The United States is steadily getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control and as cases among adults decline, workplaces are reconsidering the remote work policies they developed during the pandemic – but will workers come back? As many experts have noted, the odds aren’t in employers’ favor. Remote work has a lot to commend it and even employers see some benefits, particularly in terms of real estate savings. All of this is to say, the pandemic has changed the shape of work and the only way to keep up is by making smart technical changes.

Access It Key

At the heart of the changes needed to adapt to remote work in the long-term is the need to facilitate collaboration, and that doesn’t mean having more Zoom meetings. No, sustainable collaboration means ensuring all team members have access to the tools and content they need to be successful, without creating conflicting duplicate files or other issues. This is especially important as employers redefine the role of the office, which historically has been centered on collaboration. Barring the need for special equipment, most other office activities can be done from anywhere with a few IT tweaks. Yes, some staff members will surely need to return to the office, at least part-time, but many will have other options.

Cost Considerations

As noted above, shifting away from the traditional office can come with some added IT costs for businesses, but the fact is that when it’s executed correctly, there doesn’t have to be. Rather, it’s often a case of switching out old technology for the new. Ditch old tech that doesn’t meet your needs, including high-maintenance legacy tech like in-house servers in favor of cloud technology. Newer tools, especially SaaS platforms, are more flexible for remote work purposes, and ultimately more affordable after accounting for factors like upkeep and capacity.

Ease Of Use

Returning to the issue of file sharing and conflicting documents, one factor that employers need to consider when selecting technology for remote work is ease of use, and this is particularly pressing when it comes to larger files. Unfortunately, many platforms don’t offer sufficient support for teams when working on bigger publications or video work, which is why businesses should consider collaboration software with strong file transfer support. This allows your team to ditch their messy FTP systems, which can get overly complicated and don’t play well with other tools.

Don’t Forget Security

Finally, when selecting programs for remote collaboration, businesses should never underestimate the importance of security. Remote work can certainly introduce new IT risks, but the right collaboration platforms can mitigate this issue. Additionally, ensuring that your IT department knows who is working from home so that they can provide appropriate support and training can make a big difference in this area.

Every company will need to grapple with their own particular needs around remote work, the meaning of flexibility, and this will look different across industries, as well as depending on the size of the company and other factors. With the help of the right technology, remote work can become the norm without compromising productivity or work quality.