Can Calgary Organizations Thrive In A Remote Work Environment Long Term?
Although traditional 9-to-5ers once stood in awe of the live-work lifestyles of digital nomads, business leaders are mulling the prospect of making the shift to offsite productivity.
Organizations have been steadily trending in the work-from-home direction for more than a decade. The U.S. saw exponential remote workforce growth that exceeded 150 percent over the last decade. Canadian organizations lagged our southern neighbour with only 4-in-10 working offsite during the first quarter of 2020, according to Statistics Canada.
But the economic disruption caused by the pandemic prompted Calgary entrepreneurs, CEOs, and other decision-makers to enlist the help of managed IT professionals to increase their remote infrastructure. The question on the minds of many Calgary thought leaders is whether or not they can thrive as a truly modern work environment.
Common Concerns About Managing A Remote Work Environment
It’s not unusual for management teams to harbour significant reservations about employee oversight. Keeping workers on task was already an uphill battle. Too many work hours were already spent on social media, watching YouTube videos, texting friends, and taking extended breaks. The notion a department will no longer be under a supervisor’s watchful eye seems to invite a productivity nosedive. These are typical concerns about pivoting to a remote workforce.
Unproductive Workers: Not everyone has the ability to work independently. Some believe working from home — or anywhere offsite — allows them the flexibility to do household chores or run errands while earning wages.
Lack of Communication: Management teams and frontline employees often express concerns about losing the informal contact found in physical office spaces. Losing so-called watercooler talk and the ability to knock on a colleague’s office door for a quick power-meeting can be worrisome.
Gaming the System: While most employees put in an honest day’s work for their salary, every once in a while you hire a scam artist. Bilking the company and clients for billable hours can be increasingly easy without adequate oversight.
The notion that team members are out of sight and less productive may be the greatest misconception about the modern remote office. Research indicates that remote productivity can exceed brick-and-mortar workspaces by using cutting edge technologies.
Benefits of the Modern Remote Work Environment
According to Forbes, research conducted by wide-reaching authoritative sources that include Gallup, Harvard University, and Global Workplace Analytics, among others, indicates that transitioning to the modern remote workforce appears to be an organization’s best interest. Data compiled by remote workforce studies reportedly points to the following quantifiable benefits.
Improved Productivity: Studies highlight a sustainable 35-40 percent increase in productivity over in-house employees. Output also increased by 4.4 percent on average.
Quality Improvements: Remote employees demonstrated upwards of 40 percent fewer defects and deficiencies in the work quality.
Consistency: Modern remote workers show improved task engagement and 41 percent less absenteeism.
Employee Retention: Surveys indicate that 54 percent of the workforce state they would take a new job that offered more flexibility. Remote policies typically result in 12 percent less staff turnover.
Increased Revenue: Organizations typically average $11,000 in annual savings on part-time remote workers.
These benefits are driving reasons why forward-thinking industry leaders plan to maintain and potentially increase their work-from-anywhere capabilities implemented out of necessity. More than 80 percent anticipate keeping remote position in place for the long haul, according to Gartner.
“Nearly half (47%) said they intend to allow employees to work remotely full time going forward. For some organizations, flex time will be the new norm as 43% of survey respondents reported they will grant employees flex days, while 42% will provide flex hours,” a Gartner study states.
The hard data undoubtedly points to augmenting an organization’s remote footprint. But the challenge of navigating from physical in-house computer networks to a more Cloud-based system remains. Calgary business visionaries will need to leverage technologies and platforms that can make the transition seamless.
Managed IT Solutions Support Remote Work Environment Success
Escaping the limits of a physical workplace means finding a pathway that allows an organization to overcome its collective fears and embrace the desire to thrive without boundaries.
Given that an operation will need to shift to a robust Cloud-based system, next-generation technologies are the solution. Ranked among the leading business platforms, Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams help mitigate potential concerns while enhancing company productivity. These are solutions that have made the platform essential to businesses.
Enhanced Communication: The platform replaces informal and formal interactions with real-time remote capabilities from anywhere. Users gain the ability to engage in one-on-one or group chats from mobile devices. There’s no need to walk down the hall and knock on a colleague’s door because they are one tap and a device screen away. The business software offers formal conferencing capabilities that allow up to 10,000 people to join at any given time from laptops, desktops, or mobile devices. The logistical hurdles of key stakeholders commuting to a conference room are erased.
Improved Collaboration: Seamless file-sharing remains a bedrock of a Cloud-based Microsoft Teams investment. Microsoft already forms the foundation of productivity tools such as Word documents, PowerPoint, and Excel files, among others. Teams allows remote workers to access digital files from anywhere and at any time.
Determined Cybersecurity: The Microsoft 365 family of products rank among the most secure on the market today. Organizations that rely on them for profit-driving task completion enjoy high-level security options. These include multi-factor authentication for login profiles, zero-trust access policies, encrypted data transmissions, and the latest in endpoint security, among others.
Workforce Management: Virtual Microsoft business products can be deftly configured to improve supervisory roles. Managers can assign tasks, check progress, and provide direction. In terms of oversight, the platform offers managers the ability to generate activity reports that demonstrate use. There’s no gaming the Microsoft system.
Transitioning to a modern remote work environment also gives organizations access to talented people outside the immediate commuter radius. That possibility alone can help Calgary organizations gather the knowledge and expertise to compete on a regional and international level.
If you are an industry leader considering modernizing your work environment so that it enjoys long-term success, CTECH Consulting Group provides the managed IT expertise necessary for Calgary and Southern Alberta businesses to thrive.