Arraya Insights | March 25, 2020
As we’ve discussed previously on this blog, the growing threat posed by the coronavirus has transformed remote work from a perk into a necessity. Workplaces around the world – including Arraya’s home base in Montgomery County, PA – have asked office-based team members to stay home to help stem the spread of the virus. Here’s the thing, many industries have trended toward increasing remote work capabilities for quite a while now. As such, remote work shouldn’t be looked at as merely a temporary fix. Instead, those organizations that have embraced it – or that are planning to do so – can expect to see long term benefits.
Released last fall, Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work 2019 report dove into the realities and drivers of workplace flexibility. Here are a few statistics cited in this report that caught our eye:
- More than half (54%) of those surveyed work from home at least once per month. Just shy of half (48%) do so at least once a week.
- An overwhelming number of those surveyed (83%) said that workplace flexibility would make them happier.
- Happiness is important, but equally high numbers of survey participants also felt the ability to work remotely would lead to greater productivity (79%) and increased company loyalty (74%).
Owl Labs’ report underscores both the perceived value of and the trend toward remote work even before the coronavirus forced the subject into the public health discourse. If you’re new to this conversation, it can be a little overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider and tensions are running high right now. Here’s a quick primer of just a few of the tools and techniques organizations can use as a point of entry into the world of greater workplace flexibility.
Preserving the normal rhythms of the workday
Remote work shouldn’t become an obstacle separating employees from some semblance of their normal routines. In an earlier post, we highlighted steps taken by Microsoft and Cisco to keep teams connected even as they are forced to spread out. Leveraging Microsoft’s Teams or Cisco’s Webex can help keep those lines of communication and collaboration open and strong.
However, Teams and Webex only address one facet of remote work. Employees also need access to the galaxy of applications and programs that have become integral to their workdays. Solutions like VMware Horizon and Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop virtualize desktops so that they’re not tied to any specific device and instead can be accessed from wherever employees are, from multiple devices. If changes need to be made or new tools need to be pushed out to users, IT can do so via the single pane of glass created by these solutions. With virtual desktops, not only can workers do their jobs from wherever they happen to be, IT can too.
Here’s a brief flyby of each:
- virtualizes Windows 10 desktops as well as industry-leading productivity apps included under the Office 365 ProPlus brand
- unites management of Windows 10, Windows Server, and even – if you’re still using them (hopefully you’re not) legacy Windows 7 desktops and apps
- can be scaled up or down as dictated by an organization’s usage demands
- multi-session, pooled capabilities allow for high quality employee experiences while keeping costs down by capping virtual machine usage
- supports both Windows and Linux workloads
- is part of a suite of VMware offerings (including vSphere, NSX, etc.) designed to get organizations up and running with a software-defined data center quickly and with minimal overhead
- simplified authentication that balances security concerns with usability, ensuring that employees can access the applications or workflows they need safely and hassle-free
- allows for rapid deployment of necessary resources across the entirety of a user base to prevent performance lag
Managing the transition to (and fallout from) a remote work culture
Even with the right tools, supporting increasingly, or entirely, remote workforces can present a unique set of challenges for IT teams. The move to a primarily remote posture is bound to generate a mountain or more of support desk tickets, especially during the early stages. Needy users – who may have once been only a short walk away – are suddenly separated by a computer screen and an internet connection, complicating issue resolution and potentially driving up frustrations on both sides.
In these cases, it can help to bring in a Managed Services partner who is already intimately familiar with the world of remote support. By serving as a scalable extension of an organization’s Service Desk, a partner can keep the volume of work in front of in-house IT teams at more manageable levels. Additionally, this provider should also be able to help maintain the technologies upon which more modern work-from-home strategies are built.
Check out our infographic: Enabling and Managing Greater Workforce Flexibility
Next Steps: Bring greater flexibility to your workforce
The health and well being of employees and all of our surrounding communities should take priority as this situation unfolds. If your organization needs a hand adapting to a less centralized work style, reach out to Arraya today. Our team can provide more info on the above solutions and services, as well as others, allowing for greater flexibility. Head to https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/ to start a conversation with our team now.