In less than two years, the workplace has evolved quickly. Our personal space inside our homes has transformed into a makeshift office, while corporate buildings are vacant and underutilised.
As vaccines continue to roll out, a hybrid work model has emerged, with staff now alternating and ‘taking turns’ being back in the office. In the US, research done by SHRM.org highlights that 55% of the workforce favours a hybrid workforce post-pandemic.
In the UK, a survey by PWC found 77% of UK employees want a mix of face-to-face and remote working. As a result, 77% of UK organisations plan to reconfigure their existing office space and 50% think they will reduce the size of their office portfolio.
However, there is one key concern from companies in the face of all this change; How does one maintain security in a hybrid workforce?
The answer involves putting the focus on maintaining company culture through education and communication, infusing data analytics to understand human error and how to mitigate it, and engaging in security planning and testing.
The importance of educating staff
The emergency conditions that necessitated a widespread move to working from home in 2020 were far from typical. Many workers had trouble acclimating, stress levels were high, and distractions were plentiful.
Due to these obstacles, 55% of IT professionals said reducing human error and training employees on how to properly operate security systems from home was their biggest challenge in 2020. Educating employees on the importance of cybersecurity and giving them open access to continued training needs to start early.
For example, developing an internal trust centre for all things security gives employees a central location to find answers and resources easily. It also provides direct links to the company’s documentation on security protocols, settings, systems, and operations.
One organisation helping to scale education through data-driven insights in the workforce amidst the pandemic is Learning Pool, which has embedded Sisense BI tools to combine the power of its leading AI-driven analytics cloud platform with the world’s most-widely installed Learning Record Store (LRS), Learning Locker.
With more than a billion data points under management, Learning Pool customers use Learning Locker to help manage their learning records.
Learning Pool is getting ready to launch a new addition to the Learning Pool suite, aptly named “Insights”. This new addition will incorporate Sisense’s AI capabilities for personalisation and automatic intelligence, helping transform data into real insights.
Insights will create expertly designed dashboards powered by AI, built specifically for learning data analysis.
By presenting accessible, adaptable and actionable visualisations that are grouped together as meaningful dashboards, Insights provides Learning Pool clients with actionable insights about the past, present and potential future performance of their learning ecosystem and their users.
Communication in a hybrid environment
One downside to hybrid or remote environments is the lack of in-person interactions. Having to connect virtually may not come close to real-life engagements. However, considering many people prefer working remotely (65%, according to a PWC survey) and others are open to hybrid models (55%, according to Flexjobs.com), connecting virtually is key for maintaining company communication and fostering culture.
As an example, when COVID caused Sisense to become a full-fledged work-from-home entity, setting up communication tools like Slack; creating virtual events, gatherings, town hall meetings, and subscribing to video conferencing tools like Zoom, created simple pathways for teams and leadership to stay connected. Contrary to many business leaders’ concern, virtual communications will impact company culture but in many ways, the change improved culture.
This connection and increased communication boosted the culture of Sisense, and that directly impacted security. People feel connected to the company, and as a result, they have something they care about protecting.
During COVID, one initiative Sisense had to maintain as part of their work culture was to offer employees self care days.
“This is a day off each month dedicated for employees to take time to themselves, recharge, be with their families or sleep in– whatever they needed for that day was up to them,” Amir Orad, CEO at Sisense said.
“The key was (and still is) that the self care day is mandatory, we insist everyone take the day off together and make it legitimate to be away from zoom and email. The feedback we received from employees was that they felt supported and seen during a difficult time.”
Making workplace safety a priority with AI
When the pandemic hit and the world was forced to retreat into seclusion, some companies were more prepared to pivot effectively than others. Those who put safety and security by leveraging data and insights to do so, set themselves up to pull through stronger than ever before.
As an example, Air Canada used the Sisense Fusion Platform, was able to build powerful proofs of concept to improve safety across the airlines.
Air Canada was able to go ‘beyond the dashboard’ with new innovations to deliver insights to its frontline workers with the use of the Sisense Fusion Platform and pushing actionable data to their stakeholders (frontline employees and executives). In this way, Air Canada enabled these stakeholders to focus and immediately act upon important insights about their day-to-day activities, especially activities relating to safety. This helped add insights about safety across the organisation and improve safety measures for the end-user.
The Canadian airline developed these innovative improvements as a result of their ability to deliver crucial and personalised data to their employees and frontline workers.
Testing led to innovations in internal communications for Air Canada. The airline started sending real-time notifications to employees’ smartwatches and using the Amazon Echo speakers as a communication tool for staff to ask questions immediately in their own words. Additionally, Air Canada was able to transform traditional dashboards into immersive 3D environments which used mixed reality to display data in different ways.
Results proved that there was not a one-size-fits-all approach in sharing data and insights with employees. It was clear that not all employees digested data the same way. However, as a result of the innovations, staff will now receive the same data differently to personalise what each employee wants and needs from the data.
Future-proof your workforce with AI-infused analytics
As COVID rampaged, claiming lives, flipping the global economy and uprooting the habits of millions; Ty Sbano, Sisense Chief Security Officer’s team implemented their pandemic plan quickly, they learned as they went, and worked out kinks as they arose.
“We adjusted our plan to fit exactly what was happening,” he said. “Having a contingency plan on paper for if and when an event hits puts our team ahead of the curve.”
The planning phase for the security team included defining critical business workflows, creating a secure system for employees to use, and strengthening security protocols (like Zscaler) to enable the entire global company to continue working without interruption. The security and IT teams at Sisense worked diligently to test plans before they’re executed, uncover any gaps, software issues, or better routes for security success.
While error will never be completely eradicated, it can be managed with the right AI-infused data-driven and innovative measures. Your data will be protected, your teams will be connected, your workforce feel more safe, and your business culture will have the opportunity to grow in a new, and potentially stronger, direction.
Editor’s note: This article is in association with Sisense.
(Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash)