The Remote Workforce: Business as Usual Post-COVID

By Patricia Ross

Like many of us in March 2020, Kristen, a service delivery manager for a global financial institution, found her and her team had replaced their cubicles with home offices. This work environment transformation caught many off guard. For Kristen, who is responsible for managing a team of more than 30, moving from traditional offices to remote teams made her very anxious.

“I was used to people telecommuting a day or two, sometimes even a week, but there was talk from HR that this could last several months. I wasn’t sure how we were going to pull it off.”

A year later, many companies have found that having remote employees works for them. This has led some to look at remote working as a full-time opportunity.

What is a Remote Workforce?

Remote work or telecommuting isn’t anything new. For decades, a variety of professional roles, from sales reps to transcriptionists, have worked away from the office. Over the last few years, forward-looking organizations have incorporated some kind of remote work strategy, even if it was just one day a week.

The move from work being the physical location where you do your job to being what you do, not where you do it, is the key principle of a remote workforce. As technological innovations accelerated, offering work-from-home opportunities became more prevalent. Digital workspaces with virtual apps and desktops and simplified collaboration removed some of the barriers to having a remote workforce.

How COVID Impacted the Remote Workforce

Like Kristen, many corporate leaders had to quickly shift their teams to fully remote work, sometimes with only a day’s notice. Prior to the shutdown, only about 5% of full-time office employees primarily worked from home.

With basic tools and technology in place to support a minimal work-from-home strategy, Kristen had to develop new ways to manage her remote team. “Parents, like me, had to develop new work arrangements where they could balance working with helping their children adapt to new learning models. This also meant that as a manager, I had to adapt to focusing more on tasks being completed instead of hours being logged.”

This new way of working provided business leaders with the ability to see first-hand and under fire, just what their teams could do working from home. Prior to the pandemic, a key factor in not having a remote workforce was the fear that work would never get done. It actually has been the opposite. Even in the chaos of a global pandemic, remote workers were as productive and sometimes more productive.

The Future of Remote Working

According to Global Workplace Analytics, 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. This number goes up to more than 40% for professional and office workers in a survey conducted by The Conference Board.

At the start of the pandemic, many companies were unprepared to support and engage an entirely remote workforce. Now with the tools, technology, and culture in place from working remotely for a year, many organizations are looking at making remote work permanent.

Benefits of a Remote Workforce post COVID

Over the past year, business leaders have been able to see for themselves how a remote workforce can deliver positive business outcomes.

  1. Worker productivity: Without the distractions of a traditional office setting, employees are more in-tune with their work tasks, making them more efficient. A survey conducted by Airtasker, found that remote employees work over 3 more weeks a year than their office-based counterparts.
  2. Cost savings:Implementing a work-from-home model can enable companies to shed real estate and utilities overheads. For those who need an office once in a while, coworking spaces, where different companies share office spaces, and spread out the cost of equipment and utilities, could be the answer. Offering the option to work from home, even part time, can also cut labor costs. Many employees admit that they would take a small pay cut or even give up an increase to work remotely.
  3. Employee engagement: Having more control over their work environment and less stress of a daily commute are key factors in greater employee engagement. Those working from home are also more likely to take fewer sick days and be willing to work evenings or weekends when work necessitates.
  4. Employee hiring and retention: Remote work models create a broader hiring pool for businesses wanting the best talent. Potential prospects are willing to not only make salary concessions to work from home, but often will also adjust their work schedule to your time zone. Holding on to top employees is also a benefit. When asked if they would change jobs to work remotely, 54% of workers said, “Yes.”
  5. Work-life balance: According to a Stanford University report, 80% of remote workers said they had a better work-life balance than when they commuted to work. Companies that prioritize a healthy work-life balance among their employees benefit from less turnover.
  6. Technology ROI: Companies had to move forward with digital transformation plans quickly to keep their businesses moving during the pandemic. Implementing tech, such as endpoint mobility management solutions, and expanding their BYOD meant investing in new technology to empower their workforce. Companies are choosing to get more out of their tech ROI by continuing with an effective remote-work model.
  7. Business continuity: Pandemic or natural disaster, we all saw how quickly where we work can change. Enabling employees to work remotely strengthens the ability to maintain business as usual, even in the most trying times.

EMM and BYOD Solutions Improve the Remote Workforce

The increase in the remote workforce means a substantial increase in all the devices used to get the job done.

The first step in your remote-workforce strategy should be an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution. From a single platform, your IT staff can manage all your corporate-owned and employee BYOD devices, and the sensitive corporate data on them, no matter where they are.

EMM also empowers your end users to be more productive with a suite of mobile business-critical productivity apps and single sign-on that automatically authenticates all users. From configuring user profiles and managing policies to tracking assets and apps, EMM simplifies the management of your entire mobile fleet.

Creating BYOD policies is the next step in getting the most out of your remote workforce. With an EMM platform in place, you can set use policies and help maintain the efficacy of business-critical apps on employees’ personal devices. This is especially important when it comes to security.

Using containerization, EMM helps ensure that things like accidentally sharing confidential corporate information is impossible. It also protects the user’s personal data, preventing corporate infringement on employee privacy.

That leads to the third part of an effective remote workforce strategy, having the right partners to fill in the gaps. Vox Mobile is wherever you are. Our experienced team can help you choose and implement the right EMM solution to fit your business. We work with all the industry-leading managed mobility solution manufacturers and are certified to provide you with support you can trust.

Already have an EMM solution, but now have to expand your licenses to support more employees working from home? Vox Mobile provides substantial licensing discounts to help you get more ROI out of your mobility investment.

As a single-source provider for software licensing acquisition, adoption, and management, the Vox Mobile team has extensive expertise developing comprehensive mobility strategies for a variety of industries.

Ask a Vox Mobile expert how you can improve your remote workforce.