The Way We Work 2018: Topics Worthy of Discussion Series
Unify Experts Panel Discussion - Part 2
For our final installment in the Topics Worthy of Discussion series, we’ve invited four of our esteemed Unify experts to offer their views on evolving work lifestyles and the future of work. Before we continue with part 2 of the discussion, let’s meet our expert panel again:
Paulo Graça, Lisbon, Portugal
“I help successful companies transform to create an agile and secure digital workplace in which employees can thrive”
Stephen Carr, Boca Raton, USA
“I provide Cloud Infrastructure Architecture and Design of next generation voice and multimedia switching products implementing Voiceover IP.”
Karen Miller, Chicago, USA
“I am a Solution Engineer serving Public Sector and Global Accounts. I’ve worked directly with our customers throughout my career to provide them with successful technology solutions for their business.”
Tony Rich, Hampshire, UK
“My role at Unify is Head of Vertical Solutions, with a love for the Healthcare sector.”
Topic 4: How do you see artificial intelligence and/or robots (software or hardware) influencing or impacting remote or home-based working? Or for those who monitor and manage remote workers?
Paulo: An example is that the boss of Uber drivers is a bot! These technologies will be more and more used in the future. Another example – we can integrate virtual assistants with Circuit and a workflow tool to serve us in maximizing our productive time.
Tony: AI can drive some work priorities based on the analytics produced from wealth of data collected. For remote workers in some roles, this can be used to enhance health and safety as working patterns for individuals can be monitored and escalated when then break outside normal behavior. This can be especially beneficial when looking at supporting the mental wellness of the employees.
Topic 5: What do you think of the emergence of so-called “co-working spaces” for anywhere workers, freelancers, home-based and other sharing economy professionals to congregate?
Paulo: They’re great! These places allow socializing and an eclectic network to be created where you can test your ideas and generate new ones, based on feedback which is truly honest because there are no hierarchies, or vendor versus customer relations.
Stephen: I wouldn't necessarily choose to go to a co-working space, over working from home. Neither would I choose to work at a Starbucks. But having them available is a plus, and it’s all enabled by good Wi-Fi and collaboration tools like Circuit.
Karen: These spaces are awesome, but it may be a hard transition for anywhere workers who are used to working in quiet environments, and their experience can be based on the sensitivity of the other anywhere workers.
Tony: This is a great idea for some – but it could be a distraction to others. But it has its place, as do the now established “hosted offices” concept, like Regus. Ideally, companies could engage in block contracts with larger providers of such services. Always a spare desk in my home office and an espresso machine.
Topic 6: Are remote or home-based workers more vulnerable to security or hacking exposures? What are the implications for organizations to manage this potential exposure?
Paulo: I would say yes, since we might not have the IT network security capabilities like in the office. So, we'll need to protect ourselves at the application level, which is much harder and a challenge for IT.
Stephen: I don’t believe there is a significant difference about vulnerability to security or hacking between home workers and office workers. But maybe there needs to be a way for companies to vet or provide homeworker computers, to ensure security.
Tony: Security is always as good as the weakest link. Just because you are a remote worker you are not more or less likely to be hacked. Possibly less if home worker as systems will be more secure to handle the remote worker, whereas in the corporate office many systems are then open as you are already own the network so potentially they might be more at risk.
Topic 7: What unintended consequences (positive, negative, humorous and/or otherwise unexpected) of remote working have you seen?
Paulo: Things like my dog barking, a doorbell ringing, or my messy home office when I'm sharing video. Sometimes my sons interrupt when I'm in the middle of an important presentation, which is awkward.
Stephen: I think the main one is the work-life balance is swinging more towards work - there is never any time on evenings or weekends when I am disconnected from work. Maybe we need to push back in the other direction like some countries in Europe where after-hours work is limited by law.
Karen: It is kind of difficult to take a sick day, but easier to run an errand during the day. And, friends or family don't seem to think you really "work" when you are working from home.
Tony: Let’s see – animal noise from snoring dogs, cows and sheep in the back lot during conference calls. Then there is the obvious video conference with children entering the room of course.
OK, thanks to all of our panel for sharing their candid and insightful opinions. Have a great end to 2018 and all the best for the upcoming new year!