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Remote Work: Four Next Steps for Your Business

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Dave Seybold, President, Americas, Avenade
Dave Seybold, president, Americas, Avanade

One thing is clear, the pandemic exposed many of us to remote working on a grand scale, and for many of us remote working is here to stay. While remote workforces have kept some businesses going strong and helped others get back on their feet, it hasn’t all been a bed of roses. As markets worldwide experienced phenomenal disruption to businesses, industries and supply chains, companies have had to rethink their infrastructure and business models to determine how to course-correct in order to survive and thrive in the face of uncertainty.

As we head into summer and continue to course-correct for the future, these four recommendations and considerations can help businesses facilitate and deploy successful remote workforce solutions, so that individuals and companies can react, respond and reset at speed to keep their businesses moving forward.

Four Recommendations and Considerations

1. Assess: Ask yourself these critical questions about your business to gauge your company’s culture for digital connectivity:

  • How well is your workforce connected right now?
  • Is the right technology in place to ensure responsiveness, productivity and a positive employee experience?
  •  Are the right people in the right roles to pivot teams and priorities for the tasks ahead?

Never before have the stakes been so high. According to the US Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2005 and 2017, remote working increased by approximately 160%, but by 2017 represented just under 4% of the workforce. Fast forward to the here and now, where the companies that continue to thrive are the ones that adapted to remote working at unprecedented speed and scale, reaping these noteworthy outcomes:

  • System implementations taking days instead of months
  • Employees experiencing greater flexibility, productivity, job satisfaction and work/life balance
  • Reduced commuting costs and office space costs
  • Access to nationwide pools of top talent not restricted by geography
  • Putting a digital infrastructure in place to ensure future response readiness to disruption or change

2. Your North star: The biggest takeaway from working through the pandemic is that preparing people and technology is tantamount both to ensure business continuity and to make it easy for individuals to work successfully from home. Successful remote working hinges on the availability of digital communication and collaboration tools. When trying to synchronize business systems and people virtually, leveraging your digital technologies is an asset to mitigating risk and overcoming issues before they become problems.

Andy Marselos, North America, Modern Workplace Leader, Avanade

The NHS (National Health System) in the UK engaged Avanade to help their 1.2 million NHSmail health care and social workers stay connected and collaborate quickly, effectively and remotely during the global pandemic. We built, tested, and did a full Microsoft Teams integration and implementation in just seven days. In doing so, we learned that by collaborating and working with companion teams from Accenture, Microsoft and NHS Digital, we could respond to an urgent need for rapid implementation to ensure their connectivity and productivity.

3. A growth mindset: Remote working requires new guidelines, expectations and outcomes. Get your leadership team together to ensure you’re demonstrating an ability and willingness to adapt and problem-solve within a digital workspace. You can do this by tapping into some examples that demonstrate how remote workforces can be effective to scale, and flexible enough to work cross-office, cross-region and cross-geos from any place in the world.

4. Client and employee experience: As you create your own reliable digital connectivity systems to work sustainably now and into the future, be attentive to creating positive employee and client experiences. During crisis and disruption, the strength of a company’s culture and community is essential to keeping the business moving forward. It is also an opportunity to explore new ways to improve processes and introduce innovation that increases profitability, productivity and revenue growth.

Of course, the real win comes from those glimmering stories of success that give us hope. For example, the U.S. hospital that offloaded the daily paperwork of nurses to staff that were sheltering in place at home, keeping remote workers productive and freeing up nurses’ time to treat more patients. There is no press shortage of remote working and human impact stories born from successful and creative collaboration, camaraderie and technology.

Now is the time for companies to build on their digital connectivity and culture so that when the crises abate and the economy surges forward, remote working can remain a viable option for employees and your company and workforce will be well-positioned to deal with future uncertainties.

By Avanade's Dave Seybold and Andy Marselos. Read more Avanade blogs here.