When the world changed overnight, so did priorities. Offices emptied, and work happened wherever there was an internet connection. That shift meant looking at securing an expanded perimeter. Many companies migrated operations to the cloud and created distributed networks to address a remote workforce.
Just as the global economy was adjusting to slower supply chains and labor shortages, extreme weather played havoc with business operations. Extreme heat, wildfires, and flooding were suddenly a major concern. Organizations could no longer ignore the impact of climate change on their bottom line.
As companies look to the future, they must address internal concerns about where and how people work. They also have to reduce their carbon footprint to mitigate the impact of climate change on their future. Businesses need to:
- Become more energy efficient.
- Build stronger cybersecurity.
- Reduce resource consumption.
- Create better resiliency.
Where work happens is not just about employee retention, it’s also about how office buildings and commuting impact the environment. It means thinking about reducing resource consumption and building more resilient infrastructures. No matter the final work model, organizations must evaluate both the physical and virtual risks to ensure their ability to pivot when change happens.
Becoming energy efficient lowers utility bills and reduces demand for energy resources. Companies have been replacing inefficient equipment and buildings with energy-saving technology to reduce operating costs for years. However, organizations need to look at energy efficiency through the where-work-happens lens.
For example, a company agrees that employees can work from home three days a week with a core group that must be in the office full time. Does the employer let these employees work at their existing desks, which are spread throughout an office building? Do they relocate everyone into the same heating and cooling zone to save energy?
Property owners could use custom PoE solutions to install sensors in unused spaces that could turn off lights and lower temperatures in unused spaces. They could deploy devices to raise and lower window shades to reduce solar heating during summer months. Technology can help adjust energy requirements based on the time of day, the number of occupants, and the time of year.
Hybrid work environments increase cybersecurity risks simply by providing hackers with more access points. Part of hardening a company’s network is controlling the data that enters it. Port management is part of the effort.
Ports open connections to allow traffic to flow through the network. Port management means closing all unused ports and explicitly opening ports for data transmissions. Hackers often troll the internet looking for open and unguarded ports to gain access.
Organizations looking to adopt remote work models must consider their responsibilities for securing their digital assets. Many security constructs that existed when employees worked in the office do not exist remotely. IT departments could look to custom PoE solutions to protect network endpoints without disrupting the user experience.
Most organizations think of less consumption in terms of natural resources. Use less paper to save forests or use energy-saving equipment to reduce their carbon footprint. Businesses also need to think about their human capital.
What tasks are employees performing that could be automated? As employees evaluate their work-life balance, they will also look at how their employers are using their skills. According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, what keeps employees coming to work is work that inspires them.
Automating these processes is a better use of your human capital. Technology can easily perform repetitive, routine operations freeing employees to explore innovative ideas. If companies want to ensure continuous innovation, they need to assess how they are consuming their limited human resources.
Business continuity plans prepare organizations for surviving natural and human-created disasters. However, few plans included navigating a pandemic until now. What happens when employees must stay home and borders close? How do you transport raw materials and finished goods when you aren’t sure where they are?
Companies quickly realized the need for a more resilient infrastructure to survive global disasters. During any crisis, communication becomes critical. Without a robust communications infrastructure, businesses can’t pivot effectively. There’s no way to get everyone on the same page. That’s why wireless mobility management (WMM) should be part of every communications construct.
WMM ensures devices and services are operational. It tracks the lifecycle of devices so they can be prepared or replaced before a failure happens. Using PoE technology, commercial properties can deliver reliable power and data capabilities. Combining PoE with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provides the resilience needed to keep tenants working regardless of the disruption.
Finding ways to address the challenges of a shifting work model involves advanced technologies. Whether it’s better management of devices or resources, developing technologies such as custom PoE solutions can make for a secure and resilient infrastructure. Commercial properties must determine what technologies to deploy to ensure maximum occupancy.