Article first published on HRpulse.co.za, written by Paula Sartini, 26 March 2020 | see article here
Technologies have been gearing us up for the remote workforce for years, providing solutions that can equip employees to work from anywhere in the world. However, according to Owl Labs 2019 State of Remote Work report until now only 44% of global companies have embraced the remote workforce. The notion of work from home has never been practised to the extent that the current situation calls for it to be.
On the back of the news that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a global pandemic and President Cyril Ramaphosa setting the scene for South Africans to take precautions to protect themselves and their families from contracting the virus, drastic measures have been put in place. Businesses have responded to the news responsibly with many organisations calling for employees to stay safe and work from home.
Many employees today already have laptops, high-speed internet connectivity and access to networks via the cloud to perform their daily tasks remotely. However, are they equipped to deliver consistent brand experiences that customers have come to expect when dealing with the organisation?
Having invested significantly into their brands for years, companies need to put the best interests of their employees and customers at heart but not at the detriment of their brands. As such employees should be equipped with tools that will help them to meet customerâ€™s needs seamlessly and deliver consistent brand experiences in every email and document sent to clients wherever they are working from.
There are several measures that companies should put in place to secure their brand and deliver a consistent experience in all customer and employee engagements whether working remotely or not.
ALWAYS ON BRAND WHEREVER YOU ARE
To help employees to deliver consistent experiences in every email, they must have a professional and consistent email signature that is used across the company so that all correspondence that employees send out is consistently branded.
Further, the body of the emails should be on-brand using the same font and colour across the company. It is also recommended to have pre-developed and pre-approved content available and easily accessible for employees to insert into emails while working remotely. This requires minimal input and keeps the brand integrity in every communication.
Employees should have access to the latest company letterheads, templates, documents and presentations that are required for client communication. If documents are updated while the employees are working remotely, the latest versions should be easy-to-access without the need for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and employees should feel comfortable that they are sending their customers the most up-to-date information at all times.
UP TO DATE EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS
Working remotely can impact on employee communication with CoSo Cloud finding that more than half of remote employees feel disconnected from those employees working in offices.
When employees are separate from the company it is critical they are kept up to date on all important company news and information throughout the day to prevent them from becoming disconnected and uncoordinated. An employee communication tool should be used to broadcast information to employees throughout the day and keep them informed about company news.
It would also be valuable to share updates on topical issues such as the latest coronavirus stats regularly via the broadcast tool to minimise the amount of time employees would otherwise spend looking for the information themselves.
KEEPING SECURITY INTACT
Having a remote workforce means that companies need to put stringent security measures in place that can protect their data at all times. Yet according to GetApp] workers working from remote locations often receive confidential business data but less than half of these employees have received proper internet security training.
To avoid financial and brand damage, companies need to incorporate layered security to help prevent customers and employees from falling victim to email scams, particularly while working with a remote workforce. Centrally managed, tamperproof email signatures are also a first step in helping to prevent fraudulent emails from being sent on behalf of a company. Built-in email verification would also benefit the company and email recipients and give them added peace of mind that emails are authentic.
However, more than this, companies need to have a segmentation of risk built into their email branding solution to safeguard customer and company information at all times, particularly when employees are working remotely. This is key to preventing security breaches.
CONSISTENT EXPERIENCES ARE CRUCIAL
Companies already have many of the basics in place to enable a remote workforce but they need to have measures in place to protect their employees and customerâ€™s data and their brand. The remote workforce opens up huge opportunities for inconsistencies and uncertainty which need to be limited during a pandemic when consistency provides the familiarity customers are seeking. As such the customer experience has to be nurtured at this time and employees need to be empowered to continue to deliver on-brand experiences wherever they may be working from.