While some companies have decided to permanently allow employees to work remotely, some others are planning to switch to a hybrid workplace. The ongoing digital transformation, in any case, has crossed the inflection point. Once considered as the ‘future of work,’ remote working has become and will remain the standard operating procedure for most businesses worldwide.
Against this backdrop, new startups, as well as existing businesses planning to go the digital way, are required to focus on certain factors to ensure a smooth transition to remote work. Here’s looking at the 5 fundamental points that companies need to keep in mind to create a WFH culture conducive to growth and well-being.
- Protocols focused on ensuring employee well-being
The pandemic became the occasion when the questions of mental and emotional health found greater acceptance and rightly so. For the first time, the corporate sphere began discussing mental health with the sincerity hitherto reserved for academic spaces and social media. In its wake, many organizations enforced measures to actively tackle the issues of loneliness, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.Enterprises that implement remote work, therefore, must recognize that mental health has a direct impact on a person’s efficiency and productivity, and ensure that employees working remotely feel connected, supported, and cared for.
Organizations can take a leaf from the book of Stanza Living. The company has set up dedicated health, fitness, as well as interpersonal skill development activities, beyond regular business training programs. The company is also conducting fun webinars that include yoga sessions, storytelling and public speaking sessions among others – all to keep employees engaged and motivated.
2. Flexible work culture
WFH has rendered the 9-to-5 work schedule obsolete.A major reason why it is not feasible in the remote working setting is because it accentuates social iniquities. Professionals who must take care of their children or aged parents, for instance, are disproportionately affected by the rigid work schedules, leading to a skewed work-life balance, leading to stress.
Businesses can resolve the challenges posed by rigid work hours by introducing flexibility into the remotely enabled work culture. Flexibility in a workplace is all about quality over quantity. To create a flexible work culture, companies can set clear objectives by communicating honestly with each employee and streamlining the workload allocation accordingly. By doing this, team leaders can ensure that the deliverables are met, and employees do not feel overburdened, thus empowering remote workers to maintain a healthier work-life balance leading to better productivity.
3. Redefining productivity metrics and definition
Measuring productivity using the tools and parameters applied in an in-office setting cannot paint a fair picture of productivity in either a remotely managed workplace or a hybrid workplace. For instance, productivity metrics that focus on input work hoursdo notadequately reflect the actual work done by employees. Instead, organizations can leverage an empathy-led approach to technological implementation to measure efficiency.
Once teams and individuals understand what their responsibilities are in terms of results, leaders can focus on monitoring the outcome instead of monitoring the employee. By focusing on outcomes, employers can prevent employees from feeling demotivated while building trust and loyalty.Boosted morale can also have a positive effect on the workers’ productivity. Such an approach has contributed to the success of Netflix.It has been able to flourish without limiting paid leaves or mandating a specific duration of “face time” that workers must commit in the office.
4. Digital infrastructure to ensure seamless collaboration and communication
To achieve all of the above, organizations need tech tools that can empower their workforce to connect, communicate, and collaborate seamlessly. This is where world-class communication platforms step in. By frequently interacting virtually using videoconferencing solutions, teams can experience a sense of cohesion and togetherness despite working from different geographical locations.
For organizations planning to continue working remotely or set up a hybrid work culture, the integration of advanced communication and connectivity tools is not an option but a critical business imperative. Besides allowing employees and teams to connect and collaborate, organizations need to deploy advanced webinar tools to host virtual events to enable a free flow of knowledge, insights, and lessons within and across sectors.
Increased dependence on digital solutions in the post-2020 landscape has expanded the surface area that cyber criminals can target. Unprotected end-user devices connected to the enterprise network pose a vulnerability that threat actors can exploit, putting the organization at risk of incurring losses not just financially but also in terms of brand reputation. To enable a safe and secure remote workplace, enterprises cannot forego setting up a robust cybersecurity infrastructure.
This involves implementing authorization levels to limit access to confidential data, enabling a secure VPN route to access the enterprise network, and promoting cybersecurity hygiene and awareness among employees.Businesses also need to leverage cloud-based EPS, full-disk encryption, data loss prevention (DLP) technologies, and advanced anti-malware solutions to defend the data and privacy of their stakeholders including employees, partners, and customers.
According to Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the government agency responsible for tracking and responding to cybersecurity threats, Over 313,000 cybersecurity incidents were reported in India.
In a remote work enviroment, it is imperative for organizations to think beyond just standard security measures and practices. Usual user habits (e.g. reuseable passwords) is a significant weak link in the organizations security efforts. It’s no surprise then that we have seen an unprecedented rise in Federated password vaulting solutions in India and rest of the world.
Remote work is here to stay, and organizations worldwide are innovating with corporate best practices to smoothly transition into the new normal. The approach that each organization takes will vary according to the unique needs, requirements, and objectives. And only those organizations with a future-facing outlook, empathetic employee-centric approach, and a tech-enabled communication and cybersecurity infrastructure will be equipped to seamlessly navigate the volatile post-pandemic market.
(The author Rahul Sharma, Managing Director-India, LogMeIn and the views expressed in this article are his own)