Over the past few months, the entire globe has been through the largest proof-of-concept in working from home, writes Amir Sohrabi, Area VP of Emerging Markets. COVID-19 has made remote working the new norm, as organisations were forced to experiment with a way of working many had previously deemed impossible, despite advances in tech to facilitate it.

While some businesses were prepared, in most cases it was a scramble to get workers up and running and build a solution from scratch.

What was surprising for most companies, including SMEs, was that the outcome of this extreme experiment proved to be hugely positive. Small businesses saw increased levels of productivity and monetary savings. Many employees established a new work/life routine, which proved to be a more efficient use of their time. Essentially, we had an inflection point — an event that forced people to rethink the way they work, and showed us that there are different ways to work.

A time to reflect, plan, and act

As we start to settle in to the new normal,  entrepreneurs are getting a chance to step back and review the impact remote working has had on their workforce and organisation. They are now able to ask themselves, “Do we need to go back to that large, expensive office space? Do we need to spend two hours a day in traffic anymore?”

Small business owners can now work out their strategy, select the right partners, and ensure they are doing remote working in a way that empowers their employees to do their best work and that will be sustainable over the long term.

Hybrid working is an option that many small businesses are currently considering, as it allows for a combination of the best of both worlds – the flexibility and productivity of remote working coupled with the personal connections and cultivating of an organisation culture that office working encourages. One of the barriers for entrepreneurs when it comes to hybrid working, though, is the IT worries that accompany your employees not being office bound.

Many business owners encountered IT issues when COVID-19 forced them into remote working – such as security fears and employees not having the right technology or access to data – and these need to be addressed before SMEs can truly embrace hybrid working.

However, entrepreneurs seldom have the funds to initiate massive IT transformation in their companies, especially in light of the current economic climate, as well as the multiple uncertainties around doing business during a pandemic. It’s therefore crucial that they find IT solutions that are easy to implement and affordable.

Three considerations when going hybrid

Here are some considerations that entrepreneurs should take into account when planning how to expedite a truly hybrid working environment to accommodate long-term remote work:

  1. In today’s remote work world, companies need to ensure every employee — regardless of their work location or device — has a high performing, secure experience when accessing mission-critical digital workspace apps and data that drive the business. You also need to give administrators the intelligence they need to deliver a great employee experience that accelerates productivity and security. Quickly pinpointing and remediating user experience subfactors such as log-in times, app launch times and app performance on a per-user basis helps to ensure your workers are able to stay productive when working from home. Citrix Analytics for Performance and Citrix Analytics for Security is the ideal solution for this. It uses machine learning to deliver secure, high-performing end-user experiences
  2. When it comes to security, now that workers are accessing corporate resources from more locations, a zero trust approach is more important than ever. SMEs need a solution that asserts that trust between a user and access to corporate data must constantly be earned, not just at the time of authentication.  The solutions should combine device management, access control, multi-factor authentication, SSO, SSL VPN, web isolation, web proxy and more.  With its Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Citrix is uniquely positioned to deliver a single-vendor zero trust framework because we already offer industry-leading products at all the layers of the Citrix Workspace technology stack with a unified management plane.
  3. Lastly, small businesses need to ensure that they are delivering a consistent experience for today’s workforce, no matter which endpoint they are using. Employees should be staying engaged and secure with increased mobile productivity and simplified deployment. Citrix Endpoint Management helps transform the workspace experience with support for all endpoints, providing a unified experience with comprehensive capabilities. Endpoints can enroll natively with the Citrix Workspace app whenever managed apps are needed, giving admins the peace of mind that endpoints are secure, regardless of device location.

Bearing these points in mind, developing a hybrid workforce need not be complicated or costly. Small businesses need to ensure they are agile in order to adapt to the new normal, and this agility is nowhere as crucial as when it comes to IT systems. Putting the right solutions in place will help SMEs to modernise their workforce and accelerate digital workspace delivery and more

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