Future of ‘remote working’: Did it work or it didn’t?

Businesses are focusing on how to make work from home a better and safer experience

Future of ‘remote working’: Did it work or it didn’t? - CIO&Leader

Initially, there was a rush for businesses to enable their employees to work from home, as the global pandemic offered no other choice. While speedy medical research and vaccines have been developed, it looks like remote working is here to stay, in future too. The reason being, corporations have seen that it simply works! It allows great deal of flexibility to both the employer and employees.

Therefore, businesses are focusing on how to make work from home a better and safer experience. It goes without saying we will witness further investments in better collaboration tools, more efficient access in a way that is safe as well as cost-effective for businesses and user-friendly too.

More time for fitness activities and some extra sleep. Long live remote work!

For many office workers, hectic mornings of school car lines and bumper-to-bumper traffic are but a distant memory. We’ve settled into new normal(ish) routines, commuting from upstairs to down and bed to desk, ready to take on the workday from the couch or home office.

The shift to remote work has been a big change, but for most people, it’s been a largely positive one. Employees embraced it with open arms. Nearly half (47%) feel more productive at home, citing the flexibility to run errands, take a walk or do household chores between meetings. Meanwhile, 32% of remote workers say putting their commutes in park is a key benefit. Plus, it’s (basically) a scientific fact that wearing sweatpants while working increases one’s overall mood and sense of wellbeing. Not forgetting the air getting fresher with far lesser vehicular pollution.

With more time and flexibility in their days, it’s unsurprising that 95% of employees want to continue working from home even after their offices re-open.

Disruption from family & pets. What could possibly go wrong?

Of course, remote work has its downsides (quarantine 15, anyone?). For instance, nearly half of respondents (45%) say disruption from family and pets is their biggest challenge. Anyone who’s had to proctor a spelling test while giving a work presentation while frantically muting every other word to muffle their barking dog can relate. And as the lines between work and home blur, always-home and always-on increasingly means always-working. 43% of remote workers say they struggle to maintain the right work/life balance.

Co-existence & Zoom fatigue. Have you had too much of the same?  

For the first few weeks of remote work, it was sort of fun to connect with colleagues by video. We saw their home offices, “met” their significant others and kids (hopefully not wielding dripping paintbrushes) and gushed over their adorable pets. We got creative with elaborate video backgrounds and turned ourselves into virtual potatoes during team brainstorms. But for most people the novelty wore off quickly. Many working parents are still juggling work meetings and virtual schooling – there is no secret recipe to keep these in peaceful co-existence. And what once was a quick ‘swing by someone’s desk’ to ask a question is yet ANOTHER 30-minute video call. It’s no wonder 34% of remote workers cite “Zoom fatigue” as a top challenge.

Technical issues…there goes my productive week.

For 78% of employees, working through technical issues like connecting securely to corporate systems and resources is a major hurdle. To stay productive and keep up with work responsibilities, 67% admit to finding workarounds to corporate security policies, from sending work documents to personal email addresses and sharing passwords, to installing rogue applications on company-issued devices. While these shortcuts may seem harmless, they can potentially open doors for cyber attackers, leading to credential theft, fraud and costly security breaches.

In these challenging times it has become very important to update cybersecurity practices and be at the forefront to protect our own as well as our employer’s data. 46% of respondents who have not received remote-work specific security training, ask about it and do their part to keep safe and secure remote work a viable option for the long run. It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep safe and secure in our remote and hybrid work environments.

The author is Regional Director - India at CyberArk


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