The hybrid workforce is here to stay, so how do you best enable it for success?

The hybrid workforce is here to stay, so how do you best enable it
for success?

Modern markets are becoming increasingly competitive and with that, retaining top talent is becoming equally challenging.

Although 2020 forced people inside and turned ‘working from home’ into one of the biggest buzz terms of the decade, flexibility and employee desires to work in a more mobile fashion will remain long after the pandemic has passed.

The new workplace is all about facilitating a hybrid workforce where employees have the power and choice to work anywhere, anytime. To do this effectively, organisations need to consider three key pillars and how they intersect with one another when evaluating their technology needs:

  • Mobility
  • Collaboration
  • Security

In partnership with HP and Intel®, this blog will explore what these pillars mean for your businesses. And remember, it is as much about business focus as it is about technology selection.

  • Mobility – consider work as more of an activity than a place.

    As digital technologies have advanced, society’s mentality has been transitioning to one that is more immediate and always connected. Even prior to the global pandemic, employees were moving away 

    from the traditional 9-5 schedule. 81 per cent of employees now claim to handle work activities during their personal time, while 58 per cent partake in personal activities during work time.1

    And with Gartner predicting the percentage of employees that will work from home at least part-time post-pandemic to rise from 32 per cent to almost 50
    (48 per cent)2, the demand for mobility is growing.

    Now more than ever, employees require technologies that facilitate an ad-hoc approach to work – being able to connect anytime, from anywhere,
    and on any device.

     

    The Evolving Workplace: Global Trends, Copyright © 2017 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.

    https://emtemp.gcom.cloud/ngw/globalassets/en/human-resources/documents/trends/gartner-future-of-work-trends-post-covid-19.pdf

     

  • Collaboration – connect with the right people, anytime, anywhere.

    To properly facilitate this growing desire for enhanced mobility, your organisation needs to follow your employees and fuel collaboration regardless of location. Hyperconnected devices are needed to effectively drive more efficient means of communication and project execution using:

    Video conferencing platforms – these are a great means of having those face to face conversations or important meetings when not everyone can be in the same room together.

    Instant messaging applications – are strong tools that can be leveraged for quick conversations or questions, the type of chat that doesn’t necessarily warrant an email.

    Document editing and sharing – with a mobile workforce, it’s imperative you are enabling streamlined and simple ways for multiple staff members to share and edit documents. The ability to edit and share the same document saves invaluable time and confusing email chains that inevitably result in too many versions of the one document.

    Through the enablement of these technologies through devices that your employees can leverage from anywhere, at any time, streamlined and efficient collaboration can be fostered for an empowered team of mobile employees.

    But only if you acknowledge the equally important pillar of security.

  • Security – with increased mobility comes increased risk.

    One of the greatest challenges to protecting a business amid these changing dynamics is the shape-shifting nature of security threats. HP reports that some 350,000 new variants of malware appear on the internet every day. In fact, cybercrime now equates for approximately 31% of all economic crime around the world.3

    But it’s not just the economic impacts of a breach that can hurt you long term. Breaches can also have an adverse effect on employee morale, reputation, and business relations as well.

    Modern demands dictate that your devices and business systems need to be optimised with agility in mind to foster mobile work practices and on-the-go collaboration. But as your team of mobile employees access more information from beyond the business firewall, it's imperative that you only facilitate such practices while also maintaining your security posture to mitigate the growing risk of the threat landscape.

    Mobile work with agile collaboration, without compromising security.

     

     

    3Cybersecurity and the changing office, © Copyright 2019, HP Development Company, L.P.

Aligning each pillar with one another.

Each pillar inherently relies upon the other to achieve optimal functionality. And a big component to correctly taking advantage of them is technology selection.

At MicrotechDPS, we’ve partnered with HP and Intel® to deliver HP’s Elite family of PCs to our valued customers and provide:

  • The mobility you need to keep your staff working no matter where they are.
  • The performance and portability necessary to foster powerful multi-tasking and on-the-go collaboration.
  • The cutting-edge security features that let your employees deliver improved business outcomes without putting your data at risk.

Contact Us

Reach out to a MicrotechDPS specialist and learn how we can help you navigate through the changing technology landscape and leverage cutting edge devices
to the greatest benefit.

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Balancing Real-time Information Access with Security

Think about the tasks you’ve completed today. Where did you get the information from to complete these tasks? How often were you searching through emails to find the information you need? Were your colleagues waiting for you to share information with them, or vice versa?

A lot of time is wasted each day simply trying to access the information we need to do our jobs. IT leaders are now tasked with facilitating real-time information access to drive a number of outcomes:

Streamlined communication - We know the average office worker spends 2.5 hours a day responding to an average of 200 emails, of which approximately 144 aren't relevant to their job. Employees need secure access to real-time communication and project management tools to help them work and collaborate at speed.

