Unsurprisingly, more people than ever are working from home, but as businesses begin to be able to resume on-site functionality, many are wondering how months of remote work will affect their business in the long run. More specifically, is remote work the “new normal,” and if so, how should their business plan for a more flexible and secure remote-friendly future?
Remote work offers many benefits: cost savings for the company, cost savings for its employees, better productivity, and increased employee satisfaction. The numbers behind these benefits are compelling. One study showed that a typical company saves $11,000 annually for each employee working remotely half of the time, and that same employee saves about $4,000 annually as well. Another showed that 79% of those working from home reported increased productivity and better focus and that 77% want to remain working from home permanently.
Here’s what to consider if you’re weighing whether to make remote work the new normal for your company:
- Can roles truly be carried out remotely? Do employees’ roles require special equipment, hands-on labor, or anything else that complicates working from home? Do employees have the technological capacity and lack of home distractions to sustain working from home permanently?
- Who is providing the equipment, and how can it be used? If you furnish remote employees with laptops, how will you ensure device security? Working from home presents unique security challenges because remote workers lack the security controls of working in an office. New risks mean additional security protocols may be necessary. Additionally, should you need to terminate an employee, you should consider how to remove data and account access remotely and ensure equipment return.
- How will you communicate and track progress? There are a myriad of programs to help you stay in touch across time zones and locations. Whatever you choose, constant connectivity and collaboration is key. Employers often think remote workers aren’t as productive, and remote employees sometimes worry more about appearing busy than actually being productive. To combat this, there must be procedures, tools, and plans in place to keep the lines of communication open between employees and employer and to track employee progress.
- How can you maintain company culture through remote work? Remote workers often struggle to bond with coworkers because they do not interact physically on a daily basis, which means that additional effort must be made to make them feel like they are part of the culture. Regular video calls are very important to maintaining company culture.
Some of the most important decisions you’ll make in enabling long-term remote work concern the IT infrastructure that supports your business. NetApp has a complete set of solutions to help with cloud-based end user environments that are especially useful for a remote workforce, including:
- Cloud Volumes Services in AWS, GCP and Azure NetApp Files: This is a fully managed cloud native storage solution that can grow to 100TB per instance and run file shares at peak performance while providing multiple service levels on an organization’s preferred cloud provider.
- Cloud Volumes ONTAP: Operating on top of cloud compute and cloud storage, this storage service offering allows users to configure and manage ONTAP and all the cloud resources associated with it, including cost savings via data reduction technologies, cold data tiering, and the same experience in the cloud as is available on premises.
- Cloud Backup Service: This add-on feature for Cloud Volumes ONTAP delivers seamless and cost-effective backup and restore capabilities for protection and long-term archival of your cloud data.
- SaaS Backup for Office 365 and Salesforce: Data loss is more common than ever. Take advantage of flexible storage targets and unlimited data retention for backup and retain complete control of your data. With features like granular recovery and single click restore, this secure, cloud-native SaaS ensures that your data is easily accessible when you need it.
- Cloud Insights: This SaaS-based infrastructure monitoring tool gives you visibility into your complete infrastructure, allowing you to monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize all your resources, including your public clouds and your private data centers. Start with a free edition for your NetApp storage assets and add the functionality you need easily to monitor and optimize your complete stack in the cloud or in your data center.
- Virtual Desktop Service: Solving the complexity of deploying and managing virtual desktops in the public cloud, this service reduces deployment time from 2-3 days to just a few hours. It can be deployed as a flexible software service to manage your VDI or as a fully managed VDI-as-a-Service platform. It is cloud service provider agnostic and gives you an automated and orchestrated virtual desktop solution that fits your need to support your workforce, no matter where they are located.
- Global File Cache: NetApp’s intelligent Global File Cache creates a software fabric that caches “active data” sets in distributed offices globally. As a result, business users are guaranteed transparent data access and optimal performance on a global scale—always secure, always available.
- Cloud Compliance: Driven by powerful artificial intelligence algorithms, Cloud Compliance supports your data compliance journey and sets the new standard for enhancing your organization’s data privacy program with built-in data privacy controls.
- Cloud Sync: This easy to use cloud replication and synchronization service transfers NAS and S3 data between on-premises and cloud object stores.
Want to learn more about how NetApp and other GDT partners can help you enable remote work going forward? Click here to email me; I’d love to hear from you!