Challenges to Managing a Remote Team
2020 proved to be a year of evolution for our organization and 2021 seems to be lining up the same way. The challenges in 2020 showed us that the organizations we worked with who survived were the ones that committed to evolving their technology estate to address the realities of changing employees’ work behaviors. Societal conditions forced employees to work from home, which, in and of itself, is not a new concept. Nor is the multitude of surveys and studies that indicate the various benefits of remote work, from increased productivity and employee satisfaction, to reduced overhead costs and improved worker retention. According to Salesforce Research, “86% of remote workers rate their productivity as excellent or good” since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
The recent surge in remote work has demonstrated the critical importance of mobility in enabling connectivity and productivity among remote workers. As businesses adapt to this new reality of flexible work, employers must evolve internally by providing tools that enable employees to work from anywhere and on any device while safeguarding the organization from future security challenges. Investing in the appropriate services will enable your organization to embrace workforce mobility. This includes mobile communication tools that empower employees to feel connected and engaged regardless of where they are working. However, technology alone is not enough. You also should embrace a culture of openness, adaptability, and trust toward remote work to create an effective flexible work environment.
Building a remote team was not on the plate for a majority of businesses this past year. But, through our client engagements, we are seeing a growing number of clients push the evaluation and planning around the establishment and support of remote teams as a strategic business outcome for this year. The unexpected shift to remote work brought many changes to internal work processes, and the technical strategies and management of this disparate workforce sometimes becomes a hindrance in making work from home possible. So how do you turn this new mobility into a competitive differentiator while enabling secure, uninhibited workforce access to corporate resources?
Below we discuss 3 challenges and some ways to address them:
Remote Work Cybersecurity Challenges
- Working from home increases the likelihood of social engineering attacks, disguised phishing emails that are infecting systems with malware. Successful breaches may result in reputational loss and fines for exposing customers’ data.
- In this scenario, we would rely on our managed security services to build a layer of protection around the employee up to and including analyzing and detonating emails that have suspicious characteristics. We would also suggest including in the employee technology budget a corporate owned firewall in the employee’s home office that adopts your corporate security policies and is managed by your technical resources.
Challenges of Virtual Workspaces for Remote Employees
- Working in a virtual workspace may bring some difficulties if the employee has not been introduced or trained in it before. Because you will be working in a virtual environment, you’ll need to make sure that all the resources the employee needs to perform their daily tasks can be accessed remotely. Permission control is another challenging point, as new people will be onboarding and leaving the company, so it is necessary to make sure personal profiles are properly managed, and there are no delays in granting or revoking permissions.
- The way we approach this changing work environment is to do two things: enable our Identity and Access management and Data Governance services, as well as trying to move any applications / databases to the cloud while also moving the local environments to a virtual desktop. This ensures the employees’ identity is protected, and access to applications is tied to theirs or a department’s role. By driving this through a virtual environment, we are ensuring that no data, applications, or files reside locally, hence reducing the threat footprint.
Remote Worker In-Home Connectivity Issues
- When you work in a traditional office, it’s easier to get resolutions to technical issues like hardware failures, outages, or software misconfigurations. With remote work, things get complicated. Issues with system settings, unexpected connectivity problems, or configuration of tools and applications are just some of the challenges that remote workers could face. Apart from disrupting working processes, it’s especially challenging and demotivating for non-tech-savvy employees to cope with all these difficulties alone.
- We all too well understand the diverse backgrounds of employees and their varying levels of technical knowledge. When interacting with our clients, we do it with the highest level of care and consideration of the challenges they are facing. Our remote tools and built policies give us the highest level of visibility, allowing us to truly understand (and see) where the employee is struggling. Training is also high on our list of deliverables during the client engagement as well as establishing the tools they will be using. At the client’s request, we can deliver training across different services in order to boost the employees’ knowledge and level of comfort.
Addressing Technical Obstacles, the Road to Remote Success
Addressing technical obstacles enables the evolution to build safe and productive remote workspace environments. Being aware of the issues from the list above will help you resolve them faster and arrange smooth transitioning to remote work.
We would certainly love to hear from you. If you would like more information or are interested in discussing this further with one of our teammates, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.