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Exclusive Op-Ed: Key considerations to optimize remote working

Governments around the world have begun to recommend and enforce social distancing measures in a bid to contain and control the spread of COVID-19. For many organisations, this has translated to an urgent need to implement remote working models.

Modern and mobile workforces already span the globe and consume business applications everywhere, over always-changing network connections People and their health and well-being should be the top priority for all businesses in the current climatePeople and their health and well-being should be the top priority for all businesses in the current climate Even when working remotely, employees expect the secure, reliable, high-speed connectivity to enterprise networks, services and data, as well as business-critical SaaS applications

Author: Moueen Zahreddine, Regional Sales Director – Middle East at Riverbed

As the COVID-19 crisis intensifies, governments around the world have begun to recommend and enforce social distancing measures in a bid to contain and control the spread of the virus. For many organisations, this has translated to an urgent need to implement remote working models, thereby ensuring business continuity while prioritising the safety and well-being of staff.

While current challenges have warranted rapid transition to this form of work that is still radically new and different for many organisations, companies still need to ensure that the remote working network scenarios they implement don’t stand in the way of business operations, productivity or employee engagement. Afterall, a drop in productivity due to increased traffic and unpredictable app performance can cost businesses significantly in everything from time to market, revenue and reputation, to customer success and employee satisfaction.

To maintain business continuity and staff productivity during this time we at Riverbed advise companies take the following steps.

Put people first

People and their health and well-being should be the top priority for all businesses in the current climate. While the technologies needed to support remote working are well-tested and proven, there are cultural and mindset related elements that organisations need to simultaneously address. New solutions must therefore be accompanied by clear communications on usage guidelines and best practice policies. 

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Focus on the mobile and remote workforce

Modern and mobile workforces already span the globe and consume business applications everywhere, over always-changing network connections. Being able to inspire this universal change in working behaviour, in all employees quickly, and maintain the performance of applications is critical for staff to remain productive under changing business circumstances. 

Now that the countries in the Middle East have begun to place restrictions on all but essential movement, cultivating a strong flexible working mindset and strategy has become more important than ever. Developing this quickly will be key to businesses’ ability to successfully maintain ongoing operations.

Performance, despite network strain, is paramount

Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen a significant increase in the deployment of collaboration tools, such as webmail and video-conferencing applications. In fact, in response to the growing demand from both businesses and individuals, the telecommunication regulatory authority in the UAE just this week announced the addition of five video collaboration apps for use across all networks in the country. This increased utilisation of bandwidth hungry applications is creating a tremendous strain on the network that will only increase as educational institutions too look to keep classes on track amidst the suspension of regular classes by leveraging distance learning tools. Ensuring performance against this backdrop is paramount to IT teams.

Even when working remotely, employees expect the secure, reliable, high-speed connectivity to enterprise networks, services and data, as well as business-critical SaaS applications. Here SaaS accelerators can be a highly beneficial as they enable impressive performance enhancements. These solutions have been demonstrated to improve file download speeds by up to 100 percent and reduce data volumes by as much as 97 percent – both of which result in lower latency for remote workers. And because these solutions can be easily implemented on employees’ endpoint devices such as smartphones, laptops and desktops, they cut down the workload on IT teams while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff.

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Visibility is key 

The transition to remote working models means that employees will now rely on their home Internet connections to connect to corporate networks and will also likely entail greater usage of cloud-based SaaS solutions. This added complexity could make it challenging for IT teams to pinpoint potential performance issues. End-to-end visibility tools that deliver a comprehensive view of network and application performance across the hybrid environment are therefore vital. Tools that can quickly diagnose and fix network issues should they arise during a surge in demand, and that can optimise experience and workforce productivity regardless of location.

Ensuring business continuity while safeguarding employee health and wellbeing will remain the foremost priority for organisations for the foreseeable future. Remote working initiatives will play a key role in achieving this objective and the success of these programs will largely depend on the digital experiences of users. By embracing the technological foundation for achieving visibility and maximising performance, organisations in the Middle East will ensure that their employees remain safe, happy, productive and that business won’t suffer, in the wake of this outbreak. In order to help with this and provide support for businesses, Riverbed is offering a free 90 day trial of their Riverbed Client Accelerator solution which optimises at-home network connections and delivers reliable performance. 

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