Reflecting On One Year Since Remote Work | | | Data Recovery Journal, March 23, 2021, by David Marshall

It has been a little over one year since COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic and shut down most of the country. Throughout the past 12 months, COVID-19 showcased IT’s ability to step up to not only fight the virus but also drive innovation to keep businesses up and running while protecting them from cyber-adversaries.

Innovations in communications technology has ensured that nearly 60% of people working from home due to COVID-19 are content. In particular, Zoom saw its users jump 30-fold in April 2020 as businesses quickly learned how to manage remote workforces. The pandemic has also changed attitudes to technology forever with more than half of executives investing in technology for a competitive advantage or refocusing their entire business around digital technology.

Remote work has also forced security teams to work together to combat growing cyberthreats. Throughout the pandemic, there has been a 300% jump in cybersecurity complaints according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Forbes also reported in 2020 that even as the pandemic caused many companies to reduce IT spend overall, investment in cybersecurity increased during the year compared with 2019.

As we reflect on one year since remote work began, we spoke to various experts on what the IT industry learned from a year of lockdowns and the role technology will play as organizations begin to plan for a return to a new semblance of normalcy.

Ali Knapp, President, Wisetail

“Nearly one year after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the U.S., leading to lockdowns and entire companies abandoning their offices for safer but more isolated remote work approaches, it’s critical for organizations to not only review their business strategies but also their people strategies. With nearly one-third of workers claiming they’d rather take a pay cut than return to an office and more than half believing all companies should offer a remote work option, keeping staff engaged and excited from afar is a need that’s here to stay.

Research shows that social and collaborative interactions are key to corporate prosperity. Employees perform better when they work collectively, customer retention is higher with training and engagement programs, and partners and sales teams are more successful when they have ongoing learning experiences.

While the bottom line is important, ensuring staff feel valued and passionate about their work can help turn a company into a true community. On the one year anniversary of this new remote world, we are highlighting key steps businesses must work into their people strategies to help bring distributed staff closer together, despite being far apart:

  1. Provide a personalized and social learning experience: Whether a company is onboarding new joiners or providing training for existing employees, making these engagements targeted to their roles, interactive and engaging can reduce feelings of loneliness and help individuals retain information.
  2. Communication and social gamification: Turning learning opportunities into games that help staff collect points for attendance, leading to praise and prizes, can foster wider training buy-in from employees.
  3. Culture of community: Encourage staff to communicate on internal message boards and even chat apps about their work experiences and what’s going on in their personal lives — try out an amazing new recipe? Share it! Run a 5K? Share it! Finally teach your new pandemic puppy how to sit and heel? Share it! Including one another in the little wins in life can create a community within a company and help individuals feel like they are in this together, regardless of location.

In short, the right people strategy leads to a strong culture and a greater brand, while making each individual feel heard and appreciated.”

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