Four technological aspects you need to know

Here is the second installment of the article “Keys to successfully implement teleworking in the company”. In this chapter, I am going to refer to some of the technological aspects that you need to know and manage to build a corporate telework model.

The employee at home, systems in the cloud.

Technology is the main facilitating factor for teleworking. It does not mean that it is the most important, but that without it the rest cannot start. To put it in some way, it is an ‘enabling’ factor.

Obviously, the complexity of the technological setup will largely depend on the size of the company and the teams. However, from my point of view, the main aspects that you should take into account are:

  • Communication system. Have communication tools based on the person and not on the physical job.
  • Collaborative office automation. Use office automation tools that encourage collaborative work, both with regard to document management (word processor, spreadsheets) and productivity management (for example, with a suitable project manager).
  • Security policy. Activate a constant concern for maintaining the security of your company’s information.
  • Device management. Design a policy of hardware tools for employees that allow them to carry out work remotely with the maximum guarantees of efficiency and reliability

First of all, I want to draw your attention to the need to migrate information systems to cloud services. 10 years ago hardly anyone was familiar with the concept of ‘cloud’. Today it is one of the most used, both by primary school children and by mature people. For teleworking, it is the hygiene factor par excellence.

Communication enrolled to the person, not to the job.

When you have a team working remotely, connecting people is the top priority. Think that, today, having a corporate computer to work without a good connection is like having a smartphone without 4G or Wi-Fi. You have an excellent flashlight and a good alarm clock, little more …

First, the phone. Although in this digital age it may seem very basic, customer service by telephone is essential. Every unanswered call is a lost business opportunity. That is why for a teleworker organization it is essential to know the level of overflow of the calls received in each business unit (or even on a personal level). By overflow index we understand those calls missed (not answered) for every hundred incoming calls. For this, it is important that the teleworking system is based on a communication model associated with the person, not the physical position.

Digitization allows us to evolve from active models to passive, less intrusive models of communication. This is equivalent to going from a communication based on physical interaction or the phone call, to a communication based on email and, better yet, in instant messaging or chat. Internal social networks like Slack or Microsoft Teams have displaced hallway or cafeteria conversations. Video meetings and chats on Webex, Zoom or Hangouts have displaced face-to-face meetings and phone calls. This is a very important leap in improving efficiency and productivity. Bear in mind that active models are more invasive and distract the worker when he does not choose that distraction. To put it in a graphic way: you can minimize the corporate chat and attend it later when you have availability but you cannot minimize the phone calls.

Exponential productivity tools.

Today technology must be an element that allows people to be creative, build and grow. And that they do it through collaborative work. Office automation is now more collaborative than ever, thanks to G-Suite (now Google Workspace) or MS Office 360, among others. In short, synchronous technology is evolving and more and more workers are deciding when and how to interact.

Beyond basic corporate systems, there are many options to collaborate more and be more productive.

  • Project or task management programs, such as Trello or Jira. They allow you to organize your tasks so that they have the ‘assembly line’ effect. The truth is that you have to force yourself to use them but when you do, they become indispensable, especially and you have the role of team manager.
  • Messaging programs. Many large organizations already have it integrated into their office suites or communication systems. If you don’t have it, you can install WhatsApp (better, for security, the business version).
  • ‘Helps’ to productivity. There are programs that you can install on your devices and that help you be more productive. One of the ones I use is the ‘Online Stopwatch’, which helps me assign maximum times to each task. Everyone can search for those productivity apps that help them the most. Although a corporate orientation would not hurt on those that best suit your needs.

The more teleworking, the more exposure to risk.

Cybersecurity, one of the most relevant concepts is having in the management committees of companies. Today, it is perhaps the factor that can most compromise the business continuity and corporate reputation of your company.

When you open your systems to different environments you are increasing their exposure to risk. It also occurs when the client is empowered to operate with your systems (for example, through an App). But with employees the risk is higher. The weakest link in cybersecurity is man. In fact, the IBM Cyber ​​Security Intelligence Index study ensures that 95% of cybersecurity attacks or incidents are due to human failures, above the vulnerability of systems. Thus, with teleworking, attacks on the security of your systems can be more frequent and more intense.

Before continuing, in the field of cybersecurity, I would like you to take into account the difference between two different concepts: cyber threats and cyber risks. Cyber ​​threats are deliberate, offensive exploitative maneuvers that aim to take control, destabilize or damage a system (a clear example is phishing). Cyber ​​risks are potential threats to the business as a result of a loss of confidentiality, integrity, and the availability of digital assets.

Your work should focus on minimizing cyber risks through protocols. Also make sure that your teleworkers have sufficient knowledge and skills. To do this, you can run simulations that test their ability to respond to major cybersecurity (for example, simulating a phishing attack on a group of employees or a ransomware lawsuit to which the management committee must respond).

Device management, the hygienic factor in telework management

We refer to remote employees’ work tools. In addition to deciding their composition, it is important to know if they will be borne by the worker (BYOD, bring your own device), with compensation, or will the company be directly responsible for providing them. In another article, I will talk about the mechanisms to provide remote workers with good devices and at the same time make the model economically profitable for your organization.

Finally, don’t forget to measure the degree of use of the technologies associated with remote work. Management should not be limited to providing the best possible technology. In order to achieve an optimal level of usability and adaptation of this technology, it is necessary to be able to detect and analyze communication flows. Knowing digital behaviors in order to anticipate changes that allow us to optimize information systems.