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Coming Together by Working Apart

Over the past weeks, people and businesses have begun to drastically alter how, when, and where work gets done. As that takes shape, we know that a lot of uncertainty lies ahead. We also know that the more we can collectively maintain productivity levels and minimize business interruption, the better off we will all be when we reach the new normal.

Talent Solutions TAPFIN is sharing some of the trends we’re seeing in the market along with insights about what organizations can do to mitigate risks and disruptions as we work our way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let’s talk about remote work – and why so many organizations have encountered obstacles this week.

Millions of people are now working remotely. Research conducted last week by Talent Board and the Candidate Experience Awards found that 46% of employers are encouraging employees to work from home, while another 32% are considering it. According to the Wall Street Journal, Silicon Valley’s tech companies now have 1 million people working from home in the U.S. as a result of the pandemic. The magnitude and impact of that shift on our collective ability to work productively should not be underestimated.

The challenge is, most companies lack the IT infrastructure and personnel to support hundreds, or even thousands, of new remote workers. This is a reality for companies of all sizes, locations, and industries and not just a problem for low-tech or slow-to-change organizations.

Imagine an advanced industrial firm that suddenly directs most of its staff to work from home, creating thousands of remote workers overnight. Although the organization has the hardware to support a remote workforce, that hardware is not set up to handle the new volume of traffic coming across the network. So they’re facing critical business interruption – lost productivity, systems downtime, and diminished customer experience. Even their conference calls are likely to be impacted by systems that were set up under the assumption that many participants would be joining in from on-site offices. (If you’ve been tempted to curse at any collaboration tools this week, this is probably why.)

In-house IT staff are already stretched thin. Companies will need to augment existing personnel to help scale up infrastructure to support remote work. This could mean engaging systems administrators, network engineers, security professionals, support desk staff, etc. Every organization’s needs will be different. One thing we can be sure of is that demand for short-term support will be high. 

If you expect to increase your remote workforce in the days or weeks ahead, evaluate your staff augmentation needs as soon as possible. You won’t need to reshape your IT department forever – just long enough to scale up and strengthen systems. The good news is, the right contract resources exist. You’ll just need to put them in place before someone else does.

The world has more than enough problems right now. Downtime caused by a lack of technology infrastructure doesn’t have to be one of them.

This article was published on Linkedin and is part of a series of articles in which we share some of the trends Talent Solutions TAPFIN is seeing in the market, along with insights about what organizations can do to mitigate risks and disruptions as we work our way through the COVID-19 pandemic.