Account Director at PSTG
It wasn’t so long ago that working from home was unheard of. Legacy system-based office infrastructure demanded employees came in to use the digital applications that were limited to working within the office. However, teleconferencing, telework apps, and cloud-based infrastructure have helped businesses thrive with remote workers.
So, how does working from home benefit our working environment and make us more productive?
- Are remote workers productive?
- Technology to utilize
- Improving remote security
- How do you ensure remote worker productivity?
- The future of remote working
Are remote workers productive?
Yes, remote workers can be just as productive, if not more, than office-based workers.
During the lockdown caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, the number of employees working from home has skyrocketed. It’s helping to prevent the spread of the disease and keep employees safe. However, one concern employers had (and still have) about remote working is productivity. If an employee isn’t under supervision, will they be able to do the same amount of work?
A survey of over a thousand employees in the US found remote workers can be more productive than those in an office. Roughly half of these employees were already remote workers. They also discovered remote workers put in an additional 1.4 more days of trackable time per month and are only unproductive for an average of 27 minutes a day – 10 less than their office-based counterparts.
In 2019, the American Psychological Association found remote work increased employee job satisfaction when done properly. Not only that, but 60% of employees have found their work-life balance has also improved with no commute and 43% are more comfortable with technology now.
Technology to utilize
If you think back 10 years ago, it would be rare to come across an everyday organization or company that could easily work remotely. The technology wasn’t available. Now, we’re spoilt for choice with applications such as online marketing platforms, telecommunications, video conferencing, and cloud-based services (such as communications) readily available.
Technological innovations have allowed us to work almost anywhere, provided you have a WiFi connection. These methods are only proving more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the video conferencing software Zoom has been able to grow from 10 million daily active users to 200 million in just three months. Real-time communications, where we can see and speak to our colleagues, are more and more useful.
Because of these trends, the state of digital infrastructure within businesses is changing. We’re seeing more cloud-based operating systems – ones that can be accessed from any device, anywhere. Communications platforms such as Slack, a real-time messaging system, allows whole teams to join the same chat rooms, are adding value even if workers are still in an office.
There are also applications such as Trello, an online bulletin board, Microsoft Teams, a space for sharing files and communicating, Asana, a project management app, and Toggl, a workflow and time tracker.
Improving remote security
We now have the chance to increase the security of our work-from-home systems. It’s the right time to implement these as by working at home, we can be far-removed from any safety features inherent with office-based work, such as network-wide anti-malware programs.
Luckily, becoming safer is both simple and cost-effective. All employees should be made aware of these following easy practices:
- Encourage employees not to use public WiFi when working.
- Maintain updated security software on personal or company-owned computers and devices.
- Enable two-factor authentication on all company portals.
- Provide IT support for employees working from home.
- Create a designated point of contact for any employees experiencing security issues.
- Emphasize that working in public should be avoided if possible, increasing the safety of your devices and preventing theft.
How do you ensure remote worker productivity?
To boost and maintain productivity within your remote workforce, keep morale at a high, and combat any feelings of loneliness. For example, schedule in time to meet and chat, not to talk about work. Why not combine this with a Zoom call and an online multiplayer game, such as Pictionary?
You should also try and make sure any connectivity or workflow issues won’t present a problem when work is transferred to an online environment. You need to have the right tools in place – ones that improve collaboration between individuals and don’t hinder any processes.
The main thing that helps employees stay motivated is ensuring you hear and address all of their concerns, whether they’re about working from home or business-specific issues. By fostering supportive company culture, helped by implementing the right technology, you can keep your employees happy. A positive outlook is one of the best aids to productivity.
The future of remote working
Mobile work platforms, virtual reality, video conferencing – they’ll all become more and more useful methods of maintaining good communications within teams. They help to ease the concerns of management who can track work and productivity effectively. It’s even possible to protect your company better in terms of cybersecurity by creating a remote workforce.
According to a recent study Buffer study, 98% of employees would like to work remotely, at least for some time, for the rest of their careers. That’s a huge fraction. Similarly, Buffer found other interesting statistics:
- 32% said they thought the biggest benefit was a more flexible schedule, while 26% said it was the ability to work anywhere.
- The main challenge to businesses working remotely is maintaining effective communication.
- The more time workers spend working remotely, the more content they are with it.
What organizations need to do now is review their remote working policies and see if they can match the growing trend with online working. Start by creating several KPIs to track your work-from-home deliverables and get a real feel for how your company is doing in these times and where it needs to improve.
Account Director at PSTG, supporting a cross-section of public and private sector clients with their security, technology, and innovation needs. Bringing in the right solution to deal with the current or future needs of businesses across the UK.