Effective remote working also requires that corporate executives stop thinking of telecom as a utility, says Wechsler. Too often, he says, IT and telecom departments operate reactively and their services are measured by simply how much they cost versus how they can improve their businesses.
If leaders consider the communication infrastructure as an asset—one that offers reliable information access, transport, and delivery regardless of where your employees are located— then they will take the time and care to plan appropriately to maximize the asset's value, says Wechsler.
“When the lights don’t work, you just say, ‘make it work,’” says Wechsler. “They need to be looking at these things as an asset.”
Wechsler says companies should plan and adopt the appropriate technical, operational, and business processes today, in order to facilitate the necessary changes, whether it’s about people, process, or technology, to ensure they can truly take advantage of different communication modalities when and where needed.
When remote working infrastructure works, it can boost productivity. In the case of customer service teams, working remotely boosts efficiency, allowing agents to handle 13% more requests each day, according to a study by Quarterly Journal of Economics
Security will be a top concern in the months and years to come, as will regular reviews of applications to ensure everything is running at full potential to avoid slowdowns. Organizations must also invest in training to ensure employees stay up to date on technology, and ensure even the most tech illiterate can navigate all applications.
The new remote workplace will also require “device independence.” Dialpad, for instance, is a voice over IP system on your computer that lets you forward calls to an app and you can pick them up on your cell phone. A cell phone, then, becomes a business asset that provides people with a corporate number that travels with them. Microsoft Teams and Webex allow employees to access key data wherever they may be and even set up a group conference call using the device, just as easily as they could via a desktop computer.
As remote working becomes the norm for a majority of the U.S. workforce in the months and years to come, leaders must create an infrastructure that won’t necessarily cost money or interrupt business continuity. Instead, it must boost productivity and revenue. “Rather than just getting everyone out of the building,” Wechsler says, “it will be about meeting the needs of users—wherever they are.”