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3 Tech tips to thrive in a remote work future

When it comes to making tech investments for long-term remote work, it is important to get it right from day one. Here are three tips that organizations must make in order to thrive in a remote work environment. 

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Whether for better or for worse, remote work is here to stay. As countries grapple with uneven vaccination rates and new coronavirus variants, the COVID-19 battle rages on. Even as organizations in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region swing between working from home and returning to the office, one thing is for certain – the way we work has changed forever. Hybrid work is our new reality!

It’s no secret that technology is the underlying enabler of a successful and sustainable remote work strategy. The good news is that at least 50% of employees in APJ feel that their employers are doing everything they can to provide them with the necessary technology resources to work remotely, according to Dell Technologies’ Remote Work Readiness Index. The not-so-great news is that employees continue to face tech challenges when working remotely, alongside the temptations of enjoying free online car games – the top three being unstable remote networks; limited access to internal company resources; as well as using personal productivity tools for work, which can pose a threat to cybersecurity.

“Business leaders and managers who fail to see remote work as the future require a mindset shift. In the early days of the global pandemic, many organizations were focused on helping employees make a smooth transition to working from home to minimize business disruption. Back then, employers were looking for immediate fixes such as purchasing video conferencing and collaboration software or tweaking basic policies in favour of flexible work,” said Jean-Guillaume Pons, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China, Client Solutions Group, Dell Technologies. “Today, however, this “band-aid mentality” needs to change, and employers must approach remote work with a long-term strategy in mind.” 

When it comes to making tech investments for long-term remote work, it is important to get it right from day one. Here are three tips that organizations must make in order to thrive in a remote work environment. 

Tip #1: Help employees do their job better by providing the right productivity tools

Supporting employees with the right technology and tools is a critical first step. The Remote Work Readiness Index study found that among the 7,192 respondents across seven markets in APJ, 39% named company-issued productivity equipment and tools as the top tech resource that employers must provide for long-term remote work. 

There are two key implications that could arise if employees do not have access to company-issued productivity tools they need. Firstly, this may result in reduced productivity and increased frustration among staff who feel that they are not set up for success in their remote work environment. In the long term, this could take a toll on team morale, retention rates and business performance.

A second and more serious implication is that without the right productivity equipment, employees may resort to downloading company documents onto their own personal devices to perform their daily tasks more efficiently. This leads to exposed data and the “double handling” or duplication of data across multiple platforms. For organizations, this poses a challenge in tracking, managing, and protecting sensitive data stored at endpoints or employee devices.

Business leaders must prioritize the employee experience in a hybrid work model, by investing in quality tech resources – from laptops and monitors to peripheral accessories – to empower staff to work productively and securely. 

Tip #2: Set up your organization with advanced IT infrastructure for hybrid working

A long-term hybrid work model is one that is designed to be a ‘ready-for-anything’ digital workplace. This means that regardless of whether employees are working from home or in the office, organizations should be ready to enable seamless collaboration and manage IT resources from anywhere. 

One key investment that can help achieve this is cloud computing technology. With the rise of the hybrid workplace, the adoption of cloud technologies has been increasing – Gartner predicts that worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will grow 26.7% in 2021, as CIOs and IT leaders continue to prioritize cloud-delivered applications such as software as a service (SaaS).

As a start, organizations making the shift to the cloud can consider starting with a hybrid cloud infrastructure model – one that combines public, private and edge clouds to support workloads from traditional and next-generation applications. 

Learning from its own experience of enabling flexible remote work for team members worldwide, Dell Technologies built a multi-cloud environment and put in place other virtualization initiatives, allowing its cloud infrastructure to run what team members are accessing remotely at a faster rate and without having to increase the number of IT staff. Solutions like Dell Technologies’ Unified Workspace also allowed IT teams to deploy, secure, manage and support company-owned devices from the cloud. 

Tip #3: Protect your organization’s data with endpoint security solutions

A non-negotiable must-have in an organization’s hybrid work model is a robust security and data protection strategy. As remote work causes data to be distributed across multiple locations such as data centres, various work sites and hybrid and multi-cloud environments, a comprehensive data protection strategy – combining proven and modern data protection – is essential.

The Dell Technologies’ Remote Work Readiness Index found that in APJ, nearly 1 in 3 (28%) of employees had to contend with using personal productivity equipment or tools for work. This gives rise to a large volume of confidential data stored on personal devices, or endpoints. To securely manage the enormous amount of data being generated at the edge, organisations need to prevent, detect and respond to threats wherever they occur. 

