Written by Ed Rodriguez
VP and GM of Canada Sales, Citrix Canada
Businesses are only as strong as their workforce. In the wake of this pandemic, I’m here to remind Canadian businesses that they need to improve the resilience of their workforce to stay operational and productive. This requires an employee-oriented business continuity strategy.
The current Coronavirus pandemic has added a scenario new to many companies – the power of employees. Employees are proving to be the most valuable and most vulnerable part of business continuity. Luckily, numerous businesses have reacted quickly and taken measures to protect their employees while still remaining operational. With the help of technology, these companies switched to a distributed setup allowing their employees to stay safe working from home while remaining productive.
This brings me back to my original point that Canadian businesses need an employee-oriented business continuity strategy. Here are some ways to design and implement this type of strategy:
Take Full Advantage of The Cloud
A straightforward approach to remote work involves simply giving employees remote access to their notebook via a virtual private network (VPN). A more sophisticated strategy would be using virtual apps and virtual desktops, giving employees fast, secure, and reliable access to the company resources they need, and this could be not just from the home office, but from anywhere, and from any device.
This sophisticated approach consists of running digital workspaces in the cloud of a trusted public cloud provider, or as part of a hybrid cloud architecture. It has all the benefits of on-premise virtual apps and desktops, but comes with additional advantages, such as providing an extremely high level of reliability by using public cloud infrastructures. As a result, individual employees, teams, or if necessary, even the whole workforce, have on-demand access to their individual work environments that are constantly monitored and protected against data leakage and cyberattacks.
Reminder, whatever the solutions may be, be sure they are as user-friendly as possible. Otherwise, employees might be tempted to switch to consumer apps for their productivity and communication needs.
Build A Resilient Workforce, And Business Will Come
Technologies that enable easy migration to remote work and home office-based productivity are an important first step, but a close second is to get the workforce on board. Employees need to understand and feel that they are important to the success of the business. So, companies need to motivate team members to take on an active role in business resilience.
The employer should establish regular company-wide communication on all levels, clearly communicating goals and expectations and providing support and online training for the new ways of working.
It’s crucial that team leads are also aware and recognize that their team members need to cope with difficulties while working from home. Some might have to frequently interrupt work to take care of their children at home, while others might not have a separate room for a home office, working from their living room or bedroom.
Regularly encouraging, supporting, and motivating your workforce through online socializing and team-building activities like happy hours, virtual team lunches, or coffee breaks, has never been more important as it’s proven to drive collaboration and enthusiasm across the company.
Trust In Your People
It’s times like these that make the importance of a solid business continuity strategy abundantly clear. Depending on a company’s business and industry, this strategy might include a wide variety of criteria and mechanisms, but across all industries, a company’s workforce always is a business-critical pillar of resilient operations.
What we’re learning is that companies need to move from a culture of presence – where productivity is basically founded on employees being “at the office” – to a culture of trust. While it’s important to equip the workforce with appropriate technologies and put processes in place to avoid business disruption, ultimately, business continuity is about changing the mindset of the people and bringing everyone together in a now virtual way.