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Three Ways CIOs Can Enhance Remote Work

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

The business environment has entered new territory and leaders are turning to technology for solutions to keep the rhythm of industry going. Being able to quickly evolve the way we work is crucial for today’s workforce that can face all types of disruptions, from the pandemic we are experiencing now to grid issues and even weather-related events. For the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing has been one of the most important things we can all do to work through this time as quickly as possible – that means working remotely. The good news is that we are living in the digital era allowing many facets of our environment to continue functioning in some capacity. Companies are ramping enablement of IT platforms to allow work from home (WFH) options, and this transition is helping teams to collaborate more effectively, streamline processes and improve agility.

For CIOs who are enabling a WFH model for their organizations, there are a number of factors that should be top of mind:

  • Engagement – Keeping people engaged is crucial for an effective remote workforce. Technology leaders are now at the forefront of business continuity and need to help the workforce adjust to this new normal. Employees who have never worked remotely may need basic guidance, so lean into online education opportunities -- but keep it simple. Provide easy-to-understand solutions and security reminders, as well as access to help resources.

  • Communication – CIOs should establish a consistent cadence of communication and specify the channels being used to disseminate important information, whether it be email updates for partners and customers or daily intranet updates for employees. Security reminders for remote work scenarios will go a long way. Phishing and other scams designed to take advantage of people during times of crisis and uncertainty are expected to increase dramatically in the coming days and weeks. Communicating and providing security updates can help keep cybersecurity top of mind and avoid issues down the road.

  • Collaboration – It’s important for CIOs to support and drive digital collaboration. Tools to enhance digital collaboration can help keep people connected no matter where they are, from Webex and Zoom to Slack, Skype and Microsoft Teams (and more). Many of these companies have been offering services free for a limited time to get through the most intense social distancing phase. Moving forward, companies should find the solution that works best for their workforce and integrate it into the culture for the long term. Training on these tools is key and now is a good time for IT to lean into education efforts.

While stress and uncertainty are currently elevated for the global workforce, technology leaders can be an important part of effectively navigating the cultural shift to remote work with simple training, tools and support. Remote-work capabilities are likely to become long-term solutions for companies seeking to manage costs and keep the wheels of business turning during unexpected disruptions, and technology leaders must continue to lead the way.