By Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies
One of the key learnings in this era of remote work is that the digitalisation of the home office must account for the personal circumstances of each employee, including their connectivity, access to technology, and mindset when it comes to the new normal. Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies examines how this will impact the modernisation of traditional human resources policies to better reflect the demands of a decentralised workforce.
Factors to account for include the likes of available infrastructure, security solutions, collaboration tools, and even employee wellbeing. Previously the concept of remote work centred on just having an employee log in to their email and perhaps a cloud-based document repository. But as the events of 2020 have shown, this has evolved to encompass every business process, despite the convenience of cloud solutions.
“With this changing environment comes a fresh impetus to reinvent the organisation from the ground up, starting with its human resources systems. This brings numerous opportunities for innovation and growth that many decision-makers would likely not have considered were it not for the lockdown restrictions ‘forcing’ their hand,” says McAlister.
Trust above all
Critical to this is having trust in the workforce. According to McAlister, the normalisation of remote working has resulted in employees having to access organisational back-end systems from anywhere they have a reliable internet connection. “Managers must have confidence in their employees’ effectiveness while working outside the traditional office environment. However, those organisations that have a high degree of trust in place are more effective at collaborating, being productive, and enjoying a higher degree of loyalty between employees and their managers.”
Building from this is moving away from the roles-based environment of the past. Now it is about focusing on outcomes. McAlister says. “Regardless of whether an employee is working at 01:00 or 13:00, if the work gets done, there should be no issues. For those companies that never embarked on managing the remote workforce and have no plan to do so in the future, it is easy to fall back to the old way of doing things. But the reality is that remote working will be integral to the success of any organisation as it charts the path for this year and beyond.”
Of course, the reality is that cultivating trust becomes more complex when employees are not bound to a central office location.
“Consequently, positive leadership is important to drive a credible and understandable strategy for employees to follow. None of this happens in a vacuum. Given the rapidly evolving regulatory environment, companies must ensure that however they choose to embrace remote working, it adheres to the legal framework. Moreover, their policies must be adapted to reflect this dynamic new environment.”
Naturally, this is not a once-off process. The evolving requirements of remote working require continuous tweaks and revisions that must permeate all business processes while delivering always-on availability to applications and solutions through the cloud.
“So, whether it is remote working, flexible hours, or just maintaining a new work-life balance, the new normal is here to stay for quite some time. How an organisation embraces it to take care of its employees will depend on its willingness to adapt to a post-COVID-19 landscape,” concludes McAlister.
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