2020 brought about profound changes in the way we work. Some businesses had to contend with a halt in their supply chains. Some had to rethink their infrastructure strategy as a direct response to calls by governments for everyone to work from home, and some realized that meeting clients at certain places just wasn’t the way of doing business all of a sudden.
These things are forcing executives, managers, and supervisors to revise many facets of the business. Unfortunately, time was not on their side last year, nor is it this year.
We have entered a new year. It is a renewed opportunity for all businesses to recover, but it is also essential to thrive more than survive this year.
While many aspects of the business need changing, let us start with one of the most important considerations – the technology aspect for remote work setup. Across the world, governments called on companies to allow their employees to work from home. It was easy for some, but it was difficult for others primarily because they didn´t have the IT infrastructure to support it.
While we have many vaccines in play, none of them can offer us certainty at this point. We still do not have a clear end in sight, and while we can hope for things to return to semi-normal levels when 70% of the global population is vaccinated, the truth is we don’t know how things will develop. Therefore, it is crucial to invest in a stable IT infrastructure that can support a more extended work-from-home setup for your employees. For all we know, this remote work situation might even persist even after COVID-19.
The first step in setting up a secure remote office environment is to invest in the right office software, hardware, and team collaboration tools. Below are some items you need to pay attention to.
Make sure you have an organized and sensible file structure within the organization.
How is your file structure within the organization? If your employees work for extended periods at home, the file and folder structure must be organized and sensibly arranged. This will help remote workers easily find the things they need to do their job correctly, and this is even more important if you have many people working from home. It is a lot easier to manage the operations when items are appropriately structured and labeled.
Make sure you have a centralized backup server.
Pre-COVID times, backup servers are already a thing in physical offices, but now, when people work remotely, a backup server is more crucial. Ensure that everyone in the organization understands the importance of backing up their files to not lose many hours and days worth of work.
Choose cloud solutions, especially for critical finance work.
The finance departments of arguably all businesses have been severely affected by the shift to remote office environments. Some finance departments found it hard to do their work at home because they do not have a system that will allow them to do that. They had to be in the office.
CFOs are usually wary of data security, which is why many are still on the fence about choosing cloud financial systems. Many finance departments still work with on-premises systems for their financial reporting, budgeting, planning, KPI management, and consolidation.
If 2020 taught us anything, it is that cloud is the future. 2020 and 2021 will undoubtedly be a sink or swim year for finance departments.
It has never been more important to do cash flow analysis, cash flow forecasting, KPI tracking, dynamic budgeting, and automated reporting. To do that, while working remotely, CFOs and other finance leaders will have to accept that they have to take their FP&A to the cloud. Solutions like Performance Canvas Financials can pacify the finance leaders of their security concerns by asking for specific security certificates, discussing data hosting centers, and disaster recovery, among other things.
Ready your VPNs or have your employees log in to Remote Desktops
A remote VPN will allow your workers to connect to a private network while accessing your company’s resources. A VPN can ensure a secure way to get information and keep your data safe from cybersecurity threats. That said, make sure you keep your VPN certificates up to date. Also, keep in mind that a poor connection might require your worker to relaunch their VPN.
Alternatively, you can have your employees log in to a remote desktop that can provide VPN security without added stability. It merely lays corporate resources over the current system, so there is no need for your workers to have separate computers for work. All the data stays on the corporate server rather than their local machine protecting it from hacking.
Do not cheap out on Team Collaboration tools
For remote work to function correctly, you need digital collaboration, so team collaboration tools are a must. Since your employees are scattered in different locations across time zones, it is vital to have tools that help them stay on top of their tasks and one that allows them to stay connected and updated of the team’s overall progress.
For example, Performance Canvas Financials – a cloud automation software for financial reporting, budgeting, planning, KPI tracking, and financial consolidation gives the finance team a summary of their assigned tasks, deadlines, and status updates. It also makes sure there are version control capabilities, so people are always working on the latest version of the reports even if they work simultaneously. Tools like that are valuable for a remote work set-up as it maintains a single source of truth across the organization.
Train your Employees
Remote work requires employee training, especially on security aspects. Any employee that accesses data in public places must understand the risks involved.
You will also need to hammer on effective communication across time zones and keeping track of productivity.
There is not a single business or country that has not been affected by COVID-19, and if we are to be honest about this, the pandemic exposes who the leaders and laggers are across industries.
We don’t know if working in offices would go back 100% to what it used to be when things start to settle down; we certainly don’t know if this is the last pandemic we will experience in our lifetimes but what is good for any business is to prepare.
Many facets of the business will need to be overhauled and what we discussed above is just the technological aspect of it. Stay tune for more tips on how you can help your business survive and thrive this year.
If you are looking for a cloud FP&A solution for your finance department, visit www.performancecanvas.com today.