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A Remote-First Approach Helps Meet Employees Where They Are

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been widespread regardless of business size or type. For many businesses, the dispersed workforce caused by social distancing restrictions has created the need to do things differently and reach customers in new ways. Business models that were previously successful just won’t work anymore because of the need for employees and customers to stay at a safe distance. Today, there is a need for a remote first approach.

The disruptions in physical locations necessitated new ways of operating–making the move from physical business to digital business, from on-premise service to pick-up or house calls, and from in-person interactions to digital ordering and fulfillment. When COVID-19 hit, business leaders were forced to immediately reimagine their operating models in a way that would allow them to stay viable and available with a remote workforce, as well as find new ways to reach customers and deliver products and services. These changes are likely to stick around for a while.

For many organizations, all of this has meant opting for a remote first model for employees and customer interactions. A remote first setup allows organizations to put processes, tools and systems in place that allow for quick collaboration and mobilization of their workforces, rapid response to customer needs, and the agility to monitor the performance of these newly stood up systems–from anywhere. This post will focus on the importance of remote first when it comes to employee interactions. Next month we will focus on customer interactions.

Connecting Employees to Each Other

Whether your organization is still fully remote or you are working with a hybrid model with some employees on-site while others remain at home, it’s imperative to keep employees connected to their systems and applications as well as each other.

Adopting unified communications tools allows teams to connect and collaborate with screen sharing, file sharing, IM, call forwarding to a mobile number, and audio and video conferencing. For many that are working from home, bandwidth is an ongoing challenge, with other family members or housemates competing for connectivity. To help with this, employees can reconfigure their home Wi-Fi to help prioritize device applications, but it is not likely the best option for most. To establish a dedicated, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi connection, another option is Comcast Business at Home.

Connecting Employees to Their Data

The paradigm for an organization’s data has also changed. Traditionally, data was confined to one place–typically on premises, at the HQ office. When COVID-19 hit, the data was still there, but everyone was outside. To access the data, organizations needed a way for employees to securely connect via private encrypted or VPN connections. Pre-COVID-19, these connections were likely set up to allow access to a limited number of employees–most definitely not the entire workforce.

To address this potential bottleneck of traffic trying to log in to an HQ’s VPN and improve performance, organizations can use a SD WAN solution that provides the ability to respond to significant swings in inside and outside traffic patterns. This network agility enables increased employee productivity, improved customer experience and automated network management.

Limited access to office spaces also includes IT managers who are more than likely also working from home. A remote first model shift includes rethinking how they manage and monitor their network from afar. Using a platform like ActiveCore allows centralized network control via software applications. Having virtual network functionality can automate many network functions, speed up application deployment and simplify resource management.

Strategic implementation of a remote first system can help organizations navigate new work environments and manage changing customer expectations amid the pandemic and beyond.


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