Working remotely is not a new concept; however, the recent coronavirus outbreak has been a catalyst for a new wave of workers beginning to work from home, as governments and companies implement policies to prevent the spread of the virus.
Companies who have already embraced remote working are unlikely to see negative ramifications from this, and to an extent can continue with business-as-usual service outputs from desk-based workers. However, companies that fall behind the curve are likely to face significant challenges, both from an employee productivity level and from a management and security perspective.
Challenges of suddenly imposed remote working
Among those who have suddenly been thrust into remote working, some of the practical things employees miss are their headsets, dual monitors, and desk spaces––working from the sofa loses its novelty very quickly, and population-dense cities often limit dedicated space for a desk at home. Instead, some are opting to work in local coffee shops just so they can benefit from a comfortable working environment.
In terms of technology, common complaints stem from the need to transfer essential work documents, maintaining security while taking laptops offsite, and suddenly trying to undertake tasks on personal devices. While this is an inconvenience for the workers, it doesn’t come close to the headache posed to organizations and IT departments needing data and workers’ devices to be secure and easily managed.
Do employees care that they’re connecting to a public WiFi network without two-factor authentication? No, they just want Internet access quickly! Do they consider the security implications of transferring data via USB without the appropriate endpoint security? Probably not!
Creating a flexible workplace
It’s events like the Coronavirus outbreak which ought to make organizations analyze their place in their digital transformation journey. Even before the WHO declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, the demands of many IT users were the same; they want to access the latest applications, data, and resources from any device, any time, anywhere.
While adjusting to this demand won’t happen overnight, there are IT platforms that can make managing a remote workforce less demanding. Dell Technologies Unified Workspace, which provides a single, consistent experience to users on any device, no matter where they are, is a market-leading solution to the work-from-home challenge.
With VMware Workspace ONE as its Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) platform, Dell Technologies has started rolling out Unified Workspace internally. It has prioritized mobile device management (MDM) and the ability to publish Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications across all managed devices to deliver singular user experience. Unified Workspace has allowed Dell Technologies to bring mobile and client devices onto a single management framework; for example, I have the same experience on my iPhone as I do on my work laptop thanks to Unified Workspace. All of my work-related applications are effortlessly pushed out to my devices and managed centrally for all users within our organization.
Employee devices can also be patched, updated, and secured beyond the Dell Network, which has become critical over the last few weeks. I do not need to be on the Dell campus or even connected to the network via VPN for my devices to be managed. Even if I had to avoid travelling to a Dell office for the next year, I would still have all the applications I need to do my job, and IT would not be burdened with needing to update each device in our organization one-by-one.
Also, when workers are encouraged to work from home, fixing broken laptops is essentially a non-issue. While historically this would involve a trip to the office and waiting around for hours while my new laptop was set up, this new UEM platform dramatically simplifies the replacement process. With Unified Workspace, Dell Technologies has adopted a systematic, automated process of delivering factory-provisioned devices directly to team members. This means someone could put in a laptop request, have it delivered straight to their door, and immediately have access to all the apps required out-of-box, much like switching to a new iPhone.
The coronavirus is truly putting companies’ remote work capabilities to test at an unprecedented scale. Some of the worst-hit countries around the world are declaring lockdowns, forcing companies to maintain service outputs when their employees are unable to leave their homes.
Thanks to progressive technologies like Unified Workspace, the coronavirus outbreak has had very little impact on my productivity. Should the outbreak worsen in my country, I have everything I need to work from home with minimal disruption.