The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way that many workplaces operate. The traditional practice of staff gathering in a centralised location has changed as this became impractical. Other solutions were sought and implemented, including remote online working and hybrid offices.
During the height of the pandemic it was estimated that up to 70% of full-time workers were undertaking work related tasks from their homes. Now that the worst of the pandemic seems to have subsided, the trend of remote working is expected to continue. 92% of employees surveyed said that in the near future they will continue to work from home for at least one day per week.
These changes have forced some businesses to restructure the way in which they operate, including the introduction of cloud-based technologies to help their staff to undertake their work duties from both the office and home.
These changes have brought newfound benefits, including:
- A better work/life balance for employees
- Increased flexibility and the benefits that brings
- Increased morale among employees
- Lower daily costs for employers and their employees
- Improved productivity for employees
The transition to a semi or full digital workplace has also brought new challenges and difficulties. Some of these include:
- An increased risk of data and security breaches
- Communication issues among employees
- Difficulty for employers to track the productivity and accountability of their employees
- Employees experiencing a feeling of being disconnected from others
- The potential for online networks and endpoints to become more vulnerable
A survey conducted recently found that 20% of organisations experienced a security breach due to an employee working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.
Implementing a hybrid or entirely online workplace environment takes time, and while there are some risks involved, there are also many benefits for both employers and employees. It is recommended that any such implementation involves the assistance and guidance of trained and experienced IT professionals to assist with the smooth and safe implementation of any new systems.
Following are five mistakes that businesses make when they are operating an online workplace. The associated statistics were provided by a State of the Digital Workplace report recently released by IGLOO.
Poor File Organisation in The Cloud
When a business moves online, the files used are stored in a cloud-based environment. If the organisation of this cloud-based environment is poor it can be problematic for all parties involved, as employees may not be able to find the files that they need in a timely and efficient manner.
According to the IGLOO report, approximately 51% of employees have decided against sharing a work document with a colleague as they could not find the document to begin with, or they thought that it would be too difficult to locate the document.
Following are some recommendations for making files easier to find and to share:
- Archive and delete older files monthly in order to reduce clutter
- Create and maintain a consistent file hierarchy and file naming structure
- Do not create a new file or folder for every document that is uploaded
- Keep file and folder structures relatively flat, so that documents can be easily located
Remote Workers Missing Out on Conversations
Communication is continual and necessary in the workplace, and as such, it is critical that all employees are informed and aware of any information that is relevant to them and their work practises. Unfortunately, it appears that the adoption of hybrid and online workplaces has resulted in information exchange gaps.
According to the IGLOO report, close to 60% of employees believe that they have missed out on learning important information from their co-workers because it was communicated in person, rather than through documented online communication channels.
It is easy to see how this could lead to a reduction in efficiency and confusion, as well as the possibility of errors. For this reason, employers must be proactive in encouraging clear and consistent conversation between their employees to ensure that any important information is shared and acknowledged.
Unauthorised App Usage Associated with The Cloud
Unauthorised app usage and its association with the cloud was a problem before the coronavirus pandemic occurred. It has escalated now that more employees are working from home, where they may be integrating the use of their own personal devices with their existing online work duties.
The IGLOO survey showed that 57% of employees were using at least one non-organisation approved app to help them undertake their work tasks. This type of activity can negatively affect a business in many ways, including:
- Company data becoming insecure
- Data leaks from non-secured apps
- Inefficient app use that decreases efficiency
- The employee leaves employment and the data becomes inaccessible to others
- The risk of privacy violations
Remote Working Doesn’t Always Mean Working from Home
Once employees begin working remotely, they can be undertaking their work-related tasks from anywhere, not necessarily always from their own home. They may be working from airports, hotels, a family member or friends’ home or a public location, such as a library or a coffee shop, connected to any available internet source.
Businesses that do not properly protect their own data can be at risk of suffering a security breach, and public internet networks are infamous for being susceptible to online malicious activity and attacks.
It is therefore advised that businesses implement their own dedicated VPN for all remote work situations that their employees may find themselves in. VPNs are inexpensive and easy to use. Employees can enable the VPN app on their devices simply, which they then use in conjunction with their work-related activities. The VPN will reroute any data that employees send and receives through secure, encrypted servers accessible only to trusted parties.
Using Communication Tools that Cause Disappointment and Frustration
Many remote employees state that they have had their online work meetings interrupted due to technical issues.
The ability to communicate smoothly is vital to ensure that workplaces operate efficiently. This is also true when it comes to online and remote hybrid workplaces. Audio and video calls, along with chat dialogues, require effective technology that will facilitate an efficient and functional experience for everyone involved.
Businesses should take the time to ensure that they use the best communication tools that are available, that suit the businesses own specific purposes. This includes both online applications and physical equipment, such as headsets, VoIP desk sets, webcam operations, etc.
Increase The Efficiency and Productivity of Your Online Office Today
If you would like to increase the productivity of your online office please get in touch with us today, we can suggest a range of solutions to increase your businesses efficiency, along with workplace effectiveness and overall enhanced security and data privacy retention.