- Managed DaaS
- Happy End Users
This was my second year attending the Remote Working Summit and it remains a great event. With statistics clearly pointing toward increasing trends of remote working it’s interesting how it’s actually taking shape in the real world and what challenges organizations with remote workers are facing.
The drivers and needs that dominated conference talk last year took a back seat this year as many of the attendees’ remote programs have matured immensely. In fact, many of the people I talked to this year had their programs double in size or more over the past 12 months. This year, talk turned toward examples of how successful remote working has been and what’s standing in the way now.
Organizations wouldn’t have doubled their number of remote agents if the programs weren’t working. But they’re not only working, they’re crushing in-house agents in a number of metrics.
Multiple people I talked to outlined a range of benefits associated with remote workers:
For these reasons, many of the organizations are hiring exclusively remote for certain roles (primarily contact center and customer support). The benefits are simply too great not too.
Now that remote working has proven itself for these organizations, they’re beginning to analyze the roadblocks and look for appropriate solutions.
IT and support teams are still trying to provision and support remote agents the same way they would an in-house employee, which is causing a lot of headaches for business managers and remote agents.
Many organizations at the Remote Working Summit are tied to the “hub and spoke” model, which constrains remote workers to a roughly 90 mile radius from an office location. This is partially for training reasons, but also because remote agents often have to pick up their desktop (and any other equipment) from the office then return to have it repaired or patched. (Or, in one situation, the company mailed USB drives with patches to remote workers and relied on the employee to properly install the patch or update, which opens up a big data security risk if the agent doesn’t follow through.)
Whether agents pick up their equipment from an office or it’s shipped to them, remote programs face another challenge when it comes to setting everything up in the agent’s home. IT teams have to thoroughly train agents on setup, or spend complicated hours trying to remotely walk agents through the process.
Troubleshooting presents an equal challenge. One statistic I heard at the event said that roughly 80% of support tickets were related to user error or to report vague issues like something “not working” or “running slow” with little to no additional insight from the agent (who isn’t always extremely technical). There are so many moving parts between the hardware, software, network, servers, etc. that it can take hours to figure out the root cause of the issue – hours where the agent is offline.
To make matters more difficult, many companies don’t have a separate help desk for home agents. Though the needs are often different and require a different type of troubleshooting, remote workers have to rely on the corporate help desktop to address any issues remotely.
These tech challenges don’t exist because there isn’t a better solution. They exist because the IT and tech branches of organizations haven’t fully adapted to the workplace shift. This creates a lot of opportunity for optimization within remote working programs.
One of the things I heard most often regarding where organizations want their programs to go is the goal of getting out of the hardware business – in other words, embracing agent BYOD (bring your own device). This requires a different way of thinking for many IT teams, and they’ll have to explore options like application streaming and virtual desktops that will meet this desire for BYOD while keeping data secure.
Up until now, the mangers who run remote programs have had to deal with whatever IT gave them. But after this year’s Remote Working Summit, I see a trend coming of business managers working closely with IT to find solutions that address the known challenges and better fit this new way of working. Organizations have acknowledged the benefits of remote working, now they need to make the commitment to the technology that will push those programs to the next level. I’m excited to see if we get there by Remote Working Summit 2019.
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