There are many challenges of remote working that we all do not want to become the new normal: Back-to-back Zoom calls, server issues, forgetting to hit the ‘mute’ button when our dog catches sight of a squirrel. It’s become tougher to check in with our team, too.
Even though no-one would wish for these circumstances, there is an opportunity to adapt, to become robust. The aim is not to claw our way back to the past, but to retool for the future so we can stay ahead of the norm.
It’s not just meetings that are going digital. Every process is becoming a part of the web. And it needs to.
For HR, this means pivoting to digital onboarding. We cannot rely on face-to-face interactions to show a newcomer the ropes. Nor can we trust in a shared location to enable company culture to be acquired through osmosis. But although this is initially a setback, there are ways to adapt.
The Brandon Hall Group’s research into onboarding reveals that technology “increases the chances for increases in KPIs. Organisations using a technology solution are 167% more likely to see an increase in employee retention and 60% more likely to see an increase in employee engagement.”
Digital learning platforms present an opportunity to refine the onboarding process. To step back from the procedures we have followed for years and decide what is most important for new starters to learn. We might choose to prioritise elements of company culture and lifestyle over company processes, especially since processes are subject to so much change right now. Technology offers a chance to make it personal.
Security used to mean four walls and a locked gate. And we have tried to apply this model everywhere we can. Firewalls, codes, levels of access. But this model is showing its age. To keep running with the metaphor, it is what we do inside the four walls and locked gate that matters more than who we let inside.
Digital Guardian reports that since switching to remote-working, there has been a “47% uptick in sensitive data being sent via email in lieu of copying data to a USB drive or a cloud drive.” This risks exposing sensitive information to potential hackers.
They say that “remote employees are egressing classified data at unprecedented rates across all egress paths. Executives and security teams would be wise to consider implementing solutions that provide visibility into this behavior, and a means to control it, in order to avoid a potential data breach.”
Part of the problem is that email can leak information behind a veneer of privacy. Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic (WordPress, WooCommerce) recommends switching from email to Slack or Zoom. Automattic themselves use a purpose-built internal blog forum to keep all communications transparent within the team while blocking the sightlines of unwelcome eyes.
There is a level of collaboration that comes from just being together in the same room. And sadly that is inaccessible to us right now. But while we might have relied on spontaneity and organic conversations to drive collaboration in the past, we have an opportunity to become much more intentional.
For many of us, we treat the internet as a pipeline between remote workers. A kind of chute that we can throw our emails down and any necessary documents. This might be how we are coping in the current situation, but it is not conducive to collaboration. We need to begin taking advantage of the tools on offer to us.
In Platform Revolution, Geoffrey G. Parket argues that we need to start using the internet in a new way, “In the world of platforms, the internet no longer acts merely as a distribution channel (a pipeline). It also acts as a creation infrastructure and a coordination mechanism.”
This might be as simple as sharing a Google document so multiple team members can see and edit a document at the same time. Or your business might need a more tailored solution. Book a call with one of our tech experts and we can figure out what digital tools your business needs to make the most of the new norm.