The Way We Work 2018 – Topics Worthy of Discussion Series. Guest blog with Tim Banting – Part Two of Two.
As part of our ongoing thought leadership research into the way we work, we caught up with Tim Banting, Principal Analyst for collaboration and communications at Global Data Plc. Tim has offered some insightful and engaging responses is this guest blog (Part Two below – see this link for Part One).
UNIFY: 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?
TIM BANTING: I have yet to see any specific AI that relates to remote or home-based working. AI could be used to help onboard remote workers or to personalize an employee’s experience. AI could also be used to support decision-making, however, as this point in time the more typical use cases are for calendar appointments and utilizing, for example, Microsoft Office Graph to locate people with specific skills.
UNIFY: 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?
TIM BANTING: Recent co-working spaces have seen a redesign to truly meet the needs of remote workers. Initially, these were very traditionally managed workspaces such as the Regus shared office spaces. Now, WeWork has 351 buildings in 65 cities for teams of 1 to 500+. Some co-working spaces have community events and potential networking opportunities that could provide significant advantages whether working from home or in a shared office. At the very least it can help fight off the home office’s social isolation and possible lack of a professional image.
UNIFY: Are remote or home-based workers more vulnerable to security or hacking exposures? What are the implications for organizations to manage this potential exposure?
TIM BANTING: I think productivity and convenience are often prioritized above security. Using public WiFi in locations such as coffee shops and hotels can be problematic because it is relatively easy for hackers to replicate unsecured WiFi networks and potentially hi-jack connections through spoofing. Other threats such as malware and phishing attacks can be carried out regardless of location, so these are not inherent to the home or mobile office. I believe that the use of technologies such as BitLocker, VPNs and up-to-date antivirus software all help mitigate risks regardless of work location.
UNIFY: What unintended consequences of remote working have you observed, either positive or negative?
TIM BANTING: The usual sorts of distractions such as garbage trucks, lawn mowers, internet outages, etc. can impact home or remote working. Positive effects include less time off work sick, no unproductive time while commuting, no being affected by traffic jams, travel restrictions or bad weather events. I think telecommuters are more likely to worry about job problems than office workers and often work longer hours as it is sometimes hard to set specific work-life boundaries. You can also see some possible resentment between employees who work remotely and those that are mainly office-based. I find that remote employees can also feel disconnected to a company’s culture. Technology issues, such as a slow or unreliable internet connection, or a lack of proper office equipment can reduce productivity.
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Principal Analyst, Global Data
As Principal Analyst within the Global IT Technology & Software group of GlobalData, Tim tracks and assesses the rapidly evolving communications and collaboration marketplace. Tim has over 20 years experience in the unified communications and collaboration field having held business development, pre-sales, technical marketing and senior product management roles. He has extensive experience in developing competitive assessments, conducting product planning and defining value propositions across a wide array of industry collaboration solutions.