Virtual
collaboration:
Learn about
the technology
that makes
remote work, work

Author: David Grady

For some companies remote work was simply a hastily implemented solution, when pandemic-related restrictions disrupted normal business operations. But today, remote work is a strategic operating capability that enables leaders to reimagine and improve almost every aspect of their business. Remote work helps make it possible to hire from a dramatically broader talent pool to allow executives to rethink their firm’s physical footprint. Remote work and its virtual collaboration tools have created unexpected opportunities for businesses to cut costs, enhance customer service, and improve employee engagement and retention.

Still, some senior executives remain dubious that remote workers can actually be productive, engaged and customer-focused while away from the confines of the office. What they may not realize is that virtual collaboration technology specifically designed and optimized for remote work can improve a company’s ability to succeed in an operating environment that’s likely very different from February of 2020. Remote work collaboration solutions can empower your team to succeed whether you’re operating a small business or large enterprise. 

Enabling virtual collaboration technologies

Nearly 97 percent of employees surveyed in a recent FlexJob study said they want to work remotely “at least some of the time,” and 57 percent said they’d consider quitting their jobs if they were not allowed to work remotely some of the time. Facing this new reality, many companies are embracing remote work -- and in doing so are discovering that several technology-driven capabilities are critical to success in a hybrid working world. These remote work collaboration capabilities include:

Reliable connectivity

Internet connectivity is essential for work-from-home employees who rely on online systems and cloud-based applications to get the job done. Consistent productivity levels require connectivity that’s reliable, secure, robust, and easily-manageable. But the quality and stability of that connection can suffer when work from home employees share their internet connection with other members of the household.  Also, when remote employees rely on different consumer-grade internet providers for home office connectivity, companies -- their IT teams can struggle to support all those different types of routers and modems.  Dedicated, business-grade wireless connectivity from a single nationwide provider allows companies to standardize the deployment, support and security of routers and modems.

Cyber security

Every device that connects to a company’s network is potentially “the weakest link” for cyber security if those devices are improperly configured, so a holistic approach to cybersecurity for remote work is necessary. Security starts at the network connection, so standardizing that connectivity through a single, nationwide provider of secure, reliable internet is key. Security controls like data encryption and user- and device-authentication must be embedded into the network. And when an internet provider offers additional security controls that extend beyond the connection itself – such as mobile threat defense – data protection for remote workers is further enhanced. Verizon’s 2022 Mobile Security Index makes it clear that cybercriminals are increasingly targeting remote workers using poorly-secured technology in hopes of stealing user credentials and implanting potentially-devastating ransomware. Ransomware is up 13% this year, more than the last 5 years combined. Gain vital cybersecurity insights from around the world in Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR).

Communication and collaboration

From voice calling and instant messaging to virtual white boards and videoconferencing, online communication and collaboration tools have matured greatly in the last few years, enabling remote workers to seamlessly connect with their peers, their customers and the home office.  When remote workers have reliable internet connectivity and access to proven communication and collaboration platforms, they can collaborate more productively online across teams and accelerate problem-solving. For example, BlueJeans by Verizon enables remote workers to virtually meet and communicate with teammates, partners and customers, while leveraging in-app intelligence to capture important discussion points and assign action items that can make each meeting more efficient. Technology can help remote workers feel connected and engaged with their managers, colleagues and company culture -- no matter from where they work.

Customer service

Technology makes it possible to meet new and ever-shifting customer expectations about service even as more companies turn to remote work. With a cloud-delivered contact center, it’s now possible to provide a seamless omni-channel experience through a single call center interface for all voice, chat, e-mail, SMS and social media interactions. And agents can access online information and collaborate with peers online for issue resolution and other tasks, even as they work from home.

Effective remote work collaboration when your team is dispersed

Leaders need to acknowledge the permanence of remote work—and tap into its potential as a competitive differentiator. Having an effective remote work infrastructure, for example, provides access to a deeper and broader available talent pool, as organizations the world over are learning that talent isn't found in a few select cities.  

"Talent pools change with greater remote work," said Melissa Swift, the global leader for digital transformation at Korn Ferry in an article on digital workforce transformation. "There's wonderful talent available outside Silicon Valley, Boston, etc., [and] at a lower cost."

Learn more about virtual collaboration tools and get expert guidance on the steps to take to successfully create the workplace of the future.

Dave Grady (ISACA CISM, CRISC) is a member of Verizon’s network and security marketing team and has more than 25 years of experience in corporate internal communications and IT program management.