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Enterprises Must Shape WFH Experience


Word collage of WFH terms
Image: dizain -
For many enterprises, the return to the office has been delayed and scaled back, if not postponed altogether. Work from home (WFH) looks like more of a long-term proposition for more people than ever, so the most important next step may be for the enterprise to move from getting remote work done, to getting remote work right.
Among IT professionals who specialize in communications technology, the problem used to be: How do we get our (mostly office-bound) end users to adopt these cool new collaboration platforms? With the pandemic, everyone went home and had no choice but to use Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Zoom, and the other systems out there.
So, problem solved, adoption-wise. Right?
Not quite. In our sister brand Enterprise Connect’s upcoming virtual event, two communications industry analysts will discuss why user adoption isn’t as simple as you’d think, even if users can no longer ignore those collaboration tools. Kevin Kieller, of enableUC, and Blair Pleasant, of COMMfusion, point to signs that users are less than fully satisfied with their new tools — from the well-documented “video fatigue” to the lingering resistance that some users may be demonstrating as they try to adjust to life as a remote worker.
Kevin and Blair propose five principles for driving adoption and actual usage of the tools:
  1. Design with users in mind
  2. Ensure executive sponsorship
  3. Focus on communications and change management
  4. Value training
  5. Work to create a collaborative culture
These factors demand a combination of technical refinement, organizational savvy, and a commitment to ongoing processes and support. It’s an effort that will require buy-in and enthusiastic support from IT, HR, and upper management if an enterprise — and its employees — are to succeed with remote work.
The Enterprise Connect digital event will also feature a presentation from consultant Ira Weinstein, of Recon Research, on the topic, “How to Help Employees Get the Most from WFH.” Ira, whose expertise is in video and A/V systems, offers tips on creating the best possible setting for video broadcasting from the home office, including a discussion of the various elements such as microphones and external cameras that can significantly improve the experience of video — but of course come with a price tag.
Even before the pandemic, the quality of remote workers’ experience tended to be an afterthought: These users were perceived as lone wolves, individuals who had made the choice not to go into the office and therefore were solely responsible for the quality of their collaboration experience, for better or worse. And then, once everyone got sent home, the overwhelming task of simply enabling the technology consumed just about all the time, energy, and budget that enterprises could throw at it.
But if work really is changing forever — if remote work really is going to be the rule rather than the exception for knowledge workers — then enterprises will have to be more proactive about taking a hand in shaping the WFH experience. That means giving users incentive not just to adopt the technology, but to embrace it. And it means sharing the responsibility for making home offices a true extension of the workplace.
We’ll be discussing these topics and much more in our Enterprise Connect Digital Conference & Expo 2020. It’s free to register for our conference program. I hope you can join us.