by Brendan Kiely, CEO and Co-founder of ThinScale Technology
Remote working isn’t a new phenomenon – but the outbreak of COVID-19 certainly propelled its standing and adoption across various industries globally. Before the onset of the pandemic, 3.4% of the US workforce was already working remotely. Naturally, those numbers have soared. In March, the start of our ‘new normal’ saw 88% of organizations globally adopting the work from home model to prevent the spread of the virus.
Enabling remote working is the easy part for most initially, but maintaining a remote workforce is truly where the challenge starts. Many global outsourcers and contact centers used the ‘lift and shift’ method to enable remote working – essentially picking up the office setup and moving it home. While this easily and closely replicates the environment the workers are used to in the office (security considerations aside), many organizations chose the easier route by enabling their employees to work from home using their own devices, or provided them with the option of doing so.
This brings in the questions that employers should be aware of – how ergonomic and secure is the employee’s setup at home? Is the environment free from distractions? Is it safe from fire hazards? Is there enough room to move around and work productively? Do employees have a dedicated workspace?
Because ThinScale focuses on enabling secure, rapid, and easy work from home technology on personal devices for leading global outsources, these questions were top of mind from the beginning in our office. We applied the solutions we’d used to solve the client’s problems and utilized them to help our employees perform their best amidst a stressful time.
The introduction of a Remote Office Coordinator in ThinScale started in October 2020. This role is derived from the company’s need for a clear communication line and support between the employees and management. New and current employees now have a point of contact to help them thrive in their home working environment – from the physicality of the environment, ergonomic assessment, and wellbeing. It’s now the company’s responsibility as to how well the person is set up at home, both physically and mentally.
It’s important to establish that you’re no longer working in the same environment anymore, and all the employees at home need to be set up correctly and are meeting certain requirements. A remote working coordinator’s role is to simplify the transition from office to home, the onboarding of new hires, and in all, ensuring that employees have a point of contact for anything remote working related – including concerns, wellbeing, and budgets for a home office, etc. That said, a remote work coordinator can also organize virtual events to keep employee morale up and for them to feel connected from a distance.
The challenge of work at home this year isn’t just the act of working from home – it’s working from home in the middle of a global pandemic. Anxiety and stress levels are sky-high, and many employees confined within their homes are quickly losing their routine, a sense of normalcy, and some are more isolated than others. Support is needed for both their physical and mental wellbeing.
With the prediction for 2021 and beyond being a hybrid working model where employees are fulfilling a mix of office and home working, the Remote Office Coordinator’s role will undoubtedly grow in its importance – perhaps even more. 2020 brought many companies into an unprecedented work environment, and 2021 requires companies to be more agile in how they operate. There will be more requirements to ensure that all employees are set up correctly and compliantly in both environments and ensure that the team culture, events, and wellness are kept in check throughout this transition into the ‘next normal’.
Brendan Kiely is the co-founder and Managing Director of ThinScale Technology. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Brendan has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and knew he wanted to run his own business. Launched in 2013, ThinScale Technology was an immediate success, and Brendan has become a passionate advocate for remote work and data security.