On the 7th of September, we invited Ruben Spruijt in an online session to talk about the challenges and opportunities for working from home and remote leadership. Remote work will become more prevalent in the upcoming years. For some companies, this requires a shift in the way they work and how they manage and monitor their teams.
Ruben is a well-regarded author, speaker, market analyst, technologist, and all-around geek. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), NVIDIA GRID Community Advisors, VMware vExpert and, was in the Citrix CTP program from 2008-2017.
He has presented more than 350 sessions at national and international events such as BriForum, Citrix iForum Japan, Citrix Synergy, Gartner Catalyst, Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft TechEd, NVIDIA GTC, and VMworld. Ruben founded several independent industry analysis bodies including Project Virtual Reality Check (VRC), Team Remote Graphics Experts (TeamRGE), AppVirtGURU. He has written and co-authored multiple disruptive ‘Smackdown’ research whitepapers. Ruben is an advisor for various start-ups in the mobile, community Cloud industry and, Remote User Experience Analytics.
As an industry leader and senior technologist in the field of End-User computing with a decade of experience of working from home, Ruben is the perfect person to talk about the challenges and opportunities for remote work.
What is End-user computing and why do we care?
End-user computing (EUC) is an umbrella term for technology that helps to Get Work Done (GWD). So, in short, tools that help and support the ability for remote work independent of location. Examples of EUC solutions and cloud-based applications include:
- Productivity and collaboration – Google Suite, Microsoft 365 and, Workspace 365
- Web and SaaS applications (HTML5 and progressive web application technologies)
- Mobile applications – Android and iOS
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) – Citrix, Microsoft and VMware
- Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) – Amazon, Citrix, Microsoft, Nutanix XI Frame and VMware
- Modern Identity Provider – Okta, Azure AD, Ping and Google Identity
- Unified (video) communications – Microsoft Skype / Teams, Zoom, WebEx and Google Hangouts
- Unified Device Management – Intune, Airwatch and Workspace One
- Enterprise File Sharing and Synchronization – Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and OneDrive
- Personal assistant apps – Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana
- Emergent technology: spatial computing, augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) – MagicLeap and HoloLens
What does the future of work look like?
The future of work and the world post-COVID-19 is online and digital. In this world the “new normal’ situation is predominantly working from home. Ruben argues that the term “new normal” should be defined as “new abnormal”. It is not normal to be unable to communicate and socialize. So, there should be extra emphasis on the methods in which we are communicating digitally. EUC computing can provide a solution to this problem. New technology adoption enables the transformation from “remote work” to “working from here or anywhere”. The adoption of better tools for working remotely enables employees to work from home more efficiently.
Ruben mentions another implication of working remotely. Being in the office for five days a week is a thing of the past. The flexibility of work gives a notion of freedom. Flexibility to change your schedule: to start earlier or end later, to work four days and to have a long weekend are all valid reasons for more happiness at work and in life.
In this online session, Ruben also shares some practical advice on how you can lead people who work from home. Leading people is hard but doing this remotely gives an extra challenging dimension. Gut feelings and experience play a role when assessing the performance of your team. This is much more difficult in a virtual environment.
Ask questions such as: “what did you learn this week?” instead of “what did you do this week?”. Sensing if a colleague is doing the right thing doesn’t require micromanaging as a referee but rather guidance as a colleague and a leader.
Set objectives and goals
The core part of Getting Work Done is to reflect on actions and to formalize your personal objectives and goals. Don’t measure time-based metrics such as time behind the desk. The quality of your work can be measured through personal objectives and goals. Personal objectives can be extended in a 360-degree manner which aligns with the company goals. So, ask colleagues with whom you normally don’t talk with from other departments and teams what they are currently doing and what their personal goals are, to get a sense of the company’s direction.
With the notion of freedom comes a lot of responsibility. It is tough to measure success. So, share what you are doing, what you learned and what your personal goals are. This allows others to give feedback and to guide you in the right direction. Feedback is critical. If you don’t know the direction of what’s good and what’s bad, then you will keep continuing what you thought was important.
We tend to keep going faster in our work, so it is important to know when to take a break and to reflect.
Ruben mentioned the onboarding process of Nutanix, an international company, which had a growth of 3,000 people in a span of two years. People were flown into its headquarters for a full week of onboarding of new employees.
However, smaller companies don’t have this capacity for onboarding. Processes for onboarding can be quite difficult when a company is transitioning to a digital environment. EUC technology can contribute to digital employee experience (DEX). It can be frustrating for new people if the relevant information can’t be reached or if the new applications are complicated to use.
Productivity is important but the wellbeing of an employer should be a key priority. Burnout could be a (bigger) risk when working from home, due to less social interactions in which success and priorities are tougher to measure. So, support your employees wherever possible. Make sure people sleep well and are healthy through physical exercise. This also improves the mental wellbeing of employees.
Advice for leaders concerning their IT strategy
Technology is changing rapidly, and CTOs and CIOs should be aware of emergent trends such as (big) data analytics, the security of the digital workplace and privacy issues. Advancements in technology are usually paired with an increasing amount of complexity.
A logical next step should be a good implementation of technology and tools which enable people to work remotely. If you have already taken this step, it is now time to assess the choices you have made to see if they will help you in the longer term.
Transitioning to a digital environment
Transitioning to a digital environment and working remotely comes with new challenges we must adapt to. Finding new ways of productivity and employee wellbeing should be a priority for employers. Remote leadership is about enabling people to work more efficiently and making it more pleasurable to work from home.
Simplify your work with technology! Workspace 365 unites all your information, applications, documents and intranet into one adaptive workspace.