With virtually no warning, organisations were forced to send employees home and quickly find ways to keep them connected and productive. For those who had to remain in the office, stringent new health and safety measures made the experience very different from the norm.
Now, as businesses come to terms with the fallout of the pandemic, many are realising the modern workplace is now a very different thing. It’s also something that will vary from person to person and needs to be flexible and adaptable at all times.
Equipping the workplace
When virus-related disruptions first occurred, many staff were sent packing with little more than a laptop and a mobile phone. Suddenly finding themselves working from the kitchen table or a spare bedroom, they had to quickly adjust their working patterns and processes.
Almost two years later, companies are realising they need to pay more attention to how their staff are equipped and how their productivity can be maintained. As well as laptops and mobile phones, they need to consider everything from headphones and microphones to cameras, keyboards, and screens.
Of course, modern workplaces are more than just the devices used by staff. Businesses also need to ensure the right services are in place to minimise outages and ensure any issues that arise are fixed immediately.
As well as proactive monitoring, in many cases there needs to be a 24/7 help desk to provide efficient remote support. This will help to minimise the costs associated with downtime and improve employee satisfaction and productivity.
Separating work life from home life
One of the downsides of working from home that is being experienced by many people is the blending of professional and personal lives. When there’s zero commuting between the breakfast table and the home office, it’s easy for boundaries to disappear.
As a result, many organisations are realising it’s important for staff to have work setups at home that don’t encroach on personal space. As well as increasing productivity, this also boosts happiness and helps employees feel more comfortable working remotely.
To achieve this, staff need to have devices and accessories that look nice inside their home. It might sound trivial, but the look and feel of modern workplace technology has become more important than ever.
Don’t forget security
Having effective IT security in place within the home workplace is also very important. Cybercriminals are finding new and more sophisticated ways to target businesses, and this is especially the case with more and more employees working remotely.
A modern workplace needs to be able to adapt and stay ahead of increasing cyber threats, to proactively prevent breaches and keep businesses protected. Also, because homes don’t have the same level of cybersecurity as an office, device security becomes more important than ever.
Many businesses are choosing to equip staff with devices that already have security built in, and then augment them with other tools and services. In some cases, organisations are also turning to security experts to help them manage equipment and ensure security is maintained.
The importance of agility
In this new world of work, another important factor is agility. This is vital to ensure that staff can keep up with changes in everything from internal workflows to the demands of customers.
To achieve this, more attention is being given to IT applications that can be delivered ‘as-a-service’. This means staff can have access to the resources they require without the organisation needing to invest in new on-premise hardware and software.
Such cloud-based as-a-service offerings can include anything from email and communications services to productivity suites such as Microsoft Office 365. Storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox can also go a long way to giving remote workers access to the resources they need to get their jobs done.
To ensure such services are correctly configured and managed, increasing numbers of organisations are turning to technology partners for assistance. These partners can provide a comprehensive range of services that cover security, device setup, monitoring, management, and ongoing support.
Going down the “as-a-service” path means a business can pick and choose exactly what solutions it requires to meet the needs of its staff. It also means internal IT teams will have more time to be proactive rather than reactive and constantly fixing issues.
The modern workplace of today might be very different from what it used to be, but that doesn’t mean staff can’t be just as productive and satisfied as they were when in the office. Consider whether your organisation has built an effective workplace for all workers, or whether there remains work to be done.
Nathan Kramer is Modern Workplace Manager, Somerville.