Many companies have pivoted to anywhere operations to establish business continuity during the pandemic. According to Gartner, anywhere operations provide the necessary systems, tools, and IT services that support employees located anywhere to serve a company’s customers everywhere. By 2023, approximately 40% of businesses will have adopted this new operational framework. While many industries appear to have adjusted to the work-from-anywhere model, we should consider several challenges that may arise with this mass shift and the best solutions in each case.
Let's consider the top remote work challenges and their solutions:
1. Risks of BYOD
Most businesses have considered the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model for various reasons, including the assumption that it’s more cost-effective for your company and more convenient for your employees to use their preferred devices. However, this cost-saving view is only possible if we assume there are zero security risks associated with BYOD.
In practice, whenever the employee is the one providing the operating system and apps, usually at a lower function tier than is appropriate for the company, deployment of security agents and policies is never 100% carried out. Thus, it only takes one unsecured laptop to give an attacker a foothold inside your network.
Pro-Tip: Whenever an employee chooses their preferred workstation, they often lean towards consumer-grade devices that under-perform and come loaded with junk software that is a pain to remove. This is why we always recommend equipping your staff with standardized business-grade laptops intended for durable use during a 40+ hour week. When your staff is equipped with a computer that is designed to perform business functions and tuned with the proper controls to secure your network, the cost is more than made up for by the increased productivity.
Check out our article on Creating a Media Disposal Policy for Remote Workers.
2. Internet Issues and Power Outages
Your teams may face internet connectivity issues and other tech challenges that they will need to resolve. You can support your employees by offering standard guidelines on approved IT equipment, Wi-Fi specifications, preferred browsers, select software and IT services for task completion, and other requirements. You can also empower your staff with contingency directives for when the internet or power goes out to ensure that they have tasks to remain productive despite connectivity disruptions.
Pro-Tip: Equip your employees with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). A UPS is a battery backup that provides technology equipment with a temporary power source. It will provide your employees with the critical time to react to any electrical disruption, while minimizing data loss and equipment damage.
3. Maintaining Cybersecurity Protocols
It’s essential to secure your company’s digital assets and customers’ personal information. You can arrange for employees to access your internal network via a VPN connection. Also, your management and staff must maintain IT security even outside of your company’s VPN. Investing in cybersecurity protocols (such as training and secure Wi-Fi usage) will help mitigate the risk of a cyber attack.
Here are a few tips we've recently shared to build a strong cybersecurity culture:
- Zero Cost Security Improvements to Protect Your Business
- How to Eliminate RDP Vulnerabilities
- How to Check Your Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
4. Mental Health Challenges With Remote Work
Remote work and telecommuting are often accompanied by a variety of psychological and social concerns for your teams. Some of your employees may have to manage children learning from home and adjust to a spouse also working remotely. Others may live on their own and have to deal with loneliness and the consequences of significantly reduced social interactions. The pandemic has only amplified the complexities of mental health challenges, which is why we support mental health awareness at Net Friends.
It’s vital to connect with your employees and have frequent mental health check-ins at every opportunity. Don’t just focus on business in your virtual meetings. Assign time to discover what challenges your staff may be facing. Design HR initiatives to offer information, resources, or other accommodations to help them cope. Having healthy and happy teams helps to create the right environment for personal and professional growth and development.
5. Sustaining Company Culture
Your company’s culture determines how your management and staff interact and collaborate to serve your customers. Unfortunately, with a greater reliance on remote work and telecommuting, it’s easy for your employees to feel disconnected. They have no access to the familiar watercooler and lunchtime conversations or face-to-face communications.
You can host virtual social events and occasional in-person gatherings to encourage a sense of inclusion and belonging. Celebrate milestones and project completions as you would in a physical setting. Acknowledge team collaborations and hard work. It’s vital to foster an atmosphere of professional camaraderie and goal achievement.
At Net Friends, we have a Slack channel called #Core-Values where employees can publicly acknowledge their colleagues with kudos for exemplifying one or more of our Core Values (FITS: Fulfill Implicit Needs, Improve People's Lives, Treat Everyone Like A Partner, and Share Knowledge).
Embrace Anywhere Operations & Support Your Teams
Net Friends is your trusted Managed IT Services Provider to help you overcome remote work and telecommuting challenges. Our suite of IT services is designed to help your managers and staff adopt a customized anywhere operations framework. We are happy to discuss how our managed IT services, managed infrastructure services, IT staffing, and managed detection & response services can help your company leverage the advantages of a work-from-home model. Contact Net Friends today and get the support you need to transform your company’s operations, grow your market share, and widen your profit margin.