5 Insider Tips for Creating a Successful Work-From-Anywhere Culture

by Yoni Avital

It all starts by creating the right DEX. Learn how to build a thriving culture no matter where or how employees work.

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As industry IT teams grapple with limited visibility into tools and networks, they’re still expected to support a growing remote and hybrid workforce. Not only does IT lose out, but some senior-level financial executives and their employees are also getting lost in the shuffle. This new reality finds productivity wavering as tools like Zoom or Slack crash, emails don’t load, or other annoying tech problems throw unexpected curveballs.

Those experiences—in digital terms—are part of what Gartner has dubbed the Digital Employee Experience or DEX. With the shift to work-from-anywhere (WFA) well underway before the pandemic, IT Teams have been charged with finding a new approach for supporting employees using disparate technology tools and devices away from corporate settings. To ensure employees have reliable access to the tools they need to perform their jobs, tech support requires enhanced visibility into distributed work environments (i.e., unified communication tools, SaaS apps, and more). Yet, only five percent of IT organizations established a DEX strategy last year. With that number projected to hit 50 percent by 2025, the need for DEX strategy and tools to support WFA employees is even greater.

The WFA Shift Is Not Going Away

Monitoring marketplace shifts, firms like Gallup and PwC have uncovered interesting findings about remote work and hybrid work. Gallup’s March 2022 study found around half of the U.S. full-time workforce (representing 60 million workers) reporting that their jobs can be done remotely at least part of the time. When asked about long-term plans, 53 percent expect a hybrid arrangement, and 24 percent expect to work exclusively remotely. PwC’s financial services survey reported that 69 percent anticipate three-fifths of their workforce to telecommute at least once a week, and 61 percent of CFOs said they plan to make remote work permanent for roles that allow it.

As WFA shifts how and where a large portion of knowledge workers who think for a living (e.g., CFOs, controllers, finance executives, financial analysts, accountants, finance managers, etc.) perform their jobs, adapting new working environments presents executives with challenges about the best ways to engage employees while maintaining the company culture. These concerns especially ring true in a world where previous in-person meetings, and established systems, routines, and tools were set in a physical office.

If remote team members must continually stop what they are doing to contact the Help Desk because their communications tools are not working correctly, their productivity and performance will decline. In turn, they will become frustrated, and their job satisfaction will deteriorate.

As more companies adopt hybrid work models, there will be greater demand for digital capabilities to allow business to occur virtually. But creating a successful work-from-anywhere culture requires strategic planning and the right tools, and a bit more. Thankfully, those ahead of the curve have paved the way by uncovering best practices every company needs to consider for building a successful WFA culture

5 Ways to Make the Shift Work

It all starts by creating the right DEX. Let’s look at five insider tips for building a thriving culture no matter where or how employees work.

  1. Show Value Compared to Risks

Getting a department to buy into new ways of doing things is one thing. But garnering support from an entire company is the key to getting everyone on board. The best way to do this is to start at the top. Everyone else will follow when key stakeholders from the C-Suite down are on board.

Since change is inevitable, it is just a matter of knowing how to get buy-in from stakeholders like the CFO or Controller. You are sure to get their attention and support when you help them see the value compared to the risks. Pull together the numbers, focus on cost savings backed by hard numbers, and quantify the benefits of creating a solid DEX to support your new WFA culture. Using this approach will turn any potential roadblocks into speedbumps.

  1. Get IT Equipped

Eliminate challenges for your IT team by arming them with the tools they need to support a workforce that uses disparate technologies. Remove as much friction as possible by giving them access to reliable systems that don’t disrupt workflows.

To do this well, give you tech support tools that provide easy visibility and control into your employees’ virtual and physical desktops, SaaS applications, unified communications, and network performance (e.g., WiFi). The goal is to allow your Help Desk to proactively anticipate issues in real time so they can resolve them before a support ticket is filed. The best and simplest way to do this is by using one DEX management platform instead of multiple dashboards from an array of vendors.

  1. Hire with Transparency

While many people enjoy increased productivity when they work remotely, a flexible WFA model doesn’t fit some prospective new hires who prefer working in a physical office. In fact, Better Up’s survey found that two out of five people do not want to work remotely, which makes hiring the right fit for your WFA culture crucial.

Elevate your company’s WFA culture by making it a value add and benefit during your hiring process and selling it internally to existing employees. From job postings to interviews and beyond, demonstrate how your entire company supports work-life balance and provides the right tools to ensure productivity. Talk through examples of ways your teams work together and collaborate virtually and in person. Consistently seek input for ways to enhance team building.

  1. Plan In-Person Gatherings

WFA doesn’t end in-person meetings or gatherings. But it does provide an opportunity to proactively plan a regular cadence of company events and face-to-face gatherings. In-person get-togethers will create connections and develop relationships that are difficult to experience virtually. One Forbes Insight study found that 85 percent of employees report stronger, more meaningful rapport occurring from in-person business meetings.

To keep your WFA culture engaged and connected, you need to consistently deliver face-to-face meetings that bring everyone together in one place for productive business and fun team building. Share the dates and venues in advance to build enthusiasm for those encounters throughout the year. In turn, meeting in person will build trust and show you value relationships with your employees.

  1. Empower Independence

Give employees the freedom to accomplish their goals in ways that work best for them. Eliminating micromanaging will engender trust that results in increased productivity. This approach will send a strong message that employees are trusted to accomplish their goals no matter where they work.

When individuals and distributed teams are allowed to make difficult decisions, even if they might be wrong, you’re empowering their independence and allowing them to generate new ideas. On the occasions that decision-making turns sideways, turn them into coaching opportunities that will further strengthen your rapport and breed success.

The Right Technology is Essential for Success

To create and maintain a positive WFA culture where team members are scattered around the globe, make sure your leadership remains committed to operating in new ways. The key is implementing the right technology to enable your company to offer a positive DEX for everyone wherever they work.

As you plan your company and department shifts to a WFA culture, make sure your IT Team is equipped to provide exceptional support that removes potential friction before employees notice it. Substandard help desk support for team members working remotely is certain to keep employees focused on what’s wrong and build a spirit of unrest. But the right DEX will lay the foundation for a healthy WFA that exceeds everyone’s expectations.

Yoni Avital is Co-Founder and COO of ControlUp.