Starting from 2020, due to the lockdowns triggered by the containment measures of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote working has become an increasingly widespread practice, varying the organization and the equipment necessary to allow all stakeholders access to IT resources outside the traditional corporate perimeter.
After a brief introduction about the various working methods outlined, here we will mainly deal with the remote work phases, trying to understand how workers can get the best experience thanks to some simple behavioral best practices. Finally, we will focus on the IT aspects that need to be addressed to ensure that remote work occurs safely and operationally efficient.
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Remote Working, Hybrid Work, And Intelligent Working
The glossary of corporate work organizations is often enriched with buzzwords driven by the media hype on a particular aspect rather than by the description of their actual meaning. For example, remote working is often confused with teleworking, and the very concept of intelligent working is interpreted rather far from its true connotation. Fortunately, in this case, the reality is more straightforward than you sometimes want to make it seem.
Remote working refers to the phases in which the worker works outside the traditional company headquarters: at home, with third parties, in co-working spaces, or in more particular contexts, such as the so-called nomad working. In these phases, the employee is not connected from the inside to the company network and needs to access company resources to carry out their work remotely.
Hybrid work combines remote work and office work, providing an IT infrastructure that allows workers to have data and applications wherever and at any time.
Smart working refers to another concept, less physical and more organizational, which distances itself from the canonical eight hours from Monday to Friday, regardless of being in the office or working remotely. In its purest dimension, smart working coincides with work by objectives, empowering the worker in the times and how he will be able to obtain the predetermined results based on a flexible commitment.
Hybrid And Remote Work, From Occasion To Rule: What The Polls Say
2020 was the year of forced lockdowns, in which remote work of necessity was done, most of the time to guarantee the very survival of companies and the guarantee of essential public services for the citizen, even with all the pros and cons of what has often been pure and simple improvisation.
2021 was the year of awareness growth, in which many understood how remote work and hybrid work, optimizing travel times, as well as allowing them to better balance work times with private life, have, in many cases overall productivity has been improved, as well as allowing significant savings at the logistical level as regards the provision of office spaces, both as regards leases and maintenance.
2022 is the year the new normal begins to take shape concretely. The mitigation of the clinical consequences of Covid-19, starting from the Omicron variants, allows many companies to facilitate the return to their employees’ offices. Therefore, various strategic approaches are emerging from the most fundamentalist positions, which provide the total return to the office to the more flexible and oriented to hybrid work. Finally, there is no shortage of companies that, at least as regards the activity of some business lines, less tied to physical presence, have opted for a formula that provides 100% remote work.
In short, the watchword in the future of work seems to be flexibility, with remote work destined to become a constant in the global economy of human resources and its operating conditions.
Studies and surveys on the future of working are now wasted. The Future Forum Pulse Survey, published in January 2022, involved over 10 thousand workers in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States, identifying hybrid work as the most popular formula in general, with a 68% of approval rating, with 58% who claim to work in these ways according to the agreements envisaged with the company.
Among the most appreciated qualities of hybrid 100%, remote workers are a better balance between work and private life, less general stress, and greater overall satisfaction, with 78% of respondents saying they appreciate the flexibility of the place. Of work, even 95% recognize the supreme quality of being able to organize their time better.
There would therefore be no doubt about what is the most appreciated way of working by employees, to the point that, according to research carried out by Microsoft and YouGov at the end of 2021, it estimates that 51% of British workers would willing to abandon their employment immediately, should your company cease to allow at least a portion of remote work.
The survey found that a step backward in this direction could have severe repercussions for companies in terms of efficiency. The absence of the benefits of hybrid / remote work would cause the risk of losing talent (38%), a direct negative impact on productivity (25%), physical and mental well-being (24%) due to burnout (23%) ), causing on several fronts an objective difficulty in remaining attractive compared to competitors who favor hybrid work formulas (23%).
Also very interesting is what emerges from the work by Unpacking The Hype About The Great Resignation, carried out by Forrester as a moment of investigation on the much talked about phenomenon of significant resignations.
According to a famous American analyst, the IT workforce already suffered from a noticeable talent gap before the pandemic. The possibility of working remotely would have practically offered workers the proverbial knife on the side of the handle, vastly expanding the option of choice. Compared to the traditional local context, bound by physical proximity.
In other words, the possibility of working remotely has offered the best talents the chance of winning better contracts and negotiating working conditions in their favor compared to the pre-pandemic period. According to Forrester, for various reasons, companies that fail to guarantee at least some flexibility would be witnessing an actual hemorrhage of talent, which resigns to go in search of more exciting opportunities from the point of view of work/life balance. Private.
Working Well Remotely: A Matter Of Self-Discipline
Suppose there is no doubt that, in various respects, working at least a few days of the week remotely constitutes an element favorable to the employee’s well-being and the quality of work to guarantee the latter. In that case, it is necessary to organize efficiently.
