By Phillip Kamungoma, Digital Specialist
The Recent outbreak of COVID-19 has got the world at a slight standstill. With many countries taking measures to reduce transmission, many businesses have been looking for alternative ways to remain productive, while minimizing risk to employees. This has brought a lot of scrutiny to business Continuity management procedures (or the lack thereof).
Restrictions on movement and large gatherings have brought to light the need for remote access to work resources.
The tale of remote work has been on the agenda of forward-thinking C-Suite Execs for a while, with various large entities testing out different frameworks to find the perfect fit for them. The current pandemic has brought this aspect to the top of the agenda for many entities.
An increase in Connectivity and software capability has increased the ability to collaborate without worrying about geographical constraints. There are benefits for both employer and employee when it comes to remote, or “work from home” policies.
- Working from home increases productivity– A Harvard Business School study found that people who work from home are more productive than they are in an office setting. Data shows that when employees are able to skip the extra coffee breaks, a long commute, and any other distractions to focus on their work, productivity reigns supreme. Reduced work disruption from societal events– COVID-19 is the obvious example of this. Remote access allows a business to go on as usual despite restrictions.
- Access to a wider pool of talent- Giving employees the ability to work remotely also allows you to hire outside of normal commuting distance, providing access to highly skilled employees that might not otherwise be interested in a role.
- Improved employee retention- remote work gives employees the freedom to find an equilibrium with their work-life balance, which improves employee happiness and work satisfaction.
- Lower costs- office space, as I’m sure you know, is expensive. Having a remote policy reduces the amount of space required to operate. In the USA, for example, each remote worker saves their employer an average of $10,000 a year on workspace and related expenses.
Essential Technologies for Remote Work
- Cloud technology- it is essential for remote workers to have access to company resources. As such, cloud servers and cloud-based software such as Office 365 will allow employees to conduct day to day tasks, while more Intricate software can also be run online through the Servers. Secure Backups & Network Security will also be required to protect essential company data.
- Internet connection & Mobile office– it goes without saying the benefits of cloud-based Computing are nullified without an internet connection. A strong connection and the ability to compute via a laptop or desktop are essential to remote work.
- Collaborative tools- these tools are essential in maintaining team communication, productivity, and efficiency. Tools such as SharePoint, Zoom and GoTo Meeting ensure teams stay in constant communication.
- Dashboard reporting – the use of online dashboard reporting tools will allow management/teams to see what is going on in the business/various units. A great tool for this is Power BI. It doesn’t matter where your data comes from or how/if it interacts with other data you care about. If it is data and you can report on it, you can include it in Power BI and pin your visualizations to a dashboard/cockpit where you can see everything you care about and nothing you don’t. And if you want more detail, then just click on the tile and drill down into the report.
- Bonus- True Cloud ERP- A cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning software will help tick the majority of the boxes when it comes to remote work. Access to project management, CRM and distribution modules will further help streamline your operations. Advanced ERP’s such as Acumatica, encompasses a lot of operational requirements without geographic constraints. Employee timecards can be executed on these platforms while maintaining and managing all operations of the business from a centralized and secure platform.
Regardless of what industry a business operates in, the ability to work remotely can be highly beneficial to staff and owners alike. With Millennials now making up the bulk of major workforces, digital transformation plans must be enacted to get the most out of the workforce. it is important to leverage the right technology to attract the highest quality of employees while ensuring business continuity is accounted for.