Securing the future: defining and implementing a remote work strategy

Businesses and employees who work remotely are more successful and have a more positive sense of well being.
Implementing a Remote Work Strategy doesn’t have to be hard, but it’s essential to ensure a smooth transition. Answer the 4 “W’s” to define your organization’s strategy. ASC is a fully remote workforce and has sound methods to develop these strategies.

Summary:
*Businesses and employees who work remotely are more successful and have a more positive sense of well being.
* Implementing a Remote Work Strategy doesn’t have to be hard, but it’s essential to ensure a smooth transition.
* Answer the 4 “W’s” to define your organization’s strategy.
* ASC is a fully remote workplace and has sound methods to develop these strategies.

The past few weeks have ushered in a seismic shift to the traditional office work environment. Remote work allocations are more popular every year but were still met with some resistance by “traditional” employers. Those days are past: remote work is here to stay. While the prospect may seem daunting, there’s reason to celebrate.

A special analysis of U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data holds promising news for the future of work. 85% of businesses state that flexibility hasincreased productivityin their company. Allowing for more flexible work arrangements and schedules increases employee morale, according to 90% of employees.

77% say allowing employees to work remotely may lead to lower operating costs. By every measure, the statistics show having flexibility is better for everyone.

It’s not easy to equip employees with the tools they need for remote work. Every business and IT leader needs a Remote Workforce Strategy to ensure an easy transition without too much disruption.

If you don’t have a remote workforce strategy (RWS) in place, you are already behind.

Between 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work. In 2015, 3.9 million U.S. workers were working offsite. Today that number is at 4.7 million, or 3.4% of the population. (infographic from Flexjobs)

Components of a successful RWS:

Developing a solid strategy is like investigative journalism. Answer the 4 “W’s”:

Who:

Which of your employees can perform remote work? With the right safeguards in place, anyone who uses a computer to conduct most of their work can do so anywhere. It’s essential to keep business security and data protection in mind while making personnel decisions.

What:

Which components of your business functions can maintain productivity and quality? There are hundreds (if not thousands!) of SaaS and other tech solutions to allow HR, sales, marketing, finance, and customer service to conduct business offsite.

Why:

Consider the underlying business risks as well as opportunities as you construct your RWS. Not only is remote work better for employee morale and productivity, but it also allows you to expand your talent pool.
Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, says: “Talent shortages are fueling the growth of workplace flexibility right now. Not only is it one of the most sought-after benefits among job seekers today but flexible workplaces expand the talent pool. This strategy allows employers to hire the best and the brightest from around the world.”

When: When should you deploy remote work? Yesterday.

Upwork’s “Future Workforce Report” predicts that

73% of all teams will have remote workers by 2028

and with our current climate, that number is likely to increase.
The key here is to “start small…think big…scale fast! Done is better than perfect—once you have a strategy deployed you can track, tweak, and update it.

How:

The eco-system of applications, networks, and other digital systems must be reliable, secure, and play well together. With so many available options for various functions, it can be overwhelming to decide which software solutions to use. It’s important for the executive suite to connect and integrates IT strategy and business goals.

You don’t have to do it alone.

We know first-hand how complicated and intimidating it can be to embark on such a huge operational challenge. Advancement Strategy uses our proprietary methodology to define our clients’ RWS so that every employee can get to work as quickly as possible. We perfected our process within our company—ASC has operated under our RWS since Day 1. Our remote office ensures we can hire top talent from around the globe, and that our employees stay healthy, productive, and engaged.
Ease internal anxiety and ensure success for your business by engaging a consultant to develop a sound Remote Work Strategy. Our expert team not only designs RWS but will install everything you need to get going.

Contact Us!

Innovation is not a Four-Letter Word

How many times have you heard technology leaders use the words “digital transformation” or “innovation”? Every day a new startup seems to pop up out of the ether to disrupt traditional processes, and our clients are constantly running to catch up.