Quality control – Outdated methods of version control can lead to creating and saving endless new versions of documents, only to be sent back and forth via email. Centralised cloud-shared documents solve this challenge with tools for tracking and editing in real time.

Customer service - Sales and customer service teams can’t afford to waste time searching for customer information during a live conversation. To improve their productivity, while driving sales and increasing customer loyalty, it’s essential to have centralised and accessible customer information through cloud-based CRM tools.

At the same time, these new approaches to real-time information access require careful planning to ensure devices and endpoints are all secured through a zero-trust security approach. Unfortunately, IDC research shows that almost half of all companies are still treating endpoint security as a secondary issue, and aren’t addressing it with the strategic and holistic approach it requires.

Third party software solutions such as antivirus and firewalls can provide some assistance in securing endpoints, but they’re only one component of robust endpoint security. While they may be effective in preventing the majority of threats to devices, it only takes one unique piece of malware or determined attacker to pierce these basic defenses.

For organisations who want to securely deliver all of the benefits of real-time information access, it’s essential to deploy devices with robust inbuilt security features. HP Elite PCs are built with hardware-enforced security features and layers of protection within the OS to proactively prevent threats and quickly recover in the event of a breach. Some of these inbuilt features include:

  • HP Sure Sense uses proprietary deep learning algorithms and advanced neural network technology to instinctively recognise malware and protect against never-before seen attacks.
  • HP Sure Click6 protects from websites and read-only Microsoft® Office and PDF attachments by trapping malware in an isolated virtual machine.
  • HP Sure Start Gen5 prevents firmware attacks from completely devastating devices with the world's first self-healing BIOS.

While not a failsafe solution for endpoint security on its own, this level of device security should be a key component of any robust security posture. Although improving real-time access to information can offer significant benefits to workplace productivity, these gains shouldn’t come at the expense of risking your organisation’s sensitive data to a breach or attack.

At MicrotechDPS, this is why we’ve partnered with HP to offer their highly secure EliteBook range, powered by 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processors, and equipped with the most robust in-built security on the market. Find out more by visiting our productivity portal - Explore Workplace 2020.

FlowForma Partnership

MicrotechDPS is pleased to announce a new partnership with FlowForma. Through this regional partnership, we will be bringing FlowForma support into the APAC region, to provide exciting process automation opportunities to our clients.

FlowForma is the leading provider of Process Automation tools for Microsoft Office 365.

Forms, workflow, and document generation are brought together into a single integrated tool with FlowForma, allowing the streamlined and code free implementation of Process Automation across a range of business areas, increasing organizational efficiency and productivity.

Flow forma is designed to be configurable by those who best know the needs of your business, and is agile enough to adapt and change as needed, in order to fit into even the most dynamic business environments. Using the Flow Designer tool, complete solutions can be implemented quickly on the SharePoint platform.

With our extensive experience in workflow and process automation projects, MicrotechDPS is ideally suited to help you leverage your existing Office365 platforms with the added productivity and efficiency of process automation through FlowForma.

FlowForma's no code methodology and rapid prototyping capabilities mean a quick and painless transition to process automation, allowing your business to continue unimpeded as you implement your new workflow procedures.

 

About FlowForma

FlowForma, the leading provider of Process Automation tools for Microsoft Office 365® has been revolutionizing the traditional BPM space with an innovative approach to developing award winning products that empower users to create and streamline processes smarter and faster, utilizing the familiar SharePoint platform, without any coding.

FlowForma is a Gold Microsoft Partner, with over 150,000 users across Europe, America, and Asia. The company is headquartered in Dublin with offices in London and Boston and is motivated by its values to innovate, evolve, and achieve with employees, customers and partners.

 

The Essential Tools for Driving Workforce Productivity

In a disrupted world, every organisation is trying to create business continuity by keeping their people engaged with their work. As we discussed in a previous article, there are a variety of practices and processes that organisations can deploy to drive workforce productivity, but in 2020, the tools you offer your employees are more important than ever.

Nearly every role in your organisation relies on devices, software, and applications to fulfill their unique duties, while staying connected to your business and your customers. So, which of these tools has the greatest impact on productivity, and how do we get the best results from them?

Contextual communication

When it comes to productivity, some tools and technology actually eat up substantially more of our day than is necessary. The primary candidate for most people is email, as we know from one survey, the average office worker spends 2.5 hours a day reading and responding to an average of 200 emails, of which around 75% aren't even relevant to their job.

Thankfully, we now have a dynamic range of tools available to us for communicating with teammates, such as Microsoft Teams or Pexip. Rather than scanning email chains, and constantly clicking reply all, we can create contextual conversations with only the relevant team members we need to get the information we need.

