Modern businesses are increasingly adopting remote work solutions. This is driven by advancements in technology, changing employee expectations, and the long-lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote work enhances employee productivity, allows for business continuity, helps organizations broaden their talent pool and increases employee job satisfaction.

However, remote work also comes at a cost for IT teams, and we don’t mean the infrastructure and software. Setting up and operating remote connectivity solutions, collaboration tools, cloud services, endpoint security, IAM and so much more creates hassle, stress and overhead. These can detrimentally impact IT’s productivity and wellbeing. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right technological solutions, remote work can make IT’s work stress-free, freeing them, and other employees, for strategic initiatives that drive the business. For example, when it comes to remote connectivity, a Secure Enclave can help.

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In this blog post, we list the less visible challenges of remote work on IT and what organizations can do to overcome them. For continuity, we’ll maintain our focus on managing remote connectivity solutions.

IT Team’s Key Role in Setting Up & Operating Remote Connectivity Solutions

IT teams are central to the deployment and management of effective remote work solutions. They ensure that businesses can function efficiently and securely in a dispersed work environment.

IT departments are responsible for:

Remote Connectivity Costs for IT

Managing remote connectivity for IT involves several direct costs that can significantly impact the overall budget. These include:

You can calculate the impact of these costs and their alternatives in Venn’s ROI calculator.

In this blog post, we are going to dive into additional factors that impact IT productivity, but aren’t added as line items in budget spreadsheets.

The Hidden Aspects of Remote Work and Their Impact on IT Productivity

Supporting remote employees extends beyond the straightforward expenses of hardware and software. These costs encompass less visible aspects related to operational challenges and employee well-being.

Overcoming Anxiety

Managing IT infrastructures involves numerous responsibilities that can be significant sources of anxiety for IT teams. There is constant concern over whether devices and remote connectivity software will function properly, managing the logistics of shipping devices to remote workers and ensuring their safe return, and addressing support tickets from frustrated users when connectivity lags or calls disconnect. In addition, there are IT emergencies such as server crashes or security breaches that can occur at any time, including nights and weekends, forcing team members to work irregular hours.

This constant stress can disrupt professional performance and personal lives, leading to burnout and affecting productivity and overall well-being.

Shipping Devices, Operations & Logistics

One of the most significant challenges IT teams face is the provisioning and distribution of devices to remote employees. This involves the physical act of shipping devices, sometimes on a global scale, imaging devices with necessary software and security measures, maintenance and repairs, and retrieving devices from employees who leave the company. High turnover rates can exacerbate these challenges.

IT departments must continuously manage this flow of devices. This increases their workload and overhead, straining IT resources and turning them into a logistics department instead of the organization’s technology drivers.

Ensuring End User Compliance

Remote employees might resist new tools or workflows, especially if they feel that their needs are not adequately addressed by the IT solutions provided. They might use unauthorized devices or applications that feel more familiar or accessible, potentially exposing the organization to security risks. Therefore, ensuring that all employees adopt and correctly use the provided technology is a significant challenge that requires continuous feedback mechanisms and support from IT.

This requires additional IT time and resources and can lead to conflicts between user convenience and security requirements, creating an unpleasant, and potentially hostile, work environment.

Dealing with Frustration from Using Legacy Systems

Many remote connectivity and BYOD workforce solutions are based on outdated technologies, like VDI. These traditional systems typically require more frequent maintenance and specialized support to keep running smoothly. They also create more dissatisfaction among end users and require additional training from IT teams.

This creates frustration among IT teams, since they find themselves spending their time on busywork, manual processes and responding to angry users, when more advanced technologies are available.

Overcoming Poorly Defined Processes

Lack of well-defined processes for handling tasks and resolving issues can lead to inefficiencies and increased operational overhead. For example, without streamlined processes:

This can result in the consumption of disproportionate IT resources and time.

Balancing Competing Internal Agendas

Diverse departmental goals can also lead to IT strain. For instance, HR departments might advocate for BYOD workforce policies to attract top talent, but IT departments are not given the autonomy to find the right tools to connect and secure these devices. Similarly, executives might prefer using their own devices or software that are not optimized within the company’s IT infrastructure.

Integrating and supporting these preferences securely can require bespoke solutions and IT needs to have the resources and business clout to do so.

Taking on Training Sessions

Remote work requires the use of specialized software and systems that enable collaboration and productivity. Since many of the systems in use were not designed for a remote workforce that connects to company systems, the Cloud and the internet at scale, they can be complex and challenging for both IT and employees to master without proper training.

IT teams need to develop and implement comprehensive training programs to bring themselves and all employees up to speed.

Managing Tool Sprawl

Tool sprawl refers to the excessive proliferation of software tools and technologies used by an organization. As the number of tools increases for supporting remote work, so do the hidden IT costs. More tools mean more work for IT departments in terms of maintenance, updates, training and troubleshooting. Each tool may also have unique requirements for integration and security, further complicating the IT landscape.

Lack of Resources

With remote setups, IT departments are expected to manage more devices and software issues remotely, often with the same or fewer personnel. This can lead to slower response times and potentially lower overall system reliability, which in turn impacts employee productivity and satisfaction.

IT staff must find workarounds just to ensure day-to-day operations, which stretches them thin and diverts resources from more strategic initiatives.

Accepting Career Halt

Supporting remote employees requires overhead and busywork, rather than letting IT focus on strategic, business-enabling initiatives. This can cause IT professionals to feel like their growth and ability to innovate are stifled, as they’re forced to work on maintenance and older systems that do not align with modern technological practices and advancements.

In the long run, this impacts both their personal satisfaction and their professional skill set.

How Secure BYOD Makes Things Simpler for IT

While remote work has several benefits, including enhanced productivity and expanded talent pools, it imposes significant strains on IT resources. These include anxiety, the logistics of distributing, configuring, and retrieving devices on a global scale, dealing with user frustrations, inefficient processes, tool sprawl, and more.

To drive employee and IT productivity and satisfaction, companies need to reevaluate their remote work support strategies. This includes:

Introducing: Venn

Venn is the first purpose-built patented technology for secure BYOD workforces that drives IT productivity and satisfaction. With Venn, remote work is secured on any unmanaged or BYOD computer. The solution is radically simplified and less costly than virtual desktops, having to lock down every PC, or having to ship devices to remote employees.

Work lives in a company-controlled Secure Enclave installed on the user’s PC or Mac, where all data is encrypted and access is managed. Work applications run locally within the enclave – visually indicated by the Blue Border™ – where business activity is isolated and protected from any personal use on the same computer. As a result, company data is protected without having to control the entire device and remote work is secured without the cost, complexity and performance issues of VDI.

Venn addresses all hidden aspects of remote work and helps IT teams remain productive:

Venn drives IT satisfaction, benefiting the department, all employees, and the business as a whole.

Try Venn today.

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Noga Cohen