During the current situation, a lot more companies and employees have urgently had to gear up for remote work. Greg Caplan serves as the CEO of Remote Year, an organization that promotes the idea of working remotely. He believes the coronavirus crisis has not only made working at home necessary right now, it will encourage more remote work opportunities in the future. As he said, “The cat’s out of the bag.”
Why the Future of Remote Working Has Arrived
According to Fast Company, plenty of companies have recently struggled urgently to transform large parts of their workforce into work-at-home employees. At the same time, these businesses and employees can seize an opportunity to improve. Done right, both people and companies can enjoy the benefits of a more flexible workforce for years in the future.
Of course, the idea of working at home and at other remote locations has already been growing at a modest but consistent rate. For example:
- In a little over a decade, remote working grew by about 159% in the United States.
- Just since 2015, the number of remote workers has increased from 3.9 to 4.7 million.
- In addition, a survey from just one year ago found that 80% of people seeking jobs would prefer a position that offers at least some chance for working from home over one that doesn’t.
Obviously, implementing the policies and systems that can enable more flexible workplaces and schedules would please employees and help businesses compete for the best people.
A review of thousands of employee surveys also found that telework opportunities tended to decrease employee attrition, improve morale, reduce absences, increase productivity, and even save companies money. For just a couple of examples, AT&T found that employees used most of the time they didn’t have to spend on commuting by doing more work, and Sun Microsystems said that their remote employees actually worked five hours a week more than those who had to come into the office.
Polls of professionals found that just about one-third would even choose a work-at-home option over a raise in pay — and about the same percentage would accept a modest decrease in income to have this option.
What’s Wrong with Quick-Fix, Work-at-Home Solutions?
According to the senior VP of operations for Ring Central, Curtis Peterson, most companies lacked solid continuity plans to accommodate employees for sustained office closings. For quick ad-hoc solutions, lots of less-prepared companies have been allowing employees turn to ad-hoc solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Zoom. Some businesses might even mistakenly encourage this to relieve traffic on their own strained networks. He says that people may work productively at home, however, they don’t instinctively apply the same good security practices at home as they do at work.
For instance, they may have work systems open in one window and social media or streaming services open in another one. They might login to work over an insecure connection or jump into a Zoom meeting that doesn’t require a password without even knowing who else might have entered the meeting to listen in. At the same time, the head of Juniper Threat Labs, Mounir Hahad, said that companies should prepare for an increase in such threats as DDoS attacks, phishing, and ransomware. Meanwhile, IT security people are far away and probably working from their own homes.
Even beyond urgent security concerns, letting teams and employees pick their own tech solutions can lead to plenty of problems managing data. If one team uses Google Drive and another uses email to send attachments back and forth, how can anybody control ownership, versioning, and allowing redundant or outdated information to impact business decisions?
Quick, Secure, Business-Grade Solutions to the Work-at-Home Boom
A modern, intelligent, cloud-based, and enterprise-grade information management system like M-Files will not only alleviate security and data integrity concerns, it can also help improve business processes to make remote or in-office employees even more productive. For instance:
- First, the system utilizes a smart security system that allows data managers to set specific rules, so only the right people can access or change the information.
- The information management system tracks actions, so it’s easy to trace and easy to manage and audit documents. Setting rules also helps minimize the risk of human errors and ensures that people work with the current, correct version.
- Smart search features can find documents based on what they are and not where they are with a Google-like query, empowering employees to complete their work with nothing more than an internet-enabled device and a login.
- The system also allows managers to automate business processes around information flow. For example, it can send alerts when documents need to get approved, signed, or sent on.
- By using the cloud-based version, companies can spare themselves the headache of trying to add additional network capabilities and other infrastructure themselves.
Remote work can please employees and improve business at any time. Right now, finding workable solutions to the growth in remote work has grown critical. Businesses that can quickly implement the best solutions will find ways to emerge from the current situation as better companies and better places to work.