by Danika Ciullo, Marketing Advisor
Three years ago, the Covid-19 pandemic forced a seachange in how we work as millions of people were locked down - trading their cubicle and the 9-5 commute for a home office.
For some, that meant camping out at the dining table for months with a laptop and a headset, and ushering the kids out of the background of Zoom calls. But I’d argue that one of the few positive outcomes of the pandemic is the trend it spurred towards greater flexibility in working arrangements and the spread of “bring your own device” (BYOD).
Hybrid work has allowed hundreds of thousands of Kiwis the autonomy to plan their working day, improving their work-life balance. It’s a net positive on the equity front, allowing women to more easily juggle work and childcare commitments.
Hybrid work is giving us our time back
New Zealand employers have largely embraced the flexible work movement, settling on their own definition of ‘hybrid’ work.
Some companies consider that to be an arrangement with employees, allowing them to divide their time between the office and home. Others have ordered many employees back to the office, but continue to operate select teams remotely.
However organisations approach hybrid work, many of them need to take a fresh look at the technology they use to enable seamless operations, like which devices are allowed if you are doing BYOD.
And that’s hugely to allow employees to remain productive working from home after the flurry of work stand up systems have undertaken in 2020 and 2021.
In 2023, we are advising clients who are paying special attention to remote work and BYOD as part of their digital transformation strategy. There are five key technology areas they are looking at as they do so:
Employees can access data and applications from anywhere with an internet connection and many ‘as a service’ software products have leveraged the cloud to great effect.
Most New Zealand organisations are now in the cloud to some degree, but 2023 sees a more methodical approach to cloud migration of infrastructure and applications with hybrid working a key driver.
Despite an element of Zoom-fatigue, we continue to rack up the hours in Zoom, in video conference meetings at home.
The likes of Microsoft Teams and Google Meet really have become essential collaboration tools, enabling employees to hold virtual meetings, share screens, and collaborate on documents in real-time.
Communication tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat enable employees to communicate in real-time and stay connected even when working remotely.
Bonus: most of the solutions offer video calling, calendars, and integration with document systems.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
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The key to enabling employees to work productively from wherever they are is a focus on security. Remote workers are constantly targeted with phishing, ransomware and malware attacks as cybercriminals know many of them still may be operating on insecure home networks.
Managing cyber risks with BYOD and remote work
The BYOD (bring your own device) movement has created additional risks, though the ability to provision new company computers and smartphones remotely, couriering the devices to workers’ homes, has at the same time made onboarding of new employees easier.
Working from home comes with increased risk of data breaches and data privacy violations, requiring best-practice data policies to be employed, and strong authentication is essential to ensure that only authorised users can access sensitive information.
The increasing sophistication of hacking attacks and social engineering campaigns is stretching the capabilities of many organisations when it comes to security.
Adequate training and regular security audits are now essential.
Finally, with hybrid working arrangements now well-established, business leaders are grappling with the task of monitoring and fostering employee productivity and wellbeing across a distributed workforce.
We’ve seen the rise of platforms like Microsoft Viva, the software giant’s employee engagement application, which is being incorporated with AI tools from this year to draw insights from data generated in Viva.
Microsoft’s Work Trends Report released last month found that a publicly listed US company has, on average, a US$46,511 increase in its market capitalisation per employee, for every additional point of engagement reported by employees.
“Put simply, companies with highly engaged workforces had better financial outcomes. Leaders need to treat employee engagement with the same strategic importance as business and financial outcomes,” Microsoft reported.
Business owners and employees alike have so much to gain from embracing flexible working arrangements, and technology is key to making it happen.
Contact CIO Studio for advice on how to embrace hybrid work and BYOD in the most productive and cost-effective way, employing technology to allow your employees to work securely wherever they are.