A new global commissioned study by Dell Technologies and Forrester Consulting showed that 55% of businesses in APJ have had to put emergency steps in place to keep data safe outside of their company network as people continue to work remotely. But rather than take a reactive response, it is recommended to invest in cybersecurity infrastructure that is flexible, scalable and manageable, and ensuring the proactive prevention of security threats and data loss through AI, machine learning and easy-to-implement behavioural endpoint detection.

Embracing a connected workplace

With the right tech investments in place, organizations will be well-placed to pivot seamlessly between working from home and the office with minimal disruption to business operations. Dell Technologies has a Connected Workplace program which was initially created to help provide a flexible working environment for our team members across the world. From its decade-long experiences with flexible work, Dell was able to quickly enable 90% of its team members globally to work remotely in just one weekend – during the early days of the pandemic in March 2020.

Organizations must also remember that business success today is not just about providing the right technology. It is equally – if not more – important to invest in digital upskilling and the wellbeing of employees as they cope with other challenges of working from home, like blurred boundaries between professional and personal lives. The success of a connected workplace ultimately depends on an organization’s ability to embrace a flexible culture and support with the right technology infrastructure, to enable innovation and effective remote working.

Tech & Innovation

Social media can be a lifesaver for international new ventures

Newly established international firms and start-ups with limited resources can effectively use social media to learn about their new foreign markets and customers in a fast and inexpensive way.

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The use of social media can be beneficial to international new ventures and help them to survive. This is according to a study – Early Internationalization in the Digital Context: A Capabilities-based Approachfrom the University of Vaasa, Finland, which also showed that newly established international firms and start-ups with limited resources can effectively use social media to learn about their new foreign markets and customers in a fast and inexpensive way.

For any international new venture, acquiring enough foreign market knowledge can be a matter of life and death. According to Emmanuel Kusi Appiah’s doctoral dissertation, an international new venture can use social media, and then employ ambidextrous learning in its knowledge development process. Ambidextrous learning means using two diverse ways of learning: exploratory learning and exploitative learning.

Exploratory learning helps the company to discover new threats and opportunities in its environment. Exploitative learning, on the other hand, utilises the current market information the firm already has.

“A company can use social media for exploitative learning, but also for exploratory learning to survive in foreign markets. The company can also switch between these two approaches,  according to the situation and company strategy. The use of social media has a positive impact on ambidextrous learning,” says Emmanuel Kusi Appiah.

Firms can benefit from social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook in their networking efforts. In addition, social media tools such as Buzzsumo, Tagboard and AgoraPulse can provide the necessary knowledge about customers, competitors, and existing and new markets, thereby reducing the difficulties a new firm would otherwise face in foreign markets. Acquiring knowledge is usually more difficult when a firm is new, especially if it is new and foreign.

Ambidextrous learning can help firms to combine new external knowledge with existing knowledge and prevent inefficiency and short-sightedness. It can also help firms to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

Emmanuel Kusi Appiah reminds us that applying ambidextrous learning is not straightforward. Entrepreneurs and companies that are planning to move into a new market internationally need to understand the drivers and mechanisms that support ambidexterity. The dissertation provides valuable information regarding this aspect.

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Tech & Innovation

Eastern Communications announces holiday deals

Bounce back and spur productivity with Eastern Communications’ special limited-time offers, featuring its reliable Fiber1 and Internet Direct Service (IDS) connectivity solutions paired with exclusive promos and freebies for new subscribers.

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The holiday season is right around the corner and it is the busiest time for many enterprises, catching up with the demand of customers. While there have been ups and downs that helped strengthen various sectors, businesses have gradually returned to normalcy in their day-to-day operations.

With the steady demand for connectivity and ICT solutions in the new normal, premier telecommunications company Eastern Communications treats SMEs with its latest holiday deals to help them further emerge in the most anticipated season of the year.

Bounce back and spur productivity with Eastern Communications’ special limited-time offers, featuring its reliable Fiber1 and Internet Direct Service (IDS) connectivity solutions paired with exclusive promos and freebies for new subscribers.

Business Boosters

Recommended for retail and e-commerce start-ups and SMEs, Eastern Communications offers Business Boosters to new subscribers of the Eastern Fiber1 or IDS Select plan until December 31, 2022. Aside from the high-speed internet service, businesses are eligible for up to Php3,000 worth of Lazada Gift Cards. With these gift vouchers, you can now check out the business devices on your wish lists!

Festive Freebies

They say great things come in threes! For businesses in Metro Manila, new Eastern Fiber1 subscribers can choose this promo to receive exclusive freebies such as three months of free monthly service fee, a Microsoft Surface Laptop, and a Sophos Intercept X Endpoint Security License.

