Making Remote Work Successful for 2021 and Beyond

The 2020 global job market has had a historic shift due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While working from home was once considered a highly coveted perk offered by companies, it seems that it has become the new normal for businesses nowadays. By 2025, organizations will have to implement a work-from-home arrangement for 70% of their employees at least five days a month. The question isn’t “Is my company ready for remote work?”; rather, it’s “How can I make remote work successful for 2021 and beyond?”

Remote work is here to stay

According to a survey from Enterprise Technology Research (ETR), the percentage of permanent work-from-home employees is expected to double in 2021 while a Gartner CFO survey revealed that almost 75% of organizations are seriously considering managing a fully remote workforce in a post-pandemic world.

“The productivity metric is proving that remote work is working,” said Erik Bradley, chief engagement strategist at ETR. “So, we all thought that there would be some increase in permanent remote work, but we didn’t expect that to double from pre-pandemic levels.”

Remote work means less office space

A hybrid work model, which is a combination of on-site and remote work, is what many companies are planning to implement for the new normal. This is why the need for large physical office spaces, according to Moe Vela, Chief Transparency Officer of TransparentBusiness, will gradually become a thing of the past. “Completely remote companies with no headquarters will continue to form as other organizations decide to reduce their office space for hybrid teams or forgo one altogether to save on costs,” adds Vela.

As Anna Convery-Pelletier, CMO at Radware, suggests, “One strategy might be to have specific days for in-person meetings and collaboration, and then other days allocated for remote work. In-person meetings might be reserved for brainstorming sessions, introducing new projects, or team-building exercises, while remote days would be for work that can be performed individually. The office could be redesigned and reorganized by getting rid of cubicles and creating more collaborative meeting spaces.”

Remote work makes cybersecurity vital

As more and more organizations are transitioning their teams to work remotely, a real and highly urgent concern is around how data is being accessed and how to secure it effectively. Cybersecurity is extremely important or more important than before the coronavirus crisis, according to 85% of all respondents in Cisco’s Future of Secure Remote Work Report.

Businesses, according to Jack Mannino, CEO of security firm nVisium, need to have a solid and strategic cybersecurity plan and must be ready to invest on how to best protect data, remote workers, and equipment.

“The shift to remote work has prompted many organizations to make significant new investments in their IT systems and infrastructure,” Mannino said. “While the shift has already happened for many, the security debt created in the process has not been addressed in many places. Securing a remote workforce requires a different mindset and presents an expanded perimeter for an attack.”

The question remains: How can companies make remote work successful for 2021 and beyond?

There are ‘five C’s that both public- and private-sector organizations must remember:

Cloud: Companies who already have cloud-first policies, architecture, and strategies have that competitive edge in the next normal because their data, infrastructure, services are easily accessible and readily available remotely. Businesses managing distributed teams or virtual employees for the first time during the pandemic should prioritize migrating their IT resources and digital assets to cloud.

Collaboration: Without the right tools for collaboration, working from home will be inefficient, unproductive, and stressful. Organizations will need to make sure their remote employees have access to the most ideal technology, system, or software to work effectively from home.

Cybersecurity: The skyrocketing incidents of cybersecurity risks that happen these days should be a warning for companies to take cybersecurity preparedness seriously. Teleworkers must have proper training, security controls, and strict protocols in place to avoid data breach, digital attacks, and any cybersecurity-related issues.

Culture: One of the biggest barriers to a seamless remote work experience is organizational culture. Employees are often concerned that the loss of face-to-face interactions will make them miss out on recognition for valuable contributions or even opportunities for professional advancement. Companies must take intentional effort to communicate their vision and goals, with an emphasis on a shared sense of purpose for making remote work successful.

Commute: One of the benefits of working remotely is enabling virtual employees to save on travel expenses and to avoid rush hour traffic. But commuting offers some upsides, such as an opportunity to disconnect from work, carpool with friends, or indulge in a hobby, that may fall by the wayside. Management and leadership must be proactive in helping remote workers establish and maintain a work-life balance.

A thriving remote workforce is what we have at ClinkIT Solutions. If you need expert advice on building and managing a successful and sustainable remote workforce, let’s have a chat today.