All around the world, businesses now confront a new workplace reality wrought by the recent pandemic. It’s that large swaths of the workforce simply have no interest in coming back to their offices. That shift now means businesses must embrace remote work accommodations if they haven’t already. Otherwise, they face imminent staff shortages and difficulties retaining top talent.
To make the transition, however, previously non-remote businesses must undertake a bit of a technology makeover. They need new tools to support and manage their newly-remote employees. And among them, there are a few must-haves that can make or break their entire remote work program. Here are the four most important technologies for businesses to adopt to ensure remote work success.
A Unified Cloud-based Communication Solution
One of the biggest challenges that come with supporting a remote workforce is the need to facilitate seamless communications between far-flung individual workers. And it’s also necessary to make sure that communication with the outside — customers, suppliers, and others — isn’t impeded. In an all-remote environment, the technology required to make it all happen is a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform.
They’re cloud-based services that provide multi-channel communications such as VoIP telephony, video conferencing, SMS, and chat capabilities. With the right UCaaS solution in place, a fully-remote workforce functions, communications-wise, as though they worked in a single office location. And for external contacts, connecting with anyone within the business operates just the same as it would in a traditional office setting.
Employee Monitoring and Time Tracking Technology
One of the major reasons businesses traditionally frowned upon remote work was a perceived lack of control over employees’ daily activity. Today, however, there’s a variety of remote work software solutions that include employee monitoring and time tracking functionality. They make it possible for employers to maintain visibility into how their employees spend each workday. They also facilitate the development of workflows better suited to a remote environment through the analysis of task completion times. With such a solution in place, businesses can maintain or even improve upon the productivity they previously enjoyed in the office setting.
Online Collaboration Tools
Communication between geographically-dispersed employees is one thing, but collaboration between them is another. The natural gives and takes in an office environment lend themselves well to collaborative efforts between employees. In a remote setting, however, that give and take requires deliberate measures to make it possible. That’s where digital collaboration tools come in. Solutions like shared whiteboards, screen sharing, and project management tools help teams work together from afar as fluidly as they did while in a shared office space.
Endpoint Management and Cybersecurity Tools
Last but not least, businesses making the transition to an all or partially-remote workforce must consider the data security ramifications of doing so. Whether they issue company-owned hardware to remote workers or rely on a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model, the risk to company data remains. For that reason, businesses supporting remote workers must choose and deploy endpoint management and cybersecurity solution onto every device that will handle company data. For businesses dealing with company-owned hardware, that’s a straightforward process. But for those with a need to protect employee-owned hardware, a BYOD-specific endpoint solution is the order of the day.
Like it or not, today’s businesses must evolve to support remote workers. By adding the preceding four technologies to their arsenal immediately, they increase their odds of doing so successfully. With the right tools in place, they’ll enjoy seamless communications and collaboration, complete visibility into and control of how their employees approach their tasks, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing their data remains safe no matter where it travels. With those outcomes secure, they can move into the remote-work future with confidence — and do away with the hiring and retention struggles they now face in the post-pandemic era.