't be over-emphasized. Whether it's Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), or Platform as a Service (PaaS), these cloud computing choices are at the forefront of transforming the customer experience in unique ways. To meet new consumer demands, leverage digital transformation as a key feature of your organization's shift to a remote workforce.
Furnish Your Team With Cutting-Edge Communication Apps
Innovative communication apps are a critical component of a pleasant virtual work environment. They facilitate the goal of providing employees consistent and updated information. In addition, they allow teams to build and maintain critical relationships in the professional realm. That said, setting expectations for virtual communications is important.
According to the University of Connecticut:
" [...] professional familiarity plays a significant role in shaping subsequent levels of team success, perhaps because when colleagues know something about each other's careers they know when to weigh in and what to expect from the others on the team."
All things considered, managers should encourage professional rather than mere personal familiarity.
The University of Connecticut maintains that:
"Managers need to make sure virtual teams build strong relationships with one another, specifically knowing the skills, knowledge, and abilities of the team members. When professional familiarity was enhanced, so was the level of work. In contrast, personal familiarity didn't have the same impact."
Besides providing cutting-edge communication apps, offer extra training to get everyone up to speed. This will protect your employees from potentially uncomfortable situations and safeguard your organization from legal liabilities.
Do you need to create a customized, long-term plan for transitioning to a remote workforce? At GRBA, our consultants are focused on your success. For help navigating new changes in your industry, contact us today.