Remote working is becoming an unavoidable trend for organisations regardless of sector, but for some sectors such as healthcare, flexible working raises additional challenges such as security and compatibility. Following our recent webinar of the same name, this article covers the factors influencing remote working, the implications of it, and how your organisation can stay ahead of the curve when adopting this emerging work style.
Why is Remote Working Becoming the New Norm?
Whilst traditional business models revolve around office-based work practices, macro pressures have actuated a change towards these new, unconventional approaches towards working.
The main agents for change for remote working:
- COVID-19: As the predominant factor catalysing this transition, the multitude of lockdowns have forced organisations of all sizes and industries to react in order to continue operations.
- Environmental: One of the many byproducts of the imposed lockdowns was the reduction in CO2. As organisations make attempts to become more carbon neutral to reach quotas, a reduction in employee commuting will stimulate the need for remote working capabilities.
- Cultural: The temporary remote working as a result of the pandemic has solved childcare dilemmas for many employees. This, along with external pressures relating to work-life balance, has already led to employers embracing this type of working longer-term.
- Technological: New innovations are facilitating flexible working, allowing workers to create & correspond digitally. In terms of recruitment, this is beginning to remove geographical restrictions from the equation completely. These technological advancements will be expanded on below.
What Enables Remote Working?
When employing remote working, the main consideration is technology. In a digital, data-driven world, accessibility and security is paramount when it comes to choosing a provider; particularly for healthcare organisations, who rely on access to HSCN (Health and Social Care Network).
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is often used as a secure and reliable way to access restricted and secure work-based applications from personal devices. This technology offers flexibility (as users can access a work desktop from their homes), scalability (users can be added or removed quickly and easily), and cost efficiency (as Jon Rex, the Chief Information Officer of Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust states, organisations no longer have to invest and re-invest large sums of capital on work laptops and other costs associated with them, such as maintenance & support).
However, VDI solutions can often be expensive to setup and/or lack necessary security. So much so, that a recent Deloitte study of 1500 NHS staff found digital technology was too expensive (55%). M-Cloud, a VDI solution offered by AIMES, addresses these challenges by offering a ‘pay-as-you-go’ service model – completely removing the high initial investment usually required for this technology.
When considering remote working and how technology can facilitate it, you must reflect on the security and governance requirements of your organisation. In the case of Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, secure access to the HSCN network was imperative; so end-to-end encryption, two factor authentication, and next-gen firewall technology formed part of their key considerations when selecting M-Cloud to enable remote working.
What are the Other Key Considerations When Implementing Remote Working?
In addition to the technology, there are various other things your organisation must consider, as Ciaron Hoye, the Head of Digital at Birmingham CrossCity CCG states.
- Ethics: As previously mentioned, if your organisation is within the healthcare sector, you must select a solution which adequately addresses your security and governance needs. To learn more about this, read how Tavistock and Portman addressed these requirements.
- Culture: When adopting a remote working strategy, it is important to strike a balance between traditional practices, and newer digital approaches. Some employees will be receptive to change, whilst others will be hostile towards it, so the implementation of remote working should be designed in accordance with the working culture of your organisation.
- Finance: Change should be made proactively as opposed to reactively, and so the need for this change may not be immediately apparent, making it difficult for it to be financially justifiable. As current models support assets better than ‘as a service’ alternatives, organisations must be more receptive to financing the innovations of tomorrow.
- Strategy: Although selecting a technological solution which caters for your organisational requirements is fundamental, there are other factors surrounding it which must be considered. As Dennis Kehoe, the CEO of AIMES states:
‘innovation is in the delivery, not just the technology itself’.
- Maintenance: In response to the previously mentioned Deloitte study in 2019 (which found costs to be the biggest obstacle), a poll conducted in the webinar by Dennis Kehoe found that 44% of attendees are now most concerned about the complexity of maintaining & supporting devices used remotely. This reflects the challenges in adoption which companies have faced in light of the recent pandemic and will continue to face as the ‘remote working’ trend ensues. Therefore, it is important to consider the general maintenance requirements of the available technologies.
AIMES have extensive experience in developing VDI solutions, and our flagship M-Cloud service places security and scalability first. With HSCN connectivity and an innovative pay-as-you-go-model which removes the high initial costs associated with contemporary VDI’s, AIMES is at the forefront of remote working.
To watch the original webinar which this article was based off, click here. The guest speakers for the webinar included Dennis Kehoe (CEO of AIMES), Ciaron Hoye (Head of Digital at Birmingham CrossCity CCG) and John Rex (CIO at Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust).