Business growth, particularly beyond 2020, should never be taken for granted. It is the result of hard work and planning by employees who have done their best to weather the unprecedented storm that has been brought on by the pandemic and adapt to new remote working arrangements. As we settle into our new understanding of ‘business-as-usual’, the benefits of remote work are only just unfolding and maintaining this success should be front of mind for all business leaders.
Employees are the obvious winners of remote work. Greater flexible working arrangements mean staff are able to work when and where based on their needs. Decreased office capacities are also pushing organisations to become location-agnostic, saving resources on real-estate and utilities.
However, the benefits of remote work extend beyond the individual experience. Since coronavirus restrictions were set in place, Australia recorded the lowest level of greenhouse gas emissions since 1998. Eliminating the need to commute or use natural resources to power offices represents a huge leap in the sustainability agenda. Maintaining and achieving further environmental success therefore goes hand in hand with organisations’ abilities to meet remote working objectives.
Here are a few ways for organisations to both sustain business success and make a positive environmental impact.
Secure the remote work environment
Remote working has forced IT teams to come up with ways to secure new environments in which the organisational network is accessed from. This could include your home, a shopping centre or a café. Employee experience must also be factored in – having all employees take the necessary steps to ensure company data is accessed securely requires a frictionless process.
According to a recent poll by LastPass and IDG, 62% of IT decision makers believe multifactor authentication (MFA) is the most effective way to secure their remote workforce. MFA requires the user to provide two or more factors before granting access which can be both contextual and biometric. Single sign-on (SSO) and enterprise password management (EPM) are also great tools to strengthen an organisation's security.
These are essential in every security strategy to ensure the right people are accessing the right data at the right time. As businesses are plunged into a state of turmoil, new devices, apps, Wi-Fi networks, contractors/freelancers and more, can present a security threat. By mitigating such risks, businesses are able to operate efficiently and reliably no matter where its employees are based.
Enhance collaborative outcomes with the right tools
Issues like low productivity levels and poor team morale have long been used as arguments against remote working arrangements. As we’ve come to understand, these have only held off the inevitable.
An engaged and productive team is possible, but only with the correct tools. The latest unified communications and collaboration technologies that deliver advanced video conferencing capabilities are essential to facilitating remote collaboration at scale. Working smarter with integrated tools reduces friction and distractions that have been known to lead to frustrations and cost us time and concentration. The utilisation of cloud collaboration technologies also eliminates most of the physical waste that is traditionally produced in offices.
These tools need to be supported by high communications standards and effective leadership to encourage employees to use these platforms to their greatest potential. A remote workforce that stays connected and engaged is one that has a positive impact on the environment by extension.
Getting started on environmental initiatives in the workplace
Whilst remote work does indeed help organisations go green, they should double down on their commitment to sustainability by taking proactive steps through goals and programs. These could manifest through switching to renewable energy, occupying efficient data centres or reducing and offsetting business emissions. LogMeIn, for example, has also introduced sustainability training which aims at educating its employees globally on best practices to reduce their environmental footprint.
Becoming sustainable and environmentally friendly as an organisation is a combined effort and both employers and employees have a role in working towards a greener future.