Top tips for SMEs to make hybrid work, work

Securely connecting workers wherever they are.

Johannesburg, 06 Feb 2024
Mastering the hybrid work environment.
Mastering the hybrid work environment.

From competing to attract and retain talent to leveraging cost and efficiency benefits, accommodating a hybrid workforce is a priority for today’s employers. However, small-to-midsize businesses/enterprises (SMEs) face specific challenges in this new workplace flexibility, especially without the expansive resources of larger corporate counterparts.

You need to find a way, for example, to help employees working at home achieve the same productivity as they do in the office – but without the benefit of the same in-office tools, access and capabilities. Mobile workers need secure access to data and documents so they can work efficiently from anywhere. And your company needs to seamlessly connect your remote workers with those working in the office with collaboration and document-sharing capabilities.

The good news is there is an ever-evolving array of tools, technologies and strategies that can help your small-to-midsize business master the hybrid work environment. Solutions can range from a reliable home printer with advanced scanning capabilities to applications that will simplify workflows, automate steps and bolster security.

A look at top challenges

Pete Munday, Global Marketing Manager for Xerox Workflow Central, singles out two primary challenges that SMEs face.

"The top challenge is security. Smaller companies may require employees use their own laptops due to lack of resources. They don’t necessarily know the details of the home network or security practices. Employees, for instance, often leave their routers on default passwords or rely on overly simple passwords. Workers may not use VPN," says Munday.

On another remote front, workers utilising mobile devices to work from anywhere may use a variety of web-based solutions to access and process data and documents without proper security protections or company oversight.

The best ways to prevent these security risks depend on the needs of your particular company. Munday advises a close look at how and where team members are working and start by launching a security awareness strategy. There are a growing number of affordable and effective options to address identified security needs.

Solutions to keep hybrid workers connected

Xerox has an expanded portfolio of software and hardware solutions, Munday notes, which offer security-enhancing capabilities. These include document encryption features, password protection tools and software that prevents the spread of confidential information, and an application that allows IT to track what team members are printing – ideal for tracking print volumes in home offices.

Consolidating web-based tools that employees are using is another key step your company should take. Munday advises that your company begin by analysing the needs of employees at home, on the road and in the office and select solutions that will address the needs of all three scenarios. This will help deter employees to seek out their own internet solutions, which could make it difficult for companies to manage security tools, devices and flow of information. For guidance, he suggests you talk to your preferred Xerox partner for more help on how to manage a hybrid work environment.