- Many organizations do not have developed plans for how to turn on-premises employees into remote workers in an emergency.
- In an emergency situation, such as a pandemic, sending employees home to work remotely without time to prepare presents daunting challenges, such as trying to comprehend and prioritize the myriad of tasks that need accomplishing for human resources, the business, and IT in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world.
- Security issues may arise from employees not used to working remotely. Indeed, employees sent home to work remotely in an emergency may not have been eligible otherwise. This creates security risks, including the proliferation of shadow IT.
- The emergency will restructure the business: make sure it’s done right. While your organization may need quick fixes for day one of an emergency remote work plan, these are not viable long-term solutions. The emergency will vividly reinforce to the business side that more resources need to be directed to IT to enable strong business continuity and employee safety. Make sure the right plan is put in place during the crucial first weeks. The next emergency is just around the corner.
- Prioritize key business processes. Before getting into the details of a work from home policy, identify which crucial business processes need to continue for the company to survive. Build the remote work policy around supporting those workflows.
- Where the “carrot” is not possible, emergencies may require the “stick.” To ensure secure endpoints and prevent proliferation of shadow IT, you may need to enforce certain rules through policy. However, disenfranchising employees is not a long-term solution: once the emergency subsides, use this basis to explore end-user requirements properly and ensure employee-driven adoption plans. Where possible, for this latter scenario, always use the carrot.
Impact and Result
- A prioritized plan for IT processes through Info-Tech’s cascading responsibility checklists for emergency remote work.
- A codified emergency remote work policy document to better prepare for future emergencies.
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