Written by Josh Olson, Head of Experience Solutions Sales at VMware & John Scott, National Sales Director at VMware Canada
The global pandemic has accelerated business continuity plans for workplaces across Canada. In April, John wrote about some of the early challenges organizations faced at the onset in The Globe and Mail. Now, organizations that have never managed a remote workforce are discovering new challenges, like onboarding new hires remotely and empowering employees to remain productive. As we navigate our new normal, organizations will be expected to communicate what the future of work will look like and how we’ll get there.
At the onset of the pandemic, one of the first and immediate concerns that businesses had was: how do we activate a suddenly distributed workforce? Eight months later, despite new surges in cases in Canada, things have changed. While the pandemic has transformed cubicles into kitchen counters, it’s now up to organizations to provide the best experience they can for employees.
Our recent survey found that fewer than two in 10 new remote workers in Canada (17 per cent) want to only work in an office environment in the future, with nearly six in 10 (59 per cent) preferring to work from home more often than they did before or exclusively. Canadians expect their employers to communicate what the future of work will look like and how they will get there, and with businesses regaining the traction they may have lost, it’s back to the matter of retaining and attracting the top talent. Companies need to figure out how to enable employees to work from anywhere without losing their culture, purpose and what it means to be part of the organization.
Offering flexibility now means the ability to work from any location, on any device
With many Canadians juggling the blurred lines between remote work and the responsibilities at home, user experience has never been more important in ensuring workforces are in the best position to remain productive and deliver services your organization provides. In the new work from home environment, 60 per cent of the time, users are not sitting at their desks with a laptop, and according to our survey, only 52 per cent of remote workers had all the technology they needed to do perform all the tasks their job demands.
An employee is sitting in the waiting room for an appointment when their boss emails them in a panic, realizing they do not have the latest version of a deck for their presentation in 5 minutes. If the employee is not able to retrieve and share the file, who dropped the ball? The employee or the employer?
The truth is, technology that enables a workforce to do the full capacity of their job, no matter where they are or what device they have with them, is not future technology, it exists now, helping employees stay productive during this crisis, and primed to come out stronger and more competitive than ever before. A truly digital workspace is not simply transitioning from the office to an employee’s home, it eliminates all physical constraints and empowers employees to create their own work-life balance and autonomy.
Onboarding new hires and setting up new devices doesn’t have to increase downtime
During VMware Evolve Online, we explored the frustration faced by many Canadians who are joining an organization for the first time. Onboarding can be unwieldy without the burdens of a pandemic coming into play. By providing a modern, intuitive hub experience, like Workspace ONE, new employees can sign in on any device with their credentials to discover, connect with, and act on your corporate resources, teams, and workflow at their fingertips.
Rethinking how security is approached in a modern world
Over 70 per cent of Canadians who had never worked from home needed multiple passwords to get through a working week. How do we streamline this process without compromising security? Workspace solutions and modern apps running on a cloud network are accessible through a single sign-on that considers conditional access to organization files and multi-factor authentication.
Does your existing network infrastructure can patch thousands of machines requiring VPN connectivity that have gone remote? If you’re using a modern platform to manage your devices, you can control patches while letting those machines download them directly from the cloud.
Leverage the distributed workforce to attract top talent
Beyond saving on capital expenditures like large office spaces in expensive cities like Toronto and Vancouver, a remote workforce provides significant financial and talent advantages. HR teams can source talent from rural Manitoba to the Maritimes instead of within a specific radius from your organization’s head office. With a distributed workforce, your organization can find the perfect employee for the job from the significantly larger and more diverse talent pool.
The future of work
Canadians have been introduced to the flexibility of remote work and returning to the status quo is no longer an option. Employee experience is now a business imperative and to keep the distributed workforce connected, an intelligent hub is necessary to not only drive productivity, but to preserve company culture. Organizations will need to embrace the future of distributed work and provide the best user experience, technology, and security to stay competitive within the market and attract top talent.
Best put by VMware Canada’s National Director of Solution Engineering Peter Near, “An organization cannot wait for the digital transformation it knows it needs.”