The Workforce Migration – Finding a New Balance
Times have surely changed…or maybe not! Telecommuting has been around as a way of providing employees with the ability to work from home for short periods of time for some time now. This has been offered to reliable employees as a form of a bonus, providing an option for supporting a sick child or as an agreed arrangement for their job once or more a week. With the unfortunate impact of the Covid-19 virus, we now find ourselves adapting to new ways of running our lives, our businesses and our jobs. Organizations have had to move to a fully remote model overnight with their entire workforce now telecommuting all the time. This change has brought with it new challenges and the need to find new ways of getting our work done. We are all on a learning curve trying to find creative ways of accomplishing what was once required at our offices, now at our homes. With this change comes new disruptions, distractions, costs and savings. It’s a time to pivot and not just pivot temporarily but make long-lasting changes to support this workforce migration, as this may just be the new way of doing business. In response to this new need, ECHO has developed a Home and Family plan. This plan aims to address all the major concerns that come hand-in-hand with telecommuting. But before we dive into the solution, let’s talk a little more about all the considerations of a workforce migration.
A remote workforce has revealed many new ways of lowering costs, increasing productivity, extending office hours, providing added benefits to our workforce and eliminating operational overhead of managing a fully equipped office. The costs have not gone away completely, in many cases, they are just shifting and being re-allocated to provide a stronger virtual infrastructure. With more organizations now moving to the cloud than ever before, this remote workforce migration seems like a natural progression. It forces us to complete the move outside the boundaries of the office walls and find new ways of running a business.
The workforce migration comes with its own challenges though. One such challenge for businesses with this new norm of including more home networks and home computers is the cybersecurity calculus. How are we to protect and support our business assets? How are we to enforce corporate governance in this new way of working? These are all good questions and questions we all need to start addressing. We need to close the cybersecurity gap as this change opens new voids in the protection typically controlled by corporate firewalls, VPN services and fully managed workstations.
It is also a good time to revisit your corporate computer policies and practices. Consider updates to address what is and what is not covered and supported when it comes to using the home network. Clearly times have changed, and this was a big change. Big changes cause big disruptions and can also increase risk, especially security risk. This makes it even more critical that businesses find the right balance to ensure this change is addressed and support is provided to the workforce. This is not a time to be complacent as the multiple vulnerabilities that now exist will most definitely be exploited by bad actors. It is time to make it a priority to improve your security posture. A good place to start is by ensuring your cloud apps are protected with multi-factor authentication and your workforce is using end-point protection software on their home computers. It is also pertinent to ensure devices are enrolled into mobile device management services and single sign-on tools are implemented to better manage application access and the enforcement of complex passwords. There never has been a better time to revisit all your security practices and corporate policies to make sure your assets are protected and the remote workforce is able to meet your business demands.
It is also now critical to ensure your workforce can be productive and can deliver their responsibilities at acceptable levels. This includes but is not limited to service level agreements currently provided to internal and external customers. This may require ensuring your workforce has the proper levels of performance available when it comes to internet bandwidth, voice services, video conferencing services, and other key features necessary to make the home workspace comfortable, productive and healthy.
How do we share in the expenses of the home office? We want to develop a solution that is appropriately balanced to ensure appropriate support and cost sharing is applied. Now is the perfect time to revisit the operating cost to support the workforce. In some cases, the cost has reduced at the office as less resources are utilized and, in some cases, no longer needed. The question to ask is, how should we shift those expenses to support the workforce who are now solely dependent on their home infrastructure? Many companies are now providing stipends to support staff with sharing the cost of the Internet services, equipment upgrades and better ergonomic office equipment to provide a healthier work environment. Keep in mind, this is not a short-term change, and in many cases, it is becoming the new norm. Ensuring your business services are still delivered and delivered efficiently and with the same levels of guarantee will require investing in how to keep the home infrastructure operationally, optimal, protected, updated and recoverable.
In conclusion, as we continue to review, understand, assess and address this new norm, families continue more than ever to co mingle with the same technology infrastructure as their employers. This makes it even more critical for companies to establish work at home policies to ensure company data is protected and employees receive the appropriate levels of support to do their job. It starts to make sense to seriously consider expanding the current support coverage service level agreements to include the entire home technology landscape and not only limited to the employees’ issued laptops. This will require new levels of expanded services from your internal and/or external IT support organization. In addition, this could become a new benefit that companies start offering their employees. Now that we know the home technology infrastructure has a direct correlation with a smooth-functioning remote workforce, it’s time to up your “home office” game. This is where ECHO’s Home and Family plan comes into play. Not only does it provide complete support to the entire home technology landscape of your organization’s remote workforce, but it also provides the option of having stronger cybersecurity measures like endpoint security protection and VPN services in place for the non-corporate assets now being used. Contact us today and learn how ECHO’s Home & Family plan can help your organization and remote workforce.