Solving the Remote Workplace Scramble to Meet the Productivity Goals
Remote Workplace experience has turned the way people work upside down for many industries. Data stays securely in the cloud.
The work-from-home trend that was wending its way across the corporate landscape got a sudden shot in the arm due to the pandemic’s mandate of sheltering in place. Gartner found in a recent survey that 74% of chief financial officer respondents were planning to transition at least some of their workforce to full-time remote work. Organizations are seeing that not only do the majority of employees enjoy working from home, but that they are often more – not less – productive in this new arrangement.
For companies that had a limited remote work policy or none at all, setting up employees to work from home was a scramble. It involved enabling them by shipping devices, monitors, keyboards and confirming sufficient network bandwidth. And then there was the need to ensure security, where some were retooling existing policies, and others have had to create new plans from scratch. It comes with challenges, and many lessons have been learned.
This Remote Workplace experience has turned the way people work upside down. For many industries, this meant leveraging video conferencing and other Cloud services far more throughout the day. Organizations are discovering that the on-prem data center is no longer the center of the universe. And with the offices empty, IT organizations are running the numbers and finding they can save money by decreasing spending on office space, power, A/C, food, and travel expenses. In return, they can support employees’desire for greater work flexibility, otherwise known as “BYOH” – bring your own home.
The Shift to Bring Your Own Home
The term BYOD – bring your own device – came about when laptops and BlackBerry devices began to proliferate. Many employers realized they could save money – and make things easier for their employees – by allowing them to use their own electronics rather than requiring them to use company-issued devices.
But with the BYOD movement came a push for personal device security to protect the organization. This involved adding VPN access and multifactor authentication. And yet, security is one of the biggest concerns with VPN connections. While it provides the much-needed access to applications and data, it also opens up a network pipe between the home and the corporate network that could be exploited by malware. Further, sensitive data can also be downloaded to users’ computers, which can lead to security breaches and compliance failures.
However, there is another option. By deploying cloud desktops (VDI/DaaS), you can provide a secure connection from the cloud desktop client on the user’s home device (BYOD) to the company’s Windows 10 virtual desktop in the cloud.
Modern cloud PCs place the virtual desktop in the cloud region closest to the end-user, so employees get high-performance desktops complete with low-latency access to necessary applications and data. Data stays securely in the cloud, and no VPN is required! This increased level of security enables employees to use their own devices with no compromise, opening the door wide for trusted home use across all employees. With today’s cloud desktop technology, you can securely access your company’s Windows 10 cloud desktop with all of its applications and data from any device, anytime, anywhere – especially when you’ve moved your primary work location to your home.
The global work-from-home experiment may have moved companies past the “headquarters” paradigm to one in which there is no central office. Instead, the “office” is wherever your employees are with their mobile device in hand and network access to their cloud desktops.
When surveyed, many employees are not in any rush to go back to a centralized office if their role allows the freedom to work and be productive from anywhere. BYOH, as a fully supported program from the top down, will require business leaders to take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages, security requirements, productivity, cost, risks, business continuity and so on.
And, with that comes a checklist of all of the things that must be in place for employees to work from home successfully – aside from a suitable BYOH setup, which could include an employee stipend for power, monitors, food, network connectivity and so on.
Advantages to BYOH
The budgetary benefits of remote work are many. From a corporate standpoint, BYOH has the potential to save a lot of money in terms of commercial real estate and office space, not to mention sustainability reducing the drain on electricity and heating/air conditioning.
In addition, quality-of-life measures improve for employees. This includes the end or reduction of commuting and flexibility with hours and scheduling. In some cases, this means increased freedom to live in places other than big cities, where rents and mortgages are very high (think about Silicon Valley, for instance).
Of course, there are possible negatives as well. This would include reliance on potentially spotty internet connections at employees’ homes and less interpersonal interaction. However, most of these can be dealt with relatively easily and are off-set by the benefits.
Creating the New Remote Workplace
Though it may have been difficult initially to navigate the pandemic waters, the upside is that this work-from-home experience may usher in a new approach to how we work. It’s unlikely that things are going to go back to exactly the way they were pre-pandemic. Even for those employees who do return to the physical office, there will be changes in terms of meeting layouts, spacing, scheduling and how employees interact with one another. Many organizations may decide that the old ways are not worth returning to and instead stick with remote work.
To whatever extent organizations extend remote work, they will need a new mindset as well as new technologies. The policies that leaders create will need to focus on optimizing remote employees’ productivity. This will include secure, effective communications and collaboration technologies that enable quick access to the network and corporate tools.