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Last-minute remote work policy? Here’s where to start
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Remote work in the enterprise has already been on an uptick for quite a while, as more widespread adoption of agile tech and flexible cloud and SaaS applications have made it easier for employers to engage with a far-flung workforce. A recent report shows that between 2007 and 2015, there was a 159 percent jump in remote work across sectors, while a 2020 study from Intuit saw that more than 40 percent of the national workforce will be “contingent” (ie. exercise a flexible work schedule) by year’s end.

Recently, however, companies are giving the benefits of remote work an even harder look as a number of factors – from the environment to recent anxieties about the high-profile coronavirus – are pushing companies to explore flexible remote policies in the event that travel to the office becomes a challenge.

Whether businesses have experience enforcing remote work policies or are scrambling to pull together a backup “work-from-home” (WFH) plan in the event of an emergency, there are several strategies that workers need to employ (and their managers need to enforce) to ensure business isn’t negatively impacted.

  1. Avoid easy miscommunication: Even workers who don’t often go remote are likely already very familiar with UC tools like Slack, Zoom and Teams. Make these tools your best friend and use them for more than just the standard, formal communications; casual check-ins or sharing interesting news stories or (work appropriate) jokes can go a long way in helping bridge the geographical barriers between teams that must be in sync.
  2. Extend the enterprise network: Unless an employee’s home network is encrypted, they likely aren’t employing the same enterprise-grade security practices that users benefit from in the office. While perhaps not as big of a security vulnerability as public WiFi at the coffee shop, home networks are relatively easy targets for bad actors looking to steal data. This is especially true in condo or apartment buildings, for instance, where devices could theoretically have access to dozens of “private” wireless connections. Employees need to only use a secure VPN when they’re doing work or leveraging a device with access to business data.
  3. Create a schedule (and a little seclusion): If a worker never changes gears between being “at work” and being “at home” simply because they never have to commute to the office, their personal and professional lives will take a hit. On one hand, employees may never feel like they can sign off and may be constantly checking their email and calendar well past the end of office hours. On the other hand, an employee who never gets out of their pajamas may look at WFH as “playing work” rather than actually putting in the hours. Managers and employees need to set schedules and expectations about when and where they’re working that helps establish boundaries (while also helping folks avoid cabin fever).

Most important of all is ensuring that the networks connecting remote workers remains performant regardless of where users are located in relation to the main office. This requires centralized IT teams to rely on comprehensive visibility across all the locations where their company does business.

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: enterprise IT, enterprise WAN, WAN, VPN, UCaaS, cloud computing, quarantine, work from home, remote workers, epidemic, outbreak, coronavirus, remote work, digital transformation, network performance monitoring

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