By now, reams of advice have been written on how to set up remote workspaces and maintain individual productivity. Having come through that initial phase of setting up employees to work at home, the new challenge for enterprises is to maintain that productivity — and a degree of agility — under this new environment.
We checked out some of the more innovative companies from Silicon Valley and beyond to see how they’ve readied themselves to ride out the current disruption of work as we once knew it. In blog posts and thought leadership, they’ve outlined the strategies they’ve found to boost worker satisfaction and productivity, while securely leveraging vital business data from afar.
Tips for Remote Workforce Management
- Evaluate existing data storage strategies
- Make cybersecurity a team effort
- Empower employees to be self-motivated
- Invest in the employee experience
Your Data Strategy May Need A Rethink
The Source: Pure Storage’s software solutions help businesses manage their data. In a blog post, the company offered four areas of focus that can help businesses adjust their data strategies to accommodate a newly distributed environment.
Takeaways: Data portability is extremely important when employees are unable to connect to head office servers, but Pure Storage stresses that remote work also opens businesses to ransomware threats. And while many companies are pulling back bonuses or cutting salaries, the company says that financial flexibility should be a consideration when it comes to data storage technology, too.
“Recent events... make it especially important to look at how you manage and leverage data.”
Quotable Quote: “No matter the business climate, you’re always considering your strategy. Recent events and the resulting changes in markets and business make it especially important to look at how you manage and leverage data.”
Cybersecurity Is A Team Effort
The Source: Cybersecurity company Forcepoint protects business assets at vulnerable moments for companies like IBM, Microsoft and Boeing. In a blog post, Chief Information Officer Carl Eberling said the shift to remote work presents bad actors with more opportunities to siphon data from company servers. These so-called “insider threats” — that is, employees with privileged access or compromised credentials — require workforce education and “active security hygiene reinforcement,” Eberling wrote.
Takeaways: Education is key to helping employees handle sensitive company information — especially when working from home. Among his many recommendations, Eberling touches on HR’s role during onboarding and termination processes, IT and security’s responsibility to know where all sensitive information resides and who has access, and for product’s ownership over agreements with contractors and other business partners.
“Data is the lifeblood of your business.”
Quotable Quote: “Data is the lifeblood of your business. As are your employees. And, to stay in business in the years ahead it has never been more imperative to employ security solutions that protect the digital crown jewels and those that interact with this critical IP.”
In a Remote World, “Managing” Means “Empowering”
The Source: Elastic is the company behind Elasticsearch, an open-sourced search tool, and other data analytics and visualization tools designed to help customers organize information. Late last year, Senior Vice President of Engineering Kevin Kluge wrote a blog post about managing distributed teams with advice that holds true in our current work-from-home moment.
Takeaways: Elastic’s distributed workforce means that some team members might be starting their days while others are winding down. According to the blog post, the company has learned to trust its employees to be self-motivated and allow them to do their work in their own time. Kluge pointed out that it’s impossible to micromanage distributed teams, so the better option is empowering employees to reach their goals for a given day, week or quarter.
“I don’t want to know where somebody is on a Tuesday at 2 p.m.”
Quotable Quote: “I don’t want to know where somebody is on a Tuesday at 2 p.m. Instead, regardless of what we’re producing as a team — a blog post, lines of code, closing a support case — we need to be able to look back at what we achieved at the end of the week and be proud of it.”
Double Down on the Employee Experience
The Source: As employees settle in for the work-from-home long haul, businesses would do well to heed the advice in a blog post published late last year by Susan Insley: “Turn employee experience into a team sport.” Insley heads human resources for Silicon Valley software giant VMware, and her advice on how to invest in employee experience rings especially true in a time of heightened anxiety.
Takeaways: “Employee experience” is an umbrella term that encompasses several factors that feed into a person’s work life, and Insley touches on all of them. These include employee surveys, which Insley says are an invaluable source of data, and learning and development platforms that leverage gamification and collaboration. Another major factor is making sure employees have the tools and access they need to do their jobs, and Insley outlines a three-step process to building collaboration between HR and IT departments.
“Our collective job is to give employees the best digital tools for success.”
Quotable Quote: “My IT counterparts define employee experience as a combination of people, process and technology. In HR, we refer to it as a combination of employee technology, workstyle and culture. In both cases, employee experience is influenced by digital employee experience. And our collective job is to give employees the best digital tools for success.”