As companies redefine the workplace and the workday, it’s important that they consider the business’s software as an essential component of the transformation equation.
The rapid transition to and expansion of hybrid and remote offices has led to an increase in policies like BYOD (bring your own device). While the tech decisions of the past 18 months may have been made when there were few or no viable alternatives, companies that plan to adopt hybrid and remote work permanently need to be more deliberate about the tools and technologies they deploy.
Remote Policies introduce new security concerns and accessibility challenges
Nearly half of companies report an increased use of personal devices amongst their employees, with 80% permitting BYOD in some capacity. Although this has enabled many employees to work remotely, it could also make companies susceptible to productivity and accessibility challenges (at best) and cyberattacks, unauthorized access and stolen data (at worst).
Business owners must have a clear grasp of their cloud software tech stack and invest in solutions that allow their employees to work efficiently and safely on their own devices.
Outside of security concerns, maintaining work culture in a remote or hybrid environment has become increasingly challenging. In addition to rethinking office design and empowering teams with flexible work arrangements, businesses can leverage innovative apps and software to keep employees connected and streamline their workday. These are the tools and technologies small businesses need to foster a successful remote work environment:
Simplify account management with Single Sign-On platforms
Single Sign-On (SSO) solutions provide users with an easier way to access all of their accounts. This solution allows you to free your employees from the hassle of managing countless log-ins and passwords, replacing the chaos with a single set of credentials.
With apps like Okta, OneLogin, JumpCloud and Rippling, your employees can quickly access their accounts while the business ensures that its users aren’t using easy-to-guess passwords or reusing passwords across multiple accounts.
Connect with communication platforms designed for hybrid work
Many businesses are familiar with remote communications platforms out of necessity. Indeed the number of workers using video conference tools alone has increased by as much as 2.7x since the pandemic, with businesses reporting an increase by as much as five fold in time spent on video conferencing platforms.
Many small businesses have flocked to Slack and Zoom for communications outside of email, but there are several great options available. Some platforms like Google Chat and Meet and Microsoft Teams may help small businesses cut costs by bundling chat and video capabilities together.
Meet the demands of remote project management
Solutions like chat platforms and video conferencing apps have made communication easier for businesses to manage; however, these tools are best suited for synchronous work – i.e. everyone is on the Zoom call or the Slack channel at the same time during traditional working hours. For that reason, these solutions aren’t ideal for remote project management.
Instead, businesses should invest in a project management platform that allows teams to build to-do lists, assign tasks, share files and assets, manage project calendars and track progress. There are dozens of project management platforms to choose from; popular options for small businesses include Asana, Monday, Trello, Wrike and Jira.
Remember, however, that certain platforms may work better for different types of teams. For example, your development team may prefer a different platform than your marketing team, so it’s important that team leaders have a say in the platform selection process.
Manage your knowledge base
Do you know where all of your company’s knowledge lives? If you’re like most small businesses, it’s probably scattered across Google Drives, individual documents and Sharepoint. This format, however, is highly inefficient for communicating knowledge to a remote team.
Investing in a Learning Management System (LMS) – like Moodle, TalentLMS, Docebo or Canvas – or an internal knowledge base platform – like Guru or Zendesk – will make it easier for you to educate remote employees and, in turn, make it easier for them to navigate the information and resources they need to do their job effectively. Whether they’re trying to understand how a product works or looking up a sales battlecard against your top competitors, organized and centralized knowledge management is a must for remote work.
Boost employee preparedness with online cybersecurity training
The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds especially true in a work environment that The Wall Street Journal characterized as a “cybersecurity nightmare” and “hacker’s dream.” During the pandemic, cyberattacks increased by a startling 400%. Companies can limit their vulnerability by educating their employees, who may not be taking smart precautions with their devices. In a recent survey, 30% say they allow someone else to use their work device and 46% report using their work laptop for “life admin.”
There are a number of security awareness training programs online that businesses can use as well as tools that can be directly integrated into employee’s online browsers to alert your IT team or security expert to suspicious activity.
The bottom line
Over the past 18 months, many of the tools, technologies and remote policies companies have adopted have been selected and implemented ad hoc and out of necessity. But as companies start to refine their plan for moving forward, it’s important that their approach to remote software matures into something more strategic and thoughtful.