Innovation is a great way to get ahead of those pesky startups, but when we take a look at our clients’ IT strategies, two big problems consistently get in the way of achieving their unicorn dreams:

  1. No Room for Innovation in the Plan
    If you want to achieve transformation, you must prepare to include it in your strategy. We often see:
  • No technologies identified
  • No resources to conceive or nor to identify or implement the innovation
  • No external confluences from which to draw innovation
  • No budget allocated to research or test solutions
  1. But We’ve Always Done It This Way!
    You know the old chestnut: if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. Building something new and game-changing involves risk and uncertainty. Here are some ways NOT to achieve innovation in your upcoming plans:
  • Basing your strategy on what’s working now, or what’s been successful in the past — not on the future.
  • Failing to pre-vet your plans with other parts of the organization
  • Not capturing or tracking data to facilitate and determine the effectiveness of the strategy. When you’re going through the motions, “Strategy” becomes nothing more than an IT Spend Plan.

When developing your IT Strategy for 2020 and beyond, dip your toe in the water while keeping hold of some of the best practices of the past.  Don’t forget to:

  • Research technology market for innovations specific to your industry
  • Collaborate ahead of time with business units that will be impacted by the IT strategy to get ‘buy-in’ and some ‘requirements’ for where they would like to go as a business
  • Evaluate how effective your previous strategies were with respect to spend plan and use that to guide decisions for the next phase of strategy.

So, go forth and innovate! If you need ideas or best practices, we’re always available to brainstorm your next breakthrough.

Are you still doing IT Strategies the Old Way?

In our business, regularly we find Technology leaders say that want to innovate; however, when we examine their IT Strategy, we observe two very big hinderances to achieving innovation.  

  1. First – No Innovation in the Plan
  • No technologies identified
  • No resources to conceive or nor to identify or implement the innovation
  • No external confluences from which to draw innovation
  • No budget allocated to research or test solutions
  1. Second – Planning Done in the Same Old Way
  • Strategy based on current and past not on the future
  • Strategy does not involve pre-vetting with other parts of the organization
  • No tools used to capture, track and facilitate the effectiveness of the strategy
  • Strategy becomes no more than an IT Spend Plan

When developing and IT Strategy for 2020 and beyond, we recommend a incorporating innovative elements to your IT strategy while not forgetting about some of the best practices of the past.  These include:

  • Research technology market for innovations specific to your industry
  • Collaborate ahead of time with business units that will be impacted by the IT strategy to get ‘buy in’ and some ‘requirements’ for where they would like to go as a business
  • Evaluate how effective your previous strategies where with respect to spend plan and use that to guide decisions for the next phase of strategy.

Oh No! I was Just Given Responsibility for all of IT (and don’t have the background)

If you are a tech leader that has performed well and has the capacity to manage more within your organization, you may have been assigned the responsibility for the IT department—especially if the former IT leader has been removed. This can be a difficult position to be in, particularly if you do not have an IT background.

Rather than assume you can manage your way through it, get help!  Work with the other IT talent that is available and consider using outside help to augment your efforts or help you think through strategies.

In other cases, however, the business wants to cut costs and decides to “restructure” by removing the IT leader and simply reassigns responsibility for the IT function to you.

One reason this happens is that it’s assumed the IT department does not understand the business or is not aligned with the business strategy. If ythis sounds like you, it’s an opportunity to learn how IT efficiency and the appropriate Enterprise Architecture roadmap play an important part in business innovation. Empowering your IT team to be strategic and participate in the development of your business strategy is invaluable—utilize their expertise!

You’ve shifted your perception and recognize the value of your IT team. You’ve empowered your employees throughout the organization. Great work! There are a few additional practical actions to take that will ensure your success and maintain your stability and job security.

  • Create a plan to internally support the 10 major IT functions.
  • Learn intelligent ways to cut costs without disruption
  • Be humble, and ask for help or clarification to understand an issue. Pretending to know more than you do leads to poor decision making.
  • It might be tempting, but don’t defer to the large systems integrator and let them do the majority of the work. It’s important for you to know what’s going on in your department.

With this advice and on the job training, you’ll be navigating your organization like a pro in no time! If you need additional help – reach out. Advancement Strategy offers consulting and advisory services for CIOs and other executive-level decision-makers, especially involving Mergers and Acquisitions.