C-Suite Insider

Leaders entering the ‘next normal’ of remote work

This year has seen the world’s greatest work-at-home experiment take place. After months of adjusting to the changed world, 91 percent of IT leaders worldwide have now shifted cloud strategies to accommodate the new normal, and are now planning the next phase of post-pandemic remote work. The race to recalibrate business models overnight, not to mention the investments made and company culture developed, has left corporate leaders compelled to rethink how they can better support greater flexibility. For many senior leaders however, this is the first time they are managing geographically-dispersed teams, and will be looking to innovative ways of maintaining optimal productivity and also equally importantly is the emotional wellbeing of the employees.

Managing remote talent on the cloud 

Cloud infrastructures have been the key to business continuity throughout this period of unprecedented uncertainty. Localizing all resources and communications, cloud-based platforms are enabling companies to hire from anywhere and effectively remove the professional development barrier to remote working. The model promises companies greater access to talent from untapped locations, tier-2 and tier-3 cities and even smaller towns.

In order to derive the most value from digital recruitment and training, the various parameters typically used to monitor performance should remain consistent. Through ongoing assessments of employees’ results against proven key performance indicators (KPIs), leaders can deliver tailored feedback and action points through cloud platforms. The cloud is facilitating next-generation performance management, to update dashboards and analytical insights on a real-time basis. Through a centralized command center, leaders are able to monitor which teams are adding the most value in focussed areas of the business, and can match them with service lines whose needs they can meet most effectively. By taking this holistic view of team performance, organizations can mobilise resources and match the changing dynamics at the client end.

Corporate wellness in the new world

Whilst the cloud is providing the foundation for organizations to function effectively remotely, it is how leaders reframe their approaches to communicating with teams and creating a strong company culture that will determine the morale of employees. With a heightened focus on mental wellness, employees are in need of a structure to maintain a healthy work-life balance and assistance through various forums.

A Gartner survey found 26 percent of employees can feel isolated when working-at-home, signalling the need for leaders to set up robust lines of communication and understand how to address signs of distress from team members. Frequent and meaningful check-in conversations with employees, can allow leaders to align individuals needing assistance with particular initiatives promoting wellbeing. Forming part of a continuous feedback culture, these sessions can be used discover how employees are managing both professionally and personally. In between one-to-ones, fluid dialogue can be maintained utilizing collaborative channels, such as WhatsApp group chats and e-newsletters. This way companies can ensure organizational updates are shared in real-time, and employees feel socially-engaged despite being remote.

Physical distance should not mean social distance and corporates are already beginning to nurture remote but socially-connected teams that collaborate to deliver.

Enhancing employee confidence on the cloud 

With over half of the employees using their own personal computers in the shift to remote working, instilling trust and confidence in them that their endpoints are secure, will be pivotal to effective home working. Typically used to working on internal systems and adequate IT support, employees are unfamiliar with the increased risk of cyber threats and thus more susceptible to scams and malicious communications. This phenomenon is calling for new, people-focused ways of prioritizing and mitigating cyber risks and to do so, leaders should take steps to create an end-to-end cloud ecosystem. The cloud enables employees to execute work tasks independently from their own device functions until they log out, ensuring data remains safe in remote working environments. Leaders should go the extra mile to also instil a company culture that promotes the importance of being cyber-aware – helping to overcome concerns about security, and also improve overall company performance.

The future of remote work 

.A hybrid model, encompassing a combination of office-based and remote employees, will minimize disruption to businesses and accommodate the accelerating cultural shift. By deploying secure cloud-based collaboration tools, and closely monitoring the wellbeing of staff, companies can overcome logistical barriers to achieve total cohesion and future disaster preparedness.

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Aditya Arora
Aditya Arora, Chief Executive Officer of Teleperformance India. Aditya has an enterprising career span of 23+ years, which includes Leadership of business verticals across the International and Domestic verticals demonstrating initiative and innovation. He has demonstrated commercial, operational and service delivery excellence across global captive and 3rd party BPOs. Experienced in execution and thought leadership in terms of strategy/business planning, business development, process re-engineering, automation, transformational practices, change management, risk management, governance and regulatory compliance. Aditya Arora is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on LinkedIn.