Combining the right technologies, people to enable the remote workforce
Over the past years, remote working has had to become a reality for every organisation, regardless of its size or sector. While a great deal has been written about the benefits of a remote workforce, its possible long-term effects and the fact that work may eventually revert to the office-based format we were used to in the past, the current reality is that most businesses are still encountering challenges in enabling their staff to work out of multiple locations.
From complex issues like loneliness and strain on the mental well-being of workers, to simple technology challenges, companies still haven’t found an easy way to help people transition to the new way of working. A recent survey by Old Mutual found that more than half (56%) of respondents are now working from home.
In order to help alleviate this, some businesses have opted to take a hybrid approach, requiring office days at regular intervals. Others, however, have fully embraced remote work and have focused on creating technology ecosystems that can help empower people more. In both instances, organisations have found that having the right partners in place is essential to creating the right foundation to keep their workforce productive and engaged.
At first glance, the list of tools and technologies required to enable a remote workforce seems deceptively simple. It may seem that people need a laptop and an internet connection, and very little else, but as companies continue to expand their remote capabilities, they are adding a number of other essentials to the list. These range from VOIP solutions to ensure staff have high call quality regardless of where they are working from, to backup and recovery covering all data used within the organisation.
Eighty percent of employees’ time is spent on collaboration, and voice communication is a key enabler of this. MTN has a multitude of collaboration tools and cloud-based applications available that not only enable businesses to help keep employees on track with an array of management tools like barge, monitor and whisper, but also helps them more easily collaborate with co-workers. Staff working remotely can also use their VOIP solutions with softphones, reducing the cost of hardware.
All work from home solutions require an internet connection, but this is often more complicated than it sounds. In reality, not every living space is set up to double as a workplace, especially when you consider internet speed requirements. Internet services typically require minimum connection requirements, and once people start using their home connections to take meetings and deliver projects, they no longer have to worry about whether they are getting true 4K picture quality when they’re streaming a show on Netflix, but whether they will be able to talk to their bosses, co-workers and clients without interruption. MTN’s fixed broadband solutions have been designed to deliver the highest possible speeds and lowest latency.
According to IDC, mobile workers will account for nearly 60% of the total workforce by 2024, and one of the most vital tools they have at their disposal are their mobile phones. Today, more people worldwide own a cellphone than a toothbrush, and many companies have added to their mobile portfolios to better enable employees to work remotely. In fact, a recent survey found that 85% of organisations implemented BYOD policies because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with increasing numbers of companies paying for airtime to assist employees while they work from home. MTN has created solutions that have been designed specifically to assist businesses and employees alike to turn their mobile phones into another secure access point through which they can collaborate and complete tasks.
Cloud computing has made this shift to remote work easier and improved the productivity of remote employees by allowing them to access centralised tools and applications from any device and any location, but this has started leading to increasingly complex cloud environments. The ease with which enterprises can provision cloud services has led to a growing number of applications that are even sometimes duplicated across private and public clouds, driving up costs and making management increasingly difficult. MTN’s tailored cloud solutions ensure that organisations have insight into their entire cloud ecosystem, helping provision and manage public, private and hybrid clouds.
Similarly, while cyber security remains top of mind for all organisations, most have invested in piecemeal solutions that have been cobbled together to try and fill all possible gaps. A VPN (virtual private network) is a critical technology, providing a secure communication channel through public internet connections, but it should be combined with a complete set of complementary solutions as part of a comprehensive strategy and plan. MTN’s security specialists have the skills and expertise needed to mitigate threats across on-premises and cloud environments, helping businesses achieve better cohesion across their increasingly distributed workforces.
Gain the competitive edge
All of these technologies need good technical support and an experienced IT staff to ensure they enable the remote workforce effectively. Unfortunately, its very nature makes providing support for a distributed workforce challenging. This is once again where a good technology partner can be invaluable. From providing strategic guidance, to integrating and implementing the right tools, a partner can help create a remote workforce that cuts costs, increases productivity and generates brand-building customer experiences.
According to Decoding Global Ways of Working, a study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), The Network and CareerJunction, 53% of South Africans will be looking for a job in the future that allows them to work from home at least occasionally. In fact, 44% want to work fully remotely, compared to a global average of only 24%. In light of the fact that all indications are that the remote workforce is here to stay, it is imperative that companies invest in the types of cost saving and flexible connectivity solutions that not only suit all employee needs, but provide the tools to create the competitive edge organisations need to survive in today’s tough environment.
The key is combining the right technologies with the right people. With a partner like MTN Business, which offers a comprehensive suite of solutions covering everything from connectivity to support, organisations can not only save time, money and frustration, they can start to streamline and innovate, to keep meeting – and exceeding – customer and employee needs.