Oct 21, 2020

How Lumin is helping customers secure business in 2020

Remote collaboration is a trend that is not going to decline. A survey on LinkedIn showed that 64% of employees are willing to give up promotions to collaborate remotely. Never before has the number of remote employees, spread across countries and continents, been more significant.

Remote collaboration is a trend that is definitely on the rise. Still, many companies evaluate remote collaboration effectiveness differently because it is not easy to establish team collaboration. A successful remote worker must be a full-fledged team player, motivated to maintain strong business relationships.

The number of organizations offering flexible schedule options or completely remote collaboration options has grown dramatically over the past few months due to the pandemic. Companies that are moving to remote collaboration get great benefits and save significantly on resources. However, what should a company with a large office staff do if circumstances require them to be transferred to remote collaboration? How to coordinate the actions of the team and monitor its effectiveness?

What does "remote collaboration" mean?

Remote collaboration is any work done by a team outside the office. It includes isolated work cases from home and collaboration throughout the work week or in another office. There are already entire companies using the distributed model. With a reliable WiFi connection, you can work remotely from home or a modern collaborating space in Bali. The total number of employees collaborating remotely outside the employer's office continues to grow steadily. As calculated by the World Labor Organization, which issued a joint venture with the European Fund for the Improvement of Living and Collaborating Conditions, in developed countries, the share of such employees in the labor market is 17%. In many countries, particularly in Japan and the United States, it already reaches almost 40% of all collaborators. In most cases, employees who collaborate remotely take positions of managers or specialists and, at the same time, meet the criteria for self-employed, Kommersant writes, referring to the text of the report. So, in the EU countries, about 10% of employees in 2015-2016 collaborated remotely from time to time, 5% collaborated virtually outside the office, and 3% did remote work from home every day.

The highest level of such employees was recorded in Denmark (9% collaborating from home, 10% often collaborating outside the office in various places, 15-18% collaborating remotely from time to time), Sweden (5%, 10%, and 18%, respectively) and the Netherlands (6%, 10%, and 14%), the smallest - in the Czech Republic (2%, 3%, and 5%), Greece (2%, 3%, and 4%) and Italy (1%, 2%, 6%). The USA and Japan have the highest rates of remote collaboration outside Europe - 37% and 32% of employees, respectively. On average, more than 60% of those employed work remotely from home, 16% in customer-provided workplaces, and 11% when traveling by transport. Women prefer to work from home more often than men. In developed countries, growth drivers are now entrepreneurial IT companies. 

A remote form of collaboration is even desirable, as it allows attracting talented people regardless of location. Freelancers are still treated with some mistrust in our country since the question of control and efficiency of their actions arises. Remote employment is paramount to develop in those countries where the government explicitly supports improving collaborating conditions or the involvement of women. In these countries, the IT sector is at the proper level, the economy is being modernized, new types of production and economic relations are being introduced.

From a cultural context, there are still vestiges of control over the process, rather than the result - this is probably one reason why this global trend so far only impacts us minimally. Simultaneously, in the IT-sphere in recent years, there is a rising trend. This may be caused not only by the "best practices" of Western companies but also by a shortage of employees (what you can't offer, to attract a rare specialist!) And the psychological characteristics of representatives of certain professions - it's not a secret for any of the recruiters that to motivate an IT specialist when recruiting for a vacancy is an entirely different thing than a financial controller.

It is necessary to consider that it is essential to protect corporate data and trade secrets for large companies. This applies to flash drives and the transfer/access to data by an employee who is not directly within the walls of the company. Therefore, the trend towards "remote" is more logical for startups and small and medium-sized companies. A potential advantage and an opportunity to further develop this trend in Russia are, for example, the number of time zones: this allows people to do work for customers who are at a significant distance at a time convenient for a particular time zone. In general, the trend is towards both remote collaboration, freelance, and home office.

Challenges facing business with remote teams

How to keep productivity and safety when employees switch to remote work? Many companies have been puzzled by this question lately. Working remotely from home or on a business trip can be as effective as working in the office, but only if you provide a comfortable IT environment for your employees to access their desktop, the applications, and the software they need. The right set of tools, online solutions, network speed, and security are fundamental.

