Easy Access and Security
One significant finding from this year is that reliable internet access and hardware to guarantee everyone stays connected cannot be taken for granted. Organizations in every industry had to first contend with helping provision their people with the equipment and connectivity necessary to carry on work efficiently, a process that many nonprofits have experience with given field work in low connectivity areas. Another finding was the reduced commuting time and increased flexibility in work cultures – an outcome of this latest evolution in work life for many.
The top concern organizations have when it comes to changing major technology solutions like finance and HR is the security of company information. Using modern cloud-based solutions, role-based permissions and security protocols mean resources and data can be safely accessed by remote teams, giving leaders peace of mind.
Security measures and defenses can be managed by vendors where economies of scale allow for more sustained focus instead of taking up valuable internal IT team resources, whose knowledge may become outdated and whose time would be better spent adding value to the organization. Plus, modern technology is more sophisticated in its ability to allow organizations to define user roles and permissions, so that people get the right level of information and access to make changes for the activity they are undertaking.
Collaboration & Productivity
Before COVID-19, the biggest benefit to in-person work was the ease of communication and socialization. Rather than scheduling a meeting to connect, employees had the luxury of having a quick chat while walking to the kitchen or going to a coffee shop nearby for a quick break. With teams in remote workspaces, communication and collaboration have had to evolve. Cloud-based solutions provide a centralized platform for collaboration, business process improvement and contextual analysis with an interface that’s as intuitive as some social media platforms. This allows employees to enter real time explanations for colleagues to see contextual background on changes made in the system, keeping the collaborative work environments we saw pre-pandemic without the need to schedule yet another meeting. This way, you can save the virtual meetings for real engagement and brainstorming.
Nearly 30% of nonprofits shared they need to radically change their culture to adapt to remote work – highlighting the role culture plays within the industry. When it comes to digital transformation, organizational culture is the key to making it stick – and using it to improve engagement and productivity. We’ve heard from customers that digital transformation has resulted in people interacting more with their systems. Because they no longer have to manage so many administrative tasks – or upgrades, recoding workflows and maintenance – they are focused on managing the exceptions. And, as we all know, the “new normal” is full of exceptions!
Remote work also presents challenges that may persist longer than equipment shortages and connectivity hurdles. With the lines between work and home blurring, one issue is managing workloads and expectations. Creating a remote culture that values and engages its employees is necessary for preventing burnout, which has been overwhelmingly common through the pandemic.
Nonprofits that quickly responded to COVID-19 by showing respect for employees through new solutions and engagement managed to react positively to the challenge of remote working.
We’ve all had to implement changes – some that are likely to persist for many years. But the successful organizations are those that express empathy toward employees’ situations – and how they have treated employees in the past year will influence them for years to come.
Cyril Juanitas, Head of North America Nonprofit at Unit4