Branch of One™: Creating the strategy for the office anywhere

Octavio Hernandez

Organizations must deploy a remote working strategy that suits the office anywhere model.

CIOs need to demonstrate leadership as we move out of lockdown into a new model of working where the office is wherever the employee is. It’s time to build upon the initial success and embed a remote working strategy within organizations.

The key role of digitalization during lockdown

There’s no doubt that digitalization helped businesses stay afloat and ensure continuity during the lockdown. The pandemic broke through the most entrenched reluctance to adopt remote working overnight. And let’s not forget that digital tools and platforms kept frontline workers connected and with access to key services and information.

As we move out of lockdown in most countries, CIOs have realized they are at an inflection point in terms of maintaining the initial investment in digital transformation for their organizations. They must decide whether remote working is worth incorporating into their long-term strategy or not.

The business case for the office anywhere

There are people who argue that working from your bedroom in your pyjamas is a recipe for disaster. There are too many distractions, too many shows on Netflix tempting you away. On the other hand there are studies that show remote working increases productivity and even better, productivity can be measured. So, where does that leave us? Let’s take a look at the proposed benefits of an office anywhere approach towards work.

  1. Increased productivity. Informal studies indicate that productivity increases as red tape and bureaucratic processes are dismantled. The pandemic has provided employees everywhere with the chance to improve and innovate processes and communication.
  2. Improved decision-making. By moving people and processes online, employees are required to make decisions that would have been made higher up in the command chain. With the appropriate support, organizations can turbo-charge the decision-making process and unclog the bottleneck caused by overworked managers.
  3. Reduced operational costs. Let’s be honest, the physical office will never go away. However, as less employees need to be there, organizations can downsize their physical premises and reduce costs in services like electricity and heating.
  4. Improved environmental impact. There are many variables that contribute to this area.  But let’s look at one in particular. Every mile the employee doesn’t drive improves the environment. It reduces traffic congestion, which in turn reduces journey times and improves the enrivonmental and sustainability efforts of the company.

Enabling the office anywhere

We have identified 3 areas where organizations should concentrate their efforts as they move out of the reactive phase of digitalization and onto the consolidation phase:

  1. Create a clear path for employees to follow
  2. Ensure the effective use of technology
  3. Plan for a hybrid working model

1. Create a clear path for employees to follow

A shift towards a remote first organization is a complex operation. CIOs, business unit directors and HR departments need to work in close collaboration to create the roadmap for employees to transition smoothly. Together, they need to establish clear guidelines and expectations about meetings, communications and security. It is critical for employees to understand the shared responsibility in keeping data secure and for organizations to implement the adequate security mechanisms and processes to support the office anywhere.

2. Ensure the effective use of technology

Organizations need to ensure they have not only the right platforms for communication and collaboration, but the right “systems of work”. Studies have shown that up to 30% of employee engagement is technology. The aim of these systems of work is to deliver the effective use of technology to achieve the business objectives. In practical terms, we’re talking about enabling an office anywhere experience by delivering secure, frictionless access to all business resources, with full mobility. At Asavie, we call this, the Branch of One.

3. Plan for a hybrid working model

The new normal is not a full departure from the old practices that worked pre-pandemic. In reality, CxOs will have to develop a long-term strategy that supports a hybrid model of work. In the new normal, the employee may be primarily based remotely, but will not always be at home. The hybrid model must support an Branch of One approach, where all resources are available to the employee securely anywhere, any time.

We are still imagining what the future will be post COVID-19, but it is at this point that CIOs must show leadership to move from the reactive stance that dominated the previous months towards a proactive one. A long-term digital transformation strategy must be put in place to consolidate the successful initiatives developed during the lockdown and develop a robust operational framework at all levels.

Learn how Asavie supports organizations in creating a secure office anywhere.