This is a condition that is far from obvious, especially when working from home, in a situation of promiscuity with a private life that does not always facilitate the discipline to be guaranteed about the tasks one is called to perform. However, it is easy to pay some attention to some best practices to improve the quality and satisfaction in remote work consistently.
Have Adequate Tools And Devices Dedicated, If Possible, Only To Work
The hardware and software equipment are fundamental elements for working comfortably and efficiently. Very often, especially in the first lockdown, many workers found themselves working from home with their means, making a mixed-use that certainly does not facilitate the productivity and safety of their work.
Working from home is fine, but you must be organized to avoid unproductive bottlenecks. This observation also applies specifically to work spaces since a dedicated workstation free from sources of distraction that may come from the family environment would be appropriate even within the home.
One aspect to which the necessary attention must be paid when operating mainly remotely is the quality of one’s internet connection and the communication devices used to interface with collaboration software such as Teams, Zoom, or Webex.
Unfortunately, we often find ourselves in meetings with people who use low-quality webcams and microphones or unreliable connections. In addition to penalizing communication and increasing the stress in conversations, this deplorable attitude expresses an evident lack of professionalism which, especially in the case of relationships with third parties, risks offering a negative image to the company itself.
Break Free From Office Distractions
Remote work, especially from home, protects you from the distractions that can occur in the office, especially in contexts that do not stand out regarding the organization’s quality. Many workers interviewed in the various surveys say they focus more on working from home than situations that arise in the office, in contact with other colleagues.
Many complain, above all, the fact that the office is often physically called for meetings or requests, which causes a continuous interruption of the operational phases. Remotely, on the other hand, it is possible to organize and plan such moments to find the necessary balance between the operational and relational steps.
Optimize Work Times Within The Day
The organization of one’s time is one of the most subjective aspects concerning remote working, mainly if it falls within the context of intelligent working proper. The worker is not required to follow a standard timetable but can be said to be free. Organize their business according to the achievement of the objectives set by the company.
Some workers prefer to concentrate on the operational phases when they feel fresher and more productive, leaving the meeting phases to the afternoon. But this is not an absolute rule. The important thing is to give it to oneself, a power, to avoid being dragged chaotically by daily events.
In these cases, it is therefore advisable to initially search for a routine to be perfected based on experience. Especially when working from home, it is possible, for example, to take advantage of the synergy with leisure activities. A frequent case is physical activity performance before starting the working day. It is a condition that increases the level of energy and well-being but is more complex to make it coincide with a small routine linked to work in the office.
Maintain An Adequate Level Of Sociability Thanks To Hybrid Work
Suppose the correct balance between work and private life is the essential quality of remote work. In that case, this condition can generate some criticalities if you cannot achieve a good level of balance, tending to isolate yourself excessively in the family environment, to how enjoyable this can be.
This aspect is particularly highlighted in the creative professions, which require moments of brainstorming and communion with the other stakeholders involved in the projects.
In some situations, human contact remains essential to guarantee the optimal quality of the work one is called to do. In such contexts, hybrid work is the optimal dimension to reconcile the benefits of remote work with the mutuality of time spent in the office with one’s collaborators. Returning to what has been expressed above, also in this case, it is necessary to regulate one’s time, reserving appropriate spaces for meetings, to ensure essential continuity in the purely operational phases.
The Role Of Cloud Adoption In Hybrid Work: SaaS To Work Anywhere And Safely
The first effect we saw in 2020 when most of the workers were denied access to the traditional office, thus having to carry out their duties from home, was a profound revolution in the IT organization, first in the emergency. , later in the routine.
The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the digital transformation processes underway drastically, spurring companies that had not yet moved in this direction. The realities already equipped with an IT model functional to smart working are those that have found a more significant competitive advantage, being ready to absorb this shock.
The condition of having to guarantee full availability to data and applications at any time makes the cloud, and in particular the Software-as-a-Service, the most friendly environment to remodel one’s IT infrastructure, making it more agile, easy to manage and, above all, scalable according to the variation of workloads generated by business trends.
Thanks to SaaS, it is not necessary to install anything locally, so the responsibility remains limited to the aspects related to authentication and data sharing. By logging in through a web browser, employees can have everything they need to work remotely, in full compliance with their permissions, by company policies.
Furthermore, problems relating to IT security should not be overlooked. The global increase in online activity has generated a drastic increase in the volume of data on the network, attracting the attention of malicious people. Cybercrime has recently experienced significant growth, favored by the physiological increase in the attack surface of corporate IT infrastructures.
In addition to securing the infrastructure and solving latent vulnerabilities, companies must guarantee the security of the devices and accounts that access their services from the inside and, above all, from the outside. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that every instrument that attempts to access the company network from the outside is authenticated, and it is equally crucial to develop a correct culture of IT hygiene.
In addition to the technical and organizational provisions in the IT field, companies must necessarily provide proper training moments to sensitize their employees on IT security to prevent trivial errors from opening the proverbial door to the thief, generating situations from which they can cause economic and reputational damage, even quite considerable, primarily when the attacks result in a breach of confidential data (data breach) and an interruption of the services provided.