A survey by Gartner has revealed that 74 percent of CFOs plan on shifting at least five percent of previously on-site employees to permanently remote positions once the COVID-19 crisis ends. And McKinsey & Company concludes: “remote working was gaining currency before the crisis, but the pandemic has shown that telecommuting is here to stay.”
To ensure that this mass migration from the corporate office to the home office is smooth and successful, here are seven essential tools and technologies that remote workers need to succeed:
1. Fast Internet
Remote workers need suitably fast internet to carry out day-to-day tasks, such as participating in video conferences, watching live streams, uploading and downloading large files (e.g. presentations), and so on.
2. Virtual Private Network
All remote workers should be using a virtual private network (VPN), which allows them to connect to the internet through an encrypted tunnel. As hackers don’t have the key, they cannot snoop and steal data.
3. Data Backup/Recovery Software
The importance of regular data backups cannot be underestimated. While this is typically a non-issue when workers are in the office, it can be overlooked when they are working from home using their own computer. To avoid a potential disaster, all remote workers should be using reliable data backup/recovery software.
4. Endpoint Security Software
Hackers are aggressively targeting remote workers who have vulnerable, or in some cases non-existent endpoint security software, which is comprised of three integrated solutions:
- Anti-malware software
- Anti-virus software
- Anti-spyware software
Enterprises should install this software on each remote worker’s endpoint (including personally-owned devices). If this is not practical or feasible, then each remote worker should be obligated to install this software (and certify installation), and configure the settings for automatic updates (i.e. remote workers should not be able to choose when they allow updates).
Speaking of prohibitions: remote workers should be banned from pausing or shutting down their endpoint security software in order to carry out actions that are against policy (e.g. torrenting files), or in order to speed up connectivity. Remote workers that are struggling with significant slowdowns should first seek to speed up their internet connection (as described above), and then if necessary upgrade their Wi-Fi router and/or computing hardware.
5. Cybersecurity Training
Many enterprises have enrolled their workforce (including remote workers) in online cybersecurity training courses, which is a smart move considering that many hacks and breaches are triggered by phony emails (a.k.a. phishing) and poor password management practices. Examples of topics that are covered include:
- Social engineering
- Email security
- Mobile device security
- Safe web browsing
- Safe social networking
- Removable data management
- Physical security and environmental controls
Supervisors/managers can monitor each end user’s progress to identify coaching opportunities. For example, a remote worker (or group/team of remote workers) may demonstrate a sound knowledge of email security, but need additional training on mobile device security.
6. Cloud-Based Collaborative Work Management Software
Remote workers rely heavily on cloud-based tools and platforms to help them collaborate, focus on day-to-day tasks, keep an eye on projects and plans. To choose the right collaborative work management (CWM) software, enterprises should focus on the following:
- Adaptability: It should be fast and easy to configure the CWM solution to how the enterprise works — not the other way around.
- Collaboration: The CWM software should seamlessly connect formerly disconnected teams (both distributed/remote and co-located) to align communications, eliminate double work, and productively collaborate to move faster on the business objectives at hand.
- Effectiveness: The CWM solution should enable enterprises to minimize project risk and reduce time spent on mundane tasks by automating repeatable processes, alerts, and workflows.
As organizations progress toward digital transformation a remote work and/or hybrid-remote approach is becoming the new normal. Organizations are seeking ways to enable employees to work more flexibly as it can help drive productivity and engagement, as well as help them to attract and retain talent.
Download the “Powering Remote Work” eBook today and learn what your organization can do to adjust quickly to the evolving work ecosystem, and methods and platforms that can be applied in order to ensure an effective workplace collaboration between remote workers.