Telecommuting was already a growing trend in recent years, but the 2020 outbreak of COVID-19 led to a huge shift in employees working remotely. Many organizations suddenly found themselves supporting an entirely remote workforce, seemingly overnight. Such rapid change certainly proved challenging for many organizations, especially in industries where remote work was previously uncommon – for example, only 19% of local US governments had telework arrangements in 2019.  

The past few months have highlighted the many benefits of remote work for both employees and employers. They’ve also made it clear that surviving – and thriving – in today’s global economy requires adaptability and flexibility in supporting employees anywhere they need to work. Remote work is here to stay, and businesses need to plan accordingly. 

Work-from-anywhere is the new norm 

Now, even as many places start gradually returning to “business as usual,” organizations are questioning how quickly to transition employees back to the office – or whether to do it at all. Many have already pledged to let employees remain home through the end of the year – or even indefinitely, if they choose. Here at LogMeIn, for example, the work-from-anywhere environment is the new normal. 

Of course, some industries can more easily embrace remote work than others, like technology and finance. And during the quarantine, many people found themselves struggling to juggle a demanding workday with kids stuck completing their school year from home. The past few months haven’t been without their challenges. 

For those businesses that did transition to a remote workforce, it’s understandable that many employees now don’t want to give up the benefits they’ve gained from full-time telecommuting. Between time saved on a commute, money saved on gas and lunches out, and more control over work environment and hours, telecommuting can lead to a measurable boost in productivity and mental health. Happier, more efficient employees directly impact an organization’s bottom line. Plus, when remote is the norm and recruiting isn’t limited to a specific city, businesses can seek out and retain top talent, anywhere in the world. 

Without a doubt, we’ll see more businesses offering a work-from-anywhere workplace policy going forward. Employees may break up their work week between days at home or days in the office, or even alternate weeks working remotely. Many will choose to work remotely full-time, possibly with an occasional in-person get together for socializing or workshops. Now that there’s been a cultural shift in support of remote work, the focus becomes a long-term strategy for facilitating and securing employee access from anywhere, any time. 

Enabling secure access, from anywhere 

Just like the transition from on-premise to the cloud, the transition from a traditional office to a remote workforce requires thoughtful planning and an investment in the right technology. Given that remote work is now the reality of the business landscape going forward, businesses need to be prepared

Even before COVID-19, many organizations struggled to connect employees easily and securely to apps and services used daily. Poor password hygiene remained a serious threat to cyber security, and the risk of a data breach loomed large. Employees were slowed down by login prompts and forgotten passwords, and IT operated with limited control over employee logins. The shift to remote working hasn’t eliminated those challenges; if anything, it’s further highlighted the need to enable secure access from anywhere. That means standardizing random, generated passwords for every password-protected account, and single sign-on to facilitate secure, passwordless authentication to essential services. It also means adding multifactor authentication for added layers of security – especially in remote work environments where more elements are outside the direct control of IT. 

For businesses embracing remote work, better managing access and authentication means securing every entry point to the business and giving employees a frictionless way to connect to work. With an identity solution to holistically manage access and authentication, organizations can facilitate a work-from-anywhere policy that doesn’t sacrifice security or productivity. 

To learn more about securing a remote workforce, view our infographic 10 Ways to Increase Security and Productivity While Working Remote.