For businesses across the globe, shifting to a remote or hybrid work model was an essential survival tactic to make it through the pandemic. However, this shift brought with it many unexpected benefits. Increased productivity, happier teams, better work/life balance – though these and other benefits are significant, they come with an all-new challenge.
How can businesses ensure they provide seamless cyber security and IT support for remote workers? Fall behind on either of these fronts and your data, productivity, and profits could be at risk.
Supporting the New Hybrid Workforce
In Australia, Managed Service Providers like Invotec have risen to the challenge, rapidly adapting their approach to create a smooth transition for the hybrid workforce. Here are the core changes being made to cater to the remote and hybrid work models.
Layout and installation of hybrid workplace technology
One of the most significant adjustments businesses have had to make as they transition to a hybrid model centres around their office layout. When a smaller number of team members are present in the office on any given day, it generally doesn’t make sense to have assigned desks going unused.
Instead, many companies are making the most of the space they have by switching to hot-desking or hoteling. Employees have access to a range of bookable workstations and areas, including stand-up desks, private offices, meeting rooms, presentation spaces, and more. This is a brilliant way to put under-utilized space to good use, and the added flexibility is greatly appreciated by staff.
Of course, this generally requires dismantling old workstations and setting up new ones, often with technology upgrades involved. It also necessitates a high-quality booking management system to ensure everything flows smoothly. This transition can be effectively managed by an in-house IT department or outsourced to a Managed Service Provider. When outsourcing, you can opt to hire an MSP just for the project or for ongoing management of the new systems and technology.
Facilitating communication and collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration are central to success in the hybrid workforce. With employees continuously transitioning between their home and the office, it’s crucial to have reliable systems, platforms, and applications in place that allow them to seamlessly connect with managers and colleagues, no matter where they happen to be.
Video conferencing has already become a staple of the office environment. In fact, Gartner predicted that by 2024, in-person events will account for barely a quarter of all business meetings. This means it will fall on IT support – whether in-house or outsourced – to manage the equipment needed for seamless collaboration and communication.
It will likely also be essential to increase IT budgets for laptops, devices, and hybrid workplace technology as video places a greater demand on processing power. Companies may need to support workers with upgrades to their equipment at home as older laptops often fail to keep up with video conferences, and in the digital era, tech failures can reflect poorly on your business.
Adding enterprise-level webcams, headsets, and other technology to facilitate communication and collaboration will streamline the experience for employees and prevent the unnecessary downtime that arises when they’re working remotely and unable to communicate effectively.
Upgraded systems to support the remote workforce
Depending on your industry and the size and nature of your business, there are plenty of systems and software applications that may be able to help you operate at a far higher level of efficiency. Consulting with an MSP is the best way to discover which systems and applications will work best for you and your hybrid workforce.
For example, Electronic Meeting System (EMS) software allows you to book meeting rooms for in-person events, video conferences, or a mix of the two. The best EMS software will make social distancing a breeze, allowing you to set room capacity requirements or disable certain meeting types.
Your IT support company should also be able to set you up with the ability to book essential services for meetings. From catering and audio-visual equipment to cleaning and visitor management, modern IT companies are making it easier than ever for companies to manage the hybrid workforce in style.
Robust cybersecurity for on and off-site workers
With ransomware attacks and other malicious activity on the rise in recent years, it’s more important than ever for companies to have robust IT security strategies in place. The remote workforce adds a host of other challenges, demanding security measures that are neither network nor location-dependent. In addition to protecting your people, customers, and data, you need to ensure your cybersecurity measures don’t slow down productivity or interrupt the user experience.
Alarmingly, IT consulting firm Unisys has published multiple reports revealing just how little remote workers understand cyber threats and how small of a role they believe they play in protecting their employers. A recent Unisys survey revealed that 54% of remote workers have never even heard of SMiShing (the text-message version of phishing), and 33% wouldn’t hesitate to click links in an email, SMS or social media message. More than 80% had never heard of SIM jacking, while 42% admitted to taking very little care to protect their sensitive data. Astonishingly, only 61% felt that they had any responsibility when it came to the cyber security of their company.
To ensure the remote workforce and the companies they work for are treated to seamless protection, the best IT support companies are implementing all-new digital security strategies. These plans are designed to optimize performance and allow for easy and intuitive communication and collaboration, all while making security the priority.
Due to the sudden onset of the pandemic, many companies were forced to go with stop-gap measures that did the job for a while but that simply don’t support the level of efficiency needed to thrive in the modern world. As the hybrid working model settles in as the new norm, it’s essential for business leaders to work with IT experts and develop cyber security solutions that will support and protect the company and its remote workers seamlessly over time. Your office walls no longer delineate the boundaries of your business. As your web of connectivity expands, it’s crucial to reinforce it with the technology and IT infrastructure needed to support your hybrid workforce.
If you’re currently operating on a remote or hybrid model or thinking of making the shift, feel free to contact Invotec with any logistical questions you may have. Our friendly, highly experienced IT consultants would be happy to offer you guidance through this challenging transition.