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Solving remote
work challenges
with smart
technology solutions

Author: Rose de Fremery

After the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020, businesses had to quickly shift to remote work arrangements to comply with public health guidelines. Since then, 70% of full-time workers in the United States have been working from home, Owl Labs says—and 80% of them expect to work remotely at least three times a week once the pandemic is over.

The future of remote work offers exciting opportunities to businesses and employees, but they must first overcome digital workplace challenges. Here's how today's digital workplace is shaping up, the unique remote work challenges it poses and how smart technology solutions can help solve those challenges.

Remote work challenges: today's digital workplace can be anywhere

The digital workplace became the new normal during the pandemic. Many professionals are as efficient and productive remotely as they ever were in a brick-and-mortar office. All they need are an internet connection, some space to work and the right tools.

In some ways, it's a change for the better. Rather than enduring long commutes to compare notes, employees can simply log on to a video conference and immediately collaborate with their counterparts. Sales colleagues can use video calls to serve each client with a personal touch, and members of finance teams can review the finer points of budget proposals using web conferencing platforms. With the right enterprise communication tools, employees in just about any area of the business can work with anyone, anywhere.

Anywhere work is the future of the workplace transformation. According to Forrester, 60% of companies are likely to employ a hybrid work model going forward.1 Another 10% will transition to an anywhere work model, hoping to maximize the productivity benefits and increased employee satisfaction associated with flexible work arrangements. But even as workers expect and adapt to anywhere work, business leaders need to overcome several remote work challenges if they hope to make the most of it.

Addressing remote work challenges

Executives have faced several new workplace challenges adapting to the anywhere work model. Some resisted the change at first. Some did not think that employees would be as productive working from home. Some thought that their organizations would lose their distinct company cultures in a virtual setting. They ran into new workplace challenges while coordinating with remote employees regarding their availability and connectivity in the digital workplace. Managers with limited experience supervising remote staff navigated a steep learning curve.

According to Owl Labs, employees used video meetings 50% more often in 2020 than they did before COVID-19. The shift has made network performance even more critical in the digital workplace. Employees need relatively high bandwidth to connect to and conduct video calls—which can be difficult over residential broadband connections, especially when household connections are being used for school or to socialize.

Security has also been a concern, as office networks have extended beyond the traditional on-premises model. Endpoints are now scattered across locations and personal devices the company does not manage. Data privacy has been a challenge, too, particularly as cyber criminals have targeted employees with phishing campaigns and increased attacks on businesses to acquire company, employee and customer data. Solving these new workplace challenges requires creative solutions. 

Technology can help solve new workplace challenges

Business leaders can solve many of these new workplace challenges with smart technology solutions that support remote workforce productivity.

Unified collaboration and communication tools are at the top of many companies' lists. More than 60% of executives expect to spend more on virtual collaboration tools and manager training, PwC reports. Unified collaboration and communication solutions bring a collection of features—such as video conferencing, instant messaging and web and audio conferencing—onto a single platform. Employees can access these tools from whatever device is convenient and collaborate with colleagues and clients wherever they are working.

Unified collaboration tool sets offer a gentler learning curve—users only need to learn one interface, not several. Presence information makes it easy for co-workers to see when someone they need to reach is available for a chat or call. Unified communication and collaboration tools can further boost remote employee productivity by integrating with popular business applications, such as office productivity suites and customer relationship management software.

A secure, reliable broadband connection can free employees from worries about poor or intermittent connections. It provides them with the connectivity they need to be productive, whether they're joining a team meeting or participating in a conference from their home offices.

Businesses can accelerate the transformation to a digital-first workplace with 5G, using its high speeds and ultra-low latency to enable near real-time connectivity in the home office and the field. 5G will also someday enable alternate reality and virtual reality in the workplace, letting companies open virtual workplaces where colleagues can meet and collaborate.

Solving digital workplace and remote work challenges to enable anywhere work

As they advance toward a work-from-anywhere future, businesses must address these and other remote work challenges. Technology solutions such as unified communications and collaboration tools, combined with reliable and secure network infrastructure, can help them overcome these obstacles and maximize the opportunities that the digital workplace makes possible.

Learn how Verizon's unified communications services can help your overcome digital workplace challenges.

"Use The Lessons Of 2020 To Create Your Anywhere-Work Strategy"; James McQuivey, Ph.D., J. P. Gownder, David Johnson, Katy Tynan, Andrew Hewitt with Keith Johnston, Alex Sobchuk, Rachel Birrell; Forrester; November, 2020.