Statistics show that the number of people working from home has increased by 140% since 2005, and working from home has increased ten times faster than in other areas of the workforce. 45% of requests for access to secure applications come from outside the office. Duo2's security report shows that 45% of requests to access secure applications come from outside the office, highlighting the increase in remote, mobile work. According to them, about a third of all work is done from a mobile device, and mobile business use is 10%.

Many companies face challenges finding the best approaches for providing continuous and ongoing access to corporate resources for employees. Recent events are forcing many companies to include remote access solutions for their entire workforce. Still, many are struggling to implement solutions that meet all of their security, availability, and performance requirements. Each organization's needs differ based on the needs of the people, the applications, and the data used. That's why understanding the possible IT solutions that support remote access can help you make the right decision to work efficiently from anywhere.

Remote work tools differ in their functionality. To maintain productive and continuous day-to-day work for your employees, you must understand the core functions they need. For example, if your company has project management, you need to look for an online application with a powerful and easy-to-use task management platform. If your employees use special software that requires powerful computing resources, you should look for virtual desktop solutions deployed on reliable and robust resources. Based on general needs, we can categorize remote and virtual desktop tools into these categories:

  1. File sharing and editing
  2. Synchronization software for your team
  3. IT solutions for virtual desktops

File sharing and editing

Working on the same document while editing with other people is a common practice. This functionality is in demand not only for remote work, but also in the office. Simultaneous file sharing and editing are an opportunity to reduce the time spent reviewing and increasing the confidentiality of sharing files with only certain colleagues. The ability to access your business documents, presentations, photos, and videos from anywhere, anytime, and on any device also increases your flexibility. And of course, there is no need to worry about multiple copies of a file created to work from home, on a business trip, and in the office.

When it comes to running a team project, there can be hundreds of documents submitted from every angle. Lumin PDF helps you transform your collaboration to reach your goals. Using PDF tools, you can find smart and straightforward ways to enhance and automate your business. With Lumin PDF, you can sign documents online, use "paperless" faxing, find forms and templates, etc. One of the most significant Lumin PDF features to improve your business workflow is the ability to merge PDF files. 

It is a quick way to streamline document workflow. There are two things which will be critical components to your success: The first is that PDF format is very convenient to use, and the second is the ability to combine files easily can significantly simplify your business processes. Contracts, proposals, reports, accounts, etc. can come in a variety of document formats. All of them can be saved as PDF files and then merged into one document, allowing all project documentation to be saved as a single document. 

When we talk about collaboration software for all your business documents and other files, the most critical factors you should consider are accessibility and security. It would be best to be forward-thinking when using online applications, since only software deployed in trusted data centers can maintain and enhance the IT security that your sensitive business data demands. Knowing where your data is located, you can judge the level of security provided in a particular data center. For more security, you can add a reliable VPN connection. Free online tools for storing and sharing data are not considered a safe and reliable business environment.

Synchronization software for your team

Working remotely doesn't mean that your employees should feel disconnected from other colleagues. Close communication between employees is essential for the well-being and team spirit and for maintaining high productivity of projects and tasks. By using collaboration software, your employees will be kept up to date with the latest project status, company news, and any unplanned changes that happen often. A one-stop solution for chats, audio, and video calling, conferencing is the perfect solution to keep your team in sync no matter where your employees are. Real-time communication using remote software for a chat or video call will help bring your team together.

Online file sharing and storage applications and collaboration platforms

Online file sharing, storage applications, and collaboration platforms are typically cloud-based, making data easier to access and manage. This is very important for employees who work remotely. A reliable cloud storage platform and a secure Internet connection make it easy to access and use business files for all of your employees, regardless of where they are connected. Cloud storage allows you to use another essential tool - data backup. Employees don't need to worry if they accidentally delete important files or data because cloud storage makes it easy to back up and restore data when you need it, automatically. Cloud storage helps employees in and out of the office create a reliable platform for corporate files, shared work projects, and private conversations.

Communication, meeting, and planning

When switching to remote work, there is no need to give up morning planning meetings or consultations. This is a great time to motivate employees, set tasks, discuss key points, schedule work for the day/week/month, and even reprimand if needed. Spend meetings in the morning, in the evening, and at any other time convenient for you online. Many instant messengers and applications will help you organize video chat and video conferencing with employees for free. We recommend choosing one primary communication method and 2-3 alternative ones. If you have problems with one, you can quickly switch to the second.

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