Defining the Modern Workforce and the Modern Workplace
The COVID-19 has crisis has rapidly reshaped the nature of the workforce and the workplace. Employees now have access to a wide range of tools and technologies that allow them to collaborate and be productive, no matter where they are.
The workplace has become a rather nebulous concept. It used to be a fixed location, but is now essentially wherever work happens, whether that is an office building, the home, a coffee shop or anywhere else.
The Challenges of the Modern Workforce
Businesses have had to quickly adapt to evolving changes in the modern workforce. With the widespread shift to remote work, employees require new tools and conditions to remain engaged, productive and motivated. This includes virtual collaboration platforms that are fast and responsive, as well as light and robust devices that are compatible with working anywhere.
So the modern business faces a large task in terms of reinventing an accommodation model for today’s workers. The tasks involved include:
- Establishing high-speed network connections wherever the worker may be
- Providing audio and videoconferencing capabilities
- Providing virtual collaboration capabilities including online chat and file sharing
- Establishing a secure ‘bring-your-own-device’ (BYOD) policy
With every worker now using a suite of devices including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones, hundreds if not thousands of devices need to be requested, approved, procured, deployed, supported, refreshed and disposed of.
Additionally, businesses now face the challenge of managing information security across a distributed workforce. IT teams have been tasked with quickly adapting and improving their security and device management strategies to suit the new environment.
The Collaboration Imperative
The needs of the modern workforce go far beyond resources such as in-office laptops and high-speed networks. Today, a vital component of a productive, agile, creative and innovative work environment is collaboration.
People communicating, sharing information and exchanging ideas virtually is essential to maintaining business continuity. The ability for workers to work seamlessly with others regardless of their physical location is critical to getting work done and done quickly.
Collaboration of this nature relies on voice and video technologies as well as file and content-sharing. Many companies have a subscription to Microsoft 365, which includes the usual suite of Office products as well as Exchange, SharePoint and – critically, in the context of chat, voice, video and data sharing – Microsoft Teams.
From a business perspective, it makes senses to leverage the functionality that’s already included in its Microsoft 365 licensing by managing, enabling and distributing these vital tools via one managed service. In this scenario, device management isn’t just a tactical engagement of a vendor to free up internal IT resources and bandwidth – it is truly a value-add that significantly increases the productivity and effectiveness of the workforce.
Substituting internal device management with a managed service such as CSA’s Modern Workplace-as-a-Service (MWaaS) frees up IT resources to focus on innovation in support of business growth. But with our new distributed workforce, there are even more compelling reasons to invest in such a service.
Firstly, a geographically-dispersed population of devices is much more at risk of a data breach unless it is very tightly managed by standardised processes and experienced staff. A recent report by HP revealed 78% of the IT leaders surveyed believe more remote work means more security vulnerability and risk across the organisation.1
Managed service providers (MSP) like CSA can bring ISO9001 and ISO 27001 certification to the relationship, a framework of policies and procedures that includes all legal, physical and technical controls involved in an organisation’s quality and information risk management processes.
Moreover, partnering with an MSP empowers businesses to more efficiently adapt to the changing needs and challenges of a distributed workforce with agile device management.
Finally, investing in a managed service such as CSA’s MWaaS enables and supports virtual collaboration between workers through ready-to-use tools such as Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.
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1 HP Proprietary Research, 2020.