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Question and Answer with Staci Young

All across the business landscape, companies are shifting towards remote-hybrid organizational culture. This shift is driving far-reaching digital transformation and invigorating the agility businesses need to overcome uncertainty while providing workers with business opportunities that match their ambitions and sense of work-life balance.

Staci Young is a goal-oriented professional with 18 years of well-rounded progressive marketing experience in software, technology, and pharmaceuticals currently employed as a Senior Advisor for Dell’s Partner Marketing Management division. Connecting business mobility and empowering her customers to make the most of their enterprise technology solutions is what Staci knows best.

Staci recently participated in the live webinar presentation Cultivating a Work from Anywhere Culture in Your Business. In this article, learn more about developing a successful remote business by reading this engaging and informative question and answer dialogue.

Q: When you are traveling, and out on the road, can you talk a little bit more about what type of internet connection you use? And what are some of the mobile internet solutions?

I have a mobile-enabled car, so I have Wi-Fi. Dell partners with cellular companies to provide built-in cellular service directly to your laptop. The result is an always available, always ready for a business laptop, phone or tablet. You can build in a sim card and you have a plan just like you have a cell plan. So, it is not anything you have to plug into, it’s built into the laptop.

There are a couple of other recommended ways to do it as well. You can create a mobile hotspot with a cell phone, but a lot of times that is not feasible due to excessive data consumption. The mobile broadband card in your laptop can be optimized to deliver unlimited data. There are a ton of options, and you have to find the one that is right for you. Connected mobility means being able to work anywhere, anytime you need.

Developing Remote-Ready Mobile Business Capabilities

Q: Is there a difference between a laptop and a mobile laptop?

The goal for most business professionals is to be mobile-ready. In theory, any laptop can be mobile-ready. The key to having a truly mobile-ready laptop is to be able to connect to the network resources you need while on the go.

Q: Do you think that co-working spaces are just as effective as nomadic working?

For some businesses, co-working spaces can play an important role in harnessing a truly effective culture of remote work. Some teams can really benefit from having a single location available to meet where they can collaborate. At times, individual workers may feel more productive in co-working spaces than at home with distractions.

Yes, coworking spaces can be great, and they can be ways for you to connect and brainstorm in person. You can network and share best practices, and those things are all really valuable. As you grow your business, I think it is going to depend on where you see yourself and where you see your workforce.

A nice hybrid model is, in my opinion, going to be what we see most going forward across the international business community. Where you want the flexibility to go where you want to go, matched with the ability to have a place to meet. Now, what I think about cooperative working environments, is they can help you when it comes to real estate, rent, and overhead to your business. This is not something I am an expert in, but I do think that is something to evaluate outside of mobility.

Protecting Your Network Ecosystem with Monitoring Solutions

Q: Can you clarify what AV means?

Cybercrime has increased exponentially in recent years. It is essential to have a good antivirus solution protecting your mobile devices and network access points. Using an antivirus solution includes a firewall or a VPN. When I’m talking about security, we find that 70-75% of Small Businesses will consult with an IT firm or IT consultant to make sure they are making the right choices in their software, and I would recommend that.

I know there are some anti-virus solutions that are made for small businesses that will have a consultation so you can kind of monitor what websites and things employees are going to. This can erode boundaries between staff and management teams. Different industries and teams will find more or less benefit from monitoring employees' keystrokes and daily activities.

Q: Do you recommend monitoring software to monitor your employees that work from home? Have you seen this done before?

Different industries will need more advanced monitoring solutions beyond simply protecting and detecting cyber crimes. In the medical industry, for instance, you are giving medical advice, you are giving drug interaction advice, making sure she has the most up-to-date information on the things that she is talking about – I totally see that being a reason you would monitor your employees. Regardless, monitoring network access and protecting against modern cyber threats is essential.

There is a level of monitoring that is essential to thwart avoidable threats and there is a level that may be beneficial for ensuring employee compliance and productivity, every business needs to find the right balance here.

Developing a Productive Remote Culture

Q: What have you seen work well for employers sort of guaranteeing that performance is up to those standards in a free homework environment?

Setting clear deadlines matched with communication on expectations is the key to establishing an effective remote culture. Are employees meeting deadlines? I think you find that the folks who are not being productive at home are ones that are like “what was that deadline again?”

They are looking for ways to get around getting the work in on time. If this is a mental health issue, where they are feeling isolated or stressed about being at home and having to deal with all the distractions that are in their house and also get their work done, that is more complicated.

You have to deal with that on a one-on-one basis. I definitely think having those open lines of communications, talking expectations, setting deadlines, tracking the number of times they are hitting or not hitting deadlines, is a great measure of productivity.

Q: You mentioned power and cellular connection – providing a way to stay connected to a server or cloud during a power outage. Do you happen to have any recommendations for a solution to longer battery life, or means of recharging, or traditional battery backup generators?

To support a truly connected remote work culture, your company may have to make strategic investments in areas such as backup energy systems that you otherwise might not have needed to. Someone told me the other day, that they put their modem on a plug that has a battery backup, something that has like an hour or two of life to it, and hopefully, the electricity comes back on. The reality is that sometimes when working remotely the unexpected can happen.

I think everybody heard the reports in central Texas this past winter. I was personally out of power for 66 hours. These things can happen and it can be tough when they do. There is not a single foolproof solution but thinking about battery backups on your home modem is a great idea. Battery backups are good, having power bricks always charged is another great way for battery life. When it comes to devices themselves, it depends on your vendor. I would be checking the battery life on any laptop or tablet that you are looking at.

Businesses that want to succeed in the new digital environment need to make sure they are allocating resources to support the types of services and applications they will need to use to succeed.

Q: There have been several questions about the internet, and what type of internet to use. I thought some of these comments that came in were interesting that we could share and speak to the audience about, it might be helpful. This comment said, “I had to upgrade to business class internet when I started working from home and then had to upgrade my router to prioritize my video stream.”

Many companies are working towards prioritizing video streaming. Which is great and empowers remote work but also requires a certain degree of connectivity to work effectively. Companies need to think about how to implement the right technologies for the right employees, wherever they are working from. They may need to consider if staff have access to fiber connections in their neighborhoods? Do they have access to gigabit internet? Do they have the enterprise business class solutions needed for modern remote business? If you want to support true business mobility, then select business-class solutions, and help employees pay for those business class upgrades for their home offices.

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