While work-from-home policies are not a new concept for most organizations, the crushing scale of managing a completely remote workforce has put enterprises under immense strain.
IT leaders have had to make sure their IT infrastructure is able to manage the influx and quickly realign their strategies to remain compliant in this new, uncertain environment.
Even firms with the necessary infrastructure in place have had to reevaluate and adapt their practices to maintain robust data intelligence, content management, security protocols and effective communication.
These practices ensure that smart, data-informed decisions can continue to be made and employees are empowered to work safely and productively while in their homes.
Here are three things IT managers should keep in mind for managing a remote workforce during the COVID-19 crisis while also maintaining a robust IT infrastructure that suits the needs of a remote enterprise.
Trust Your Data and Content Management
In volatile times, enterprises must ensure they are working in a mature data environment so that users can find, and trust in, the data they house.
“Untrustworthy” is a bad tagline for any business, so chief data officers (CDOs) must strive for trustworthy information so they can contextualize, govern and share it, all while making sure it is tied to the right business policies.
This enables leaders to make informed business decisions required when developing plans that ensure their organizations can adjust and thrive—especially in uncertain times.
Understanding what intellectual property an organization houses is critical to guaranteeing compliance with data-related regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.
Organizations must proactively seek out dark and “bad” information by implementing a data inventory and utilizing data lineage to easily access, understand and trust the data they collect and remain complaint while working remotely.
As organizations adapt to a completely remote workforce, they must also ensure that their data governance and privacy strategies are robust enough to handle this new environment and protect and regulate the information being shared internally and externally.
This is where content management solutions, such as event-based retention and redaction, become crucial to safeguard against possible data leaks. These capabilities automate information retention and guarantee that data is not housed within the organization longer than is necessary, ensuring compliance with industry regulations.
IT Infrastructure Security is Key
With remote working comes new security risks and procedures. Teams who used to interact with each other in-person are now turning to video conferencing software to maintain daily communication. But the ease of these tools means they come with their own set of risks for IT teams to manage.
These solutions are prone to attacks by hackers, such as inappropriate meeting intrusions and dangerous malware incorporated into install packages obtained from fake sites.
IT teams must ensure employees across the organization are aware of the risks and have procedures in place to protect against them, such as confirming they install and download meeting links from a trusted source.
To maximize protection and security for the organization, managers must also emphasize the importance of strong and appropriately segregated login credentials and two-factor authentication.
These are simple measures for employees to follow but ensure that the enterprise’s intellectual property is adequately safeguarded while working from home.
Employees who are apprehensive about introducing many different and complicated logins should adopt a password manager or vault, which is a great tool to easily and securely keep track of login information.
For most managers, managing employees remotely is a new experience and presents an increased need to establish and maintain a team identity. Good communication and compassion are the two essential practices that managers must keep in mind when dealing with a remote workforce.
Many employees are used to daily social interactions with their colleagues, so it is important to mimic these interactions in internal communications, especially for the people who are at risk of feeling distant and isolated in this new environment.
Leaders who inspire top performance from their teams demonstrate trust, empathy, and stability—traits that are even more important in a remote work environment.
In corporate email updates, managers should think about adding in some personality to connect with their team—such as anecdotes about their life outside of work—and encourage their employees to reciprocate.
This simple exercise demonstrates interest and care for remote workers’ lives inside and outside of the workplace and can be a great tool for team bonding and understanding what matters most to remote employees.
IT managers should make sure these three practices are top of mind when adapting to the “new normal” and should use this crisis as an opportunity to examine and improve their IT foundation and practices, ensuring they are resilient to new challenges of the future.