A New Normal - Working From Home
Marie Curie wrote “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” and that will never be so pertinent than it is during this new way of working we find ourselves in. But is this a temporary adaption to our normal lives, or a new normal? Already Social Media is flooded with hashtags such as WFH and this is a trend that is likely to linger.
We are in to our sixth week of this lockdown and every single person and business has been affected by it. There is no end date, no vaccine or approved medication. In the blink of an eye everything (schools, businesses, places of worship etc…) have moved to working remotely and managed service providers are being tested on their professionalism, organisation and management qualities. These three main qualities are realised by clients when very little disruption is observed; this is only achieved when the right operational resilience has been explained, invested in and implemented.
A recent HRnews survey concluded “Setting employees up with the right tools to carry out their role is not enough. They need to feel confident using them. Companies should be prepared to deliver and embed technology change in a people-first way. Helping everyone in the organisation to fully embrace change.”
The Future of the Office
So what will our working lives look like going forward? At io, we are of the opinion that offices will remain at the heart of organisations in the future, but what about your desk, where you placed a picture of a loved one, your coffee mug or your favourite pen? A hybrid of working from home and working in the office is almost certain for many office employees with greater prevalence of hotdesking. Working more flexibly will be the norm whether on a permanent basis or simply more flexibility for employees to choose "remote" and "in-office" days, with most office based employees working from home at least some of the week. If your job is primarily to look at a screen, why shouldn't that screen be in whichever location works best for you and your family.
For businesses it will mean new trust models being created between employer and employee so that businesses feel confident their staff are as productive, safe and content working from home as they are in the office. It will also mean businesses will review their IT strategy more regularly to see where things can be done better and for IT professionals this means IT Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans will be their first thought rather than infrastructure (IoT, Cloud or Tin). Robust, modern remote working solutions (including the appropriate policies and training) will be required to ensure any and all staff can simply relocate and work from home without any notice and without the need for lengthy IT setups.
IT teams will also need to adapt to remote working being common place and ensure IT support levels are still meeting user and company expectations. Providing IT Support at home will bring new and interesting challenges for the IT Team and tackling these challenges with positivity will be essential. Ensuring the appropriate, modern Cyber Security protocols, policies, training and solutions are in place will be vital to safeguarding the individual and the business.
Work From Home Security
Many may ask, is it safe to work from home? The answer should be simple, it should be. But the reality is more complex. Few organisations have planned for an extended period of all staff working from home, and as such IT Departments globally have had to piece together solutions and configurations to permit remote working. This is bound to result in security and productivity gaps that nobody is comfortable with; and this is nobodies fault, simply the result of an unprecedented situation. However the world is waking to this being a new normal, to some degree... Once lockdowns are eased, there are many scenarios in which we may need to consider enforced or recommended Stay at Home orders such as a 2nd wave of Coronavirus, another disease, natural or economic disaster or even terrorist attacks. We must have a fully planned IT Model for working from any location globally, which ensures secure, efficient access to company systems as well as staff who feel prepared and trained for such a situation.
Our New Normal
At io we are experienced IT Managers and Strategists who are also used to working at the “coal-face” technically; when a client is on-boarded we do not just provide IT Support, we provide everything you would expect from an in-house IT Department and IT Management. From our home in Aberdeen, io have been providing modern remote working solutions to facilitate businesses to achieve a seamless, secure work from home (or any location) experience that includes a policy framework, user portal and intranet solution in addition to secure access to company files and software.
Fundamentally, we must seek the positives found in our new way of working and ensure we do not lose or forget them with time.