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Even with the call to return to the office, distributed teams have continued to grow in the past couple of years thanks to the growth of remote and hybrid working. The trend towards distributed teams is expected to continue, with experts predicting that by 2025, 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month.

While the benefits of a distributed workforce are many, managing such teams comes with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest hurdles is how can enterprises support their employees who are in different parts of the world and keep them connected and engaged.

This is where Enterprise Service Management (ESM) comes in.

ESM is an approach that enables organizations to remove silos between teams and employees, create a centralized system for all internal services, and provide a necessary platform for people to access the tools and information they need for their jobs.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how ESM supports your distributed workforce and how it can help you overcome some of the most common challenges faced by organizations with distributed teams.

What is ESM?

Enterprise Service Management (ESM) is the practice of applying IT service management principles and techniques to other areas of an organization beyond IT, to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and customer satisfaction.

ESM helps organizations to streamline service delivery across the entire enterprise, such as HR, finance, facilities management, and customer service, making it easier for employees to request services, and for the service providers to manage and deliver those services. This enables organizations to achieve greater visibility, control, and standardization across different departments.

What is a distributed workforce?

A distributed workforce refers to a group of employees who work remotely, often from different geographical locations, rather than from a centralized office or physical location. These employees may work from home, coworking spaces, or other remote locations, and typically communicate and collaborate with their colleagues using digital tools.

Distributed workforces are becoming increasingly common, as advances in technology and changing attitudes toward work-life balance make remote work more feasible and desirable.

Challenges of a distributed workforce

But while a distributed workforce has many advantages, such as increased flexibility and reduced overhead costs, it also presents several challenges. Here are some of the most common challenges:

1. Communication and collaboration

One of the biggest challenges of a distributed workforce is communication and collaboration. When teams are spread out across different locations, time zones, and even countries, it can be difficult to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

2. Technology

Technology is another challenge for distributed teams, particularly when it comes to access and connectivity. This can be due to unreliable internet or not having the IT team nearby to fix a technical issue. Having such problems can too easily get in the way of an employee’s work and negatively impact their productivity.

3. Training and development

With different team members spread out and working from multiple locations or time zones, organizing training and development can be particularly challenging for distributed teams. Especially when you have limited resources and need to train multiple people at once, it