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A remote work policy needs infrastructure, collaboration support

In this roundup of UC blogs, analysts discuss reevaluating remote work policies, best practices for team collaboration and lessons learned from China's remote work mandates.

Most organizations have a remote work policy that supports employees working from home. But the response to the coronavirus epidemic forced organizations to reevaluate their policies.

Historically, few employees have taken advantage of remote work policies, IDC analyst Holly Muscolino wrote in a recent blog. Most employees work from a centralized or branch office, but only 15% regularly travel or work from home, according to an IDC survey of more than 300 U.S.-based workers conducted before the coronavirus outbreak.

The reality is, for most organizations, technology and policy haven't kept pace with each other, and the sudden increase in remote work is testing organizations. The infrastructure needed to support remote workers isn't on par with office infrastructure, Muscolino wrote.

Half of survey respondents reported difficulty communicating and collaborating internally, while 40% said they lacked effective remote access. Muscolino wrote that 62% of organizations struggle to match the consumer application experience that employees expect with remote work. Organizations are also challenged with balancing employee flexibility and company security.

Organizations looking to update their remote work policy in light of coronavirus should start with the basics by providing VPNs and single sign-on to give employees access to the corporate network and applications. Organizations should also evaluate content and collaboration tools to support internal and external communication.

Learn why Muscolino said more organizations are dedicating their budgets to remote work policies.

Team collaboration tips to support remote work

With the increase in remote work, more organizations are relying on team collaboration applications to keep employees engaged. But the success of team collaboration relies on best practices, Aragon Research analyst Jim Lundy wrote in a recent blog.

Managers should use team collaboration tools to keep workers feeling connected. It's not enough to provide access to communication and collaboration platforms. Organizations must support a remote work experience that feels as natural as in-person collaboration, he wrote.

Managers must foster consistent communication by making sure team members are engaging with each other. Employees can designate a "work buddy" to chat with throughout the day, Lundy wrote. Managers should also check in with their teams at least once a day to prevent miscommunication and keep on top of project progress.

Organizations need to establish clear objectives to ensure employees are working effectively from home, Lundy wrote. Everyone needs to be on the same page about projects, long-term objectives and short-term goals.

Companies that are accustomed to working in physical offices now need a remote work policy. Having the technology to support remote work is a critical part of emergency preparedness, he wrote.

Check out more of Lundy's best practices to ensure team collaboration success when working remotely.

Collaboration lessons from China's remote work mandates

China's response to coronavirus offers lessons on quickly deploying enterprise collaboration to support a remote workforce. Local governments forced companies to delay their employees returning to work after the Lunar New Year holiday in late January to mitigate the spread of the virus.

As a result, China's enterprise collaboration market grew rapidly, but organizations learned that quickly enabling remote work is not easy, Forrester Research analyst Guannan Lu wrote in a blog.

Many employees were using collaboration and conferencing tools for remote work for the first time. They discovered the tools weren't as intuitive as consumer applications, like FaceTime, and  encountered issues with device interoperability and desktop sharing, Lu wrote.

One lesson for organizations is they shouldn't deploy collaboration tools just to support remote work. Enterprise collaboration must encompass working from the office, at home and on-site, he wrote. Organizations should support collaboration among departments, such as HR, sales and finance, by integrating with platforms like CRM and ERP.

Read on for other key takeaways from the enterprise collaboration market in China.

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