Real-time collaboration

Once again, we know that email can be a significant drag on our employees’ ability to collaborate with each other on projects. Significant amounts of time are wasted by the need to search through folders and emails to find the latest versions of documents.

IDC data shows that the knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information. This is why cloud-based collaboration tools are essential for improving productivity. Through cloud-shared versions of documents and projects, each team member can have confidence they’re working on the correct version, and that all of their changes can be observed or restored in the future.

Role-specific applications

Across your entire business, you may have hundreds of applications being used by employees. Many of these applications could be used by a single employee, such as a web designer or a DevOps engineer. Regardless of how many other people are using an application, if it is essential for an employee’s role, it needs to be provided and regularly updated.

The consequences of not providing the right tools are, at best, lower productivity. At worst, your employees will find and download their own applications which may be less secure and non-compliant. According to Gartner, a third of successful attacks experienced by enterprises will be through their shadow IT applications that employees download and use without permission.

Powerful and secure devices

Particularly with so much of our workforce now away from their desks and using portable devices, it is essential to ensure these devices are powerful, well configured, and secure. One survey by Robert Half Technology found that employees waste an average of 22 minutes each day dealing with poorly configured devices - which translates into about 91 hours, or more than two weeks per year.

Powering productivity increasingly hinges on your ability to provide employees with the right devices for their role, and also ensuring each device has up to date applications, updates and patching for operating systems and security software.

Here at MicrotechDPS, this is why we’ve partnered with HP to offer industry-leading PCs, powered by Intel® processors, that are designed with workforce productivity in mind. Find out more by visiting our productivity portal - Explore Workplace 2020.

Remote worker outside with x360 laptop

Five Tips for Keeping Your Remote Workforce Productive

It is a challenge that many businesses have been grappling with in recent years, but the disruption caused by Covid-19 has brought the question into stark focus in 2020: How do you keep a remote workforce productive?

As we try to drive business continuity in such unprecedented circumstances, many of us are having to quickly reengineer our workforce operations to keep the wheels of our business turning. Yet we also know that some elements of remote work will probably remain with us, with 80% of workers now preferring jobs which offer flexible working, and 30% of people valuing remote work options over holiday time.

Thankfully, we have the technology for keeping a remote workforce productive if we use these new tools in the right way. By combining the right technology with our people and processes, we can continue driving productivity well after the current disruption is over.

Encourage a schedule to prevent burnout

It may seem counterintuitive, but many employees will actually end up working longer hours in remote work scenarios. This is due to two factors:

  1. A lack of separation between their work environment and home environment makes it harder to switch off.
  2. Managers creating unreasonable levels of work to be completed in an attempt to maintain accountability.

To prevent burnout, we need to remember that employees shouldn’t be working longer hours just because they aren’t commuting. Encourage employees to stick to an office hours schedule for completing their work.

Provide the right tools for each role

Few factors will limit productivity more than not providing your employees with the technology and tools to do their work. Yet an astonishing 80% of the workforce were reporting back in 2019 that they don’t have the technology to do their jobs properly.

Whether we like it or not, our employees will find the applications they need for completing their work with or without our permission. To limit the use of shadow IT and malware, it’s a good idea to create an inventory of the applications each employee needs on their device and ensure they’re consistently updated.

Create accountability in every role

Although we still want to maintain a level of mutual trust with our employees, there is obviously a need to maintain some level of accountability, particularly when we can’t physically see our employees’ working.

Tools such as Slack can be great for tracking project progress but it’s a good idea to create a similar tracker for each employee’s workload. This could even be a simple cloud-shared document or spreadsheet that outlines their list of tasks and deadlines for completion.

Regular meetings provide reassurance

While accountability is important for productivity, so is the reassurance employees need that they’re on the right track. Even if there aren’t any specific priorities to discuss at the time, it’s still important to hold regular meetings to understand any challenges they might be facing and to check their all-around engagement and mood.

Modern conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams or Pexip offer tools for bringing the face-to-face element of these meetings to life. Combining weekly one-on-one meetings with twice weekly team meetings seems to be the ideal mix for most managers.

Keep the morale high with engaging comms

Remember that many people appreciate the general chitchat that takes place in the workplace each day. Just because you aren’t all in the same room, doesn’t mean you can’t maintain some polite banter about current events, or even which shows you’re all watching on Netflix.

Use messaging tools such as Skype, Slack or Microsoft Teams to keep a lifeline of communication across your team or the entire business. While it’s helpful to share success stories about completed projects, try to balance the work chat with some fun conversations so that people don’t just feel like robots.

Of course, keeping your workforce productive requires the best available technology so your employees can complete their work each day. Here at MicrotechDPS, this is why we’ve partnered with HP to offer industry-leading PCs, powered by Intel® processors, that are designed with remote workforce productivity in mind. Find out more by visiting our productivity portal - Explore Workplace 2020.


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