In an era where more people are working remotely than at literally any point up until now, it’s safe to say that business leaders all over are suddenly forcing themselves to learn a lot about how to manage these new remote workforces that they find themselves in charge of.
While it’s absolutely true that every organization will handle this goal in its own unique way, it’s equally important to understand that there are certain steps you need to be taking right now to ensure the most successful transition possible. There are a right way and a wrong way to deploy a remote workforce and understanding which is your key to successfully navigating the sudden remote work deluge brought on by COVID-19.
The Wrong Way to Embrace Remote Workers
The biggest mistake that you can possibly make in terms of deploying a remote workforce involves throwing disparate pieces of technology at the situation in the hopes that all your problems go away.
Far too many businesses are still making the mistake of only deploying point solutions for their employees. This means that they sign up for Zoom or Teams and assume their video conferencing needs are taken care of. They offer Slack for chat and assume that all their communication and collaboration concerns have been addressed.
The issue here is that there is no overarching strategy at the heart of it all — no unifying component to bring all of these separate elements together to form the cohesive whole you need them to be.
Point solutions do nothing to prevent information sprawl and the siloing of information in different repositories. It still may be just as difficult as it was in the office to find critical data — having to search through your CRM, then your ERP — and now maybe it’s over in your chat box somewhere.
Likewise, this approach does nothing to help secure the information that people are now sharing with one another. For the sake of software that seems more convenient on the surface, you’ve essentially abandoned many of the governance and compliance protocols that are more pivotal than ever during a time when nobody is actually in your office.
The Right Way (Or Getting the Job Done Properly)
Rather than starting with a lot of different pieces of software that were never really designed to work together and hoping you can build a unified system out of them, the right way to deploy a remote workforce involves STARTING with that unified system and then building things outward from there.
This, of course, means that you need to have the right information management system at the heart of your efforts — one that offers anytime, anywhere access to critical business intelligence from not only desktop and laptop computers, but from smartphones, tablets and other types of mobile devices.
From that crucial building block, you can begin to craft the type of remote strategy you need that will stand the test of time — one that allows you to track governance and compliance concerns on an ongoing basis, regardless of how or when those two things happen to change.
If you know where all of your information is housed and who has access to it, you’re also in a far better position to handle information security at the document level. You can use customized access permissions to make sure that the only people who have access to a particular document or directory are those who expressly need it to do their jobs. This won’t just keep everything protected as people work from home; it’ll actually leave you more secure than you likely were when everyone was still in the office, too.
The Time is Now to Start Preparing for the Future of the Workforce
Overall, it’s safe to say that the type of remote workforce that most businesses are currently dealing with represents a significant change from the way they’re used to doing things. With change comes the potential for problems and the disruption they bring with them.
But the most important thing to understand is that remote working isn’t going away just because COVID-19 will soon be behind us. If anything, all of this has proven that more businesses than ever should adopt telecommuting as a way to carve out a genuine competitive advantage for themselves in the marketplace.
With that in mind, know that the challenges of deploying a remote workforce the right way aren’t going to go away anytime soon. If anything, they’re only going to become more pressing over the next few months and years. Therefore, tightening up your information management infrastructure today is the single best opportunity you have to adequately prepare you, your employees AND your business for this future that will be here before you know it.
If you’d like to find out more information about the right way and the wrong way to deploy a remote workforce, or if you just have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with an expert in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to set aside some time and use our team as a resource… it’s why we’re here.