Why IT needs to listen particularly carefully when it comes to home offices
Our working world is changing: more and more employees are working remotely, agilely and digitally together. For an effective and pleasant home office experience, however, the right IT infrastructure is important. IT departments must not simply shrug their shoulders at these challenges but must listen to their colleagues. Because only those who ask questions can reveal potential for improvement and introduce the right measures.
The Corona pandemic has turned our entire lives completely upside down. From contact restrictions to mandatory masks to home office instructions. Almost half of all employees in Germany have been sitting in their home offices for some time and have not seen the inside of the office for months. However, the move to the home office forced by the pandemic and the associated digitalization push also opens up the opportunity for many companies to revolutionize their work habits or even their entire corporate culture.
New Work as a form of work for the future
When it comes to working in the future, the buzzword “new work” is popping up everywhere. It describes the change to new, more flexible and forward-looking forms of work that promote the individual needs and abilities of each employee. The move away from hierarchical structures toward more self-determination and personal responsibility is particularly important for Generations Y and Z, who are currently flooding into the job market. The home office, which has become increasingly common during the pandemic, is an example of the new-work concept. Working from home allows many employees to flexibly and individually schedule their workday, eliminating the time-consuming commute to work and leaving more time for child and dog. Working itself is also changing. Agile methods and new forms of collaboration are shaping the everyday working lives of many employees and increasing the number of accounts and tools used.
Only a happy employee works productively
However, the rapid shift to home office working is also causing difficulties for many people. Some employees miss the interpersonal interaction in their daily work and wish for more recognition and appreciation. Likewise, the merging of work and leisure can lead to problems. Studies show that home office employees take fewer breaks on average, are available longer, and have less compensation through hobbies. All of these issues impact employee satisfaction and well-being.
New Work = New Risks
Agile ways of working and the use of new software and tools also pose a major security risk for companies. Many employees do not know what security standards apply in the home office in order to protect company secrets. Using a personal laptop to access the corporate cloud or using a company laptop to print from an in-house printer can both increase the risks of a cyber-attack. Complex passwords are therefore of enormous importance for the secure use of software and accounts. However, with the rapidly increasing number of accounts and associated login credentials, many employees are overwhelmed. Unable to remember 20 different password combinations, they use the same password for all accounts, write it down in a local file or save it in the browser. All of these behaviors make it easier for hackers to tap into sensitive company data.
“New work means new technologies. And new technologies mean development. So, we must always evolve to work securely and successfully in the digital future. It is therefore crucial for IT to know the associated risks and understand companies and employees in order to provide suitable solutions and ensure a secure working environment. After all, new technologies are only successful if employees use them efficiently and securely.”
Stephan Simon, Sales Manager CEMA GmbH Specialists for Information Technology Nuremberg
Employee surveys lead to more certainty
General employee well-being and the degree to which employees are under or overworked can be measured through regular, company-wide surveys. However, surveying employees alone is not the solution to all problems. The mass of qualitative and quantitative data must be expertly evaluated and related to the user-specific target groups. Subsequently, concrete measures are needed to improve the current situation, the successes of which should be measured and reviewed over time.
Surveys also by the IT department
The IT department should also use this tool: On the one hand, they can survey employees about their current use of tools. On the other hand, employee surveys can identify technical gaps in everyday work that are setting employees back, making them more unproductive and dissatisfied. A common problem is the many passwords for the various applications. A password manager can help.
More satisfaction, productivity and security with Password Safe
Introducing a company-wide password manager can make employees happier in a number of ways. Complex passwords can be generated automatically and at the click of a button with Password Safe, so employees don’t have to worry about creating passwords or remembering password combinations. He is relieved of the worry of being responsible for possible security incidents, as Password Manager manages passwords holistically. Additionally, Password Safe allows passwords to be easily and effectively shared between multiple employees without having to disclose them. This allows people to work productively and securely in shared accounts within and outside of departments.
“Technology is (thus) becoming more and more a means to an end, and that end is to support users in their daily work in the best possible way. That’s why it’s also so essential that IT specialists listen to and understand what makes users ‘tick’ in a company, in a department, in the workspace. Therefore, IT must know the tasks, activities and (technical) problems of the users and also the business in general. Only then can it support the requirements with the best possible software and hardware technologies.”
Michael Krause – Managing Director of the IT service provider TAP.DE Solutions GmbH
Ask for wishes, opinions and ideas
If IT wants to introduce such a password manager, it can show employees that their opinions and needs are important by asking them for wishes or ideas. If companies do this consistently, not only will acceptance of the software be higher, but employees will feel like they are being taken seriously. Currently, it is unfortunate that only 29% of IT leaders ask employees for their opinions on new software.
No way back
It’s no secret that employee well-being and satisfaction are big pluses for a company. This is reflected not only in higher productivity and lower absenteeism, but also in the potential for innovation and low quit rates. However, with the digitization of operations, IT departments now also have a responsibility to do their part: they need to survey employees on their satisfaction with tools and software and upgrade accordingly. New work, home office and agility are not Corona-related phases but will continue to be part of everyday work in the future. The introduction of a password manager such as Password Safe can contribute to greater employee satisfaction by increasing the security level of companies and relieving employees in their daily work.
Because one thing is certain: only companies that identify and solve problems in dialogue with their employees will be able to retain well-trained and valuable employees in the long term in the war for talent.