This promo is recommended for emerging companies that have plans for expansion. With integrated ZTNA and a world-class next-generation endpoint product, the free Sophos Intercept X Endpoint Security Solution is perfect for remote working setups. Don’t miss out on this exclusive holiday promo until December 31, 2022 only.

Empowering business to emerge from the pandemic, Eastern Communications has been reaching out to support SMEs throughout the year with its expansion efforts, promotions, and award-winning E-Huddle webinars, and aims to continue doing so in 2023.

For more information about Eastern Communications’ products and services as well as promos, visit www.eastern.com.ph/ or call 5300-7000 (Metro Manila) or 0919-081-7788 & 0917-300-7788 (Regional).

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Tech & Innovation

Food advertisements on Twitch can lead to cravings, purchases

Fifteen percent of study participants reported experiencing cravings of products they saw advertised on Twitch, and 8% reported buying the advertised products.

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Food advertisements on social media are pervasive, but research has not yet comprehensively documented the effects of these ads on adolescents and young adults. A new study by researchers at Penn State and Dartmouth College found that advertisements on the social media platform Twitch can lead to cravings for and purchasing of nutrient-poor foods like candy and energy drinks among some adolescents and young adults.

Twitch is a streaming platform that allows viewers to have conversations while sharing a common video feed. It offers channels across a broad range of topics including travel, sports, food, art and music. But videogame play is the original — and by far most common — use of the platform.

The use of Twitch is growing rapidly, with over six billion hours of content viewed on the platform during the first three months of 2021. This represented a 97% increase over the same period in 2020.

“People can be baffled by Twitch, but anyone old enough to have played home videogames as a teenager likely had a similar experience,” said Travis Masterson, assistant professor of nutrition, Broadhurst Career Development Professor for the Study of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and co-author of the research. “You would go over to a friend’s house after school, or on Saturday morning, and if they were trying to get through a particularly tough part of a videogame, you might sit and watch them play. The videogame was an excuse for a conversation. This was certainly true for me. Twitch offers the same opportunity to hang out in a community with your friends, but now it is all online.

“Endorsement deals on Twitch can be worth many millions of dollars, and younger people — who are always attractive to advertisers — are moving their eyeballs away from television into these more interactive forms of entertainment, often to Twitch specifically,” added Masterson.

The researchers noted that, as the popularity of Twitch increased, advertising for nutrient-poor foods like candy and energy drinks became more common on the platform. The research team, which included Jennifer Emond, associate professor of biomedical data science and pediatrics at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, and Catherine Pollack, Emond’s former graduate student, wanted to understand how advertising on Twitch affected the cravings and purchasing habits of viewers.

The team recruited 568 Twitch users through Reddit. Participants were predominantly male and either non-Hispanic White or Asian. Using three existing instruments for measuring food cravings, the researchers sought to understand whether they could predict which people were more susceptible to food advertising.  

In a publication in the journal Public Health Nutrition, the researchers demonstrated that some Twitch viewers are more likely than others to remember, crave and purchase brands that they see advertised on the streaming platform. The researchers also found that three questions from an instrument called the External Food Cue Responsiveness inventory could help identify members of this “highly susceptible” group. Highly susceptible viewers endorsed the statements, “I want food or drinks that I see others eating,” “I want to eat when people talk about food” and “I notice restaurant signs/logos.” 

Fifteen percent of study participants reported experiencing cravings of products they saw advertised on Twitch, and 8% reported buying the advertised products. Masterson said that the researchers were concerned that people who are highly susceptible to advertising and who spend multiple hours per day on Twitch could be prone to buying foods that undermine their health.

“In academic research, we are playing catch up with food advertisers,” Masterson explained. “Advertising is pervasive for a reason: It works, and companies understand how it works. People tend to understand that children are susceptible to advertising messages, but we often like to think that once we grow up and start making our own decisions, adults are immune to advertising’s power. But advertising didn’t grow to be a $100 billion-plus industry in the United States because it is ineffective. Advertising works on us, and on a subset of us, it is especially effective.”

Masterson added that academic researchers need to understand consumer behavior as well as advertisers, so that society can determine what advertising is or is not safe in different environments.

“This is a single study, and these results cannot be generalized to everyone, but the study still has broad implications,” said Masterson. “This research shows that some people are highly susceptible to advertising and that the External Food Cue Responsiveness inventory can help researchers identify those vulnerable people.

“I am a gamer. I am on Twitch and am part of these communities,” Masterson continued. “It bothers me when I am watching League of Legends, for example, and I see a branded candy ad in the middle of the game. It bothers me because I know that these ads affect people, including me. This work provides researchers with one tool for understanding who is most affected, and in the long run, that could promote greater health for gamers and everyone who is exposed to food advertising.”

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