What Are CFOs Planning as Lockdowns Are Lifted?

CFOs have been tasked with the monumental job of keeping organizations afloat, despite an economic downturn brought on by social distancing. So what’s next?

CFOs have been tasked with the monumental job of keeping organizations afloat, despite an economic downturn brought on by social distancing. So what’s next?

Over the past couple of months, non-essential businesses, daycares, and schools have been shut down to ensure social distancing – one of the few tools we have to minimize the spread of coronavirus. CFOs have been tasked with the monumental job of keeping their organizations afloat, which is difficult for many to do. Their difficulty comes from:

  • Closing their physical locations down
  • Customers slowing purchasing decisions
  • Economic uncertainty with job losses mounting
  • Disruption of supply chains

There’s no doubt about it: CFOs have had their work cut out for them, and fortunately, many organizations were able to shift into contingency mode with workers staying productive from home. But what’s next? As lockdowns are lifted throughout the states, what are CFOs planning for the future?

A look at the new normal

Gartner surveyed 317 CFOs and found that the professional world may not change back to normal right away simply because lockdowns are lifted:

  • 74% of CFOs expect to move employees previously on-premises to remote work post-COVID-19.
  • 81% of CFOs plan to exceed their contractual obligations to hourly workers via remote work to offer flexible schedules.
  • 13% of CFOs have already cut real estate expenses, with another 9% planning to do the same.

It’s clear: remote work is here to stay – and for a good reason. Many experts are warning to be safe and maintain social distancing to minimize the risk of a second wave. Fortunately, remote work is incredibly beneficial for organizations above and beyond, ensuring employees aren’t in close quarters with one another:

  • Greater cost savings: Global Workplace Analytics found that the average business can save $11,000 per year, per remote worker that telecommutes 50% of the time. This is due to less costs associated with onsite operations, including office space, technology, equipment, and any sort of reimbursement for travel.
  • More access to top talent: When you hire remote workers, you eliminate any geographic limitations – meaning you can fill vacancies with the best talent. The entire process – from posting openings to conducting interviews – can be done remotely to find the person with the skills they need at the rate they’re willing to pay.
  • Higher level of productivity: There’s no shortage of research out there showing remote workers are more productive than onsite workers. A recent survey found that among employees who had their screen time/mouse movement tracked, 39% of remote workers sought out distractions compared to 56% of in-office workers.

How to transition into a secure approach to remote work

Now that lockdowns are starting to be lifted, organizations need to transition from an ad-hoc approach to remote work into a cohesive, secure approach to remote work. As many of us rushed to ensure access from home, the transition was done as quickly as possible – resulting in gaps and vulnerabilities that need to be resolved. Here are our recommendations:

  • Review your employees’ devices: Make sure your employees are using secure, up-to-date devices that are running a supported operating system. This includes desktops, laptops, or mobile devices. It’s also helpful to ensure they have any accessories necessary, such as printers, webcams, and head-sets. You may opt to upgrade their devices with corporate-owned devices.
  • Use the right security solutions: Don’t assume your employees are using a secure network to access corporate resources. Instead, provide a virtual private network (VPN) that ensures a secure, encrypted tunnel between the device and the network. You should also invest in enterprise-grade security measures, including anti-virus software, spam filtering, and firewalls, for each employee.
  • Provide collaboration tools and cloud-based applications: If you don’t already subscribe to something like Microsoft 365, it’s time to start. This will give your team the ability to access their email, word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Microsoft Teams is included – offering the ability to video conference or group chat, as well as share and edit files in real-time. Don’t forget to provide cloud-based versions of software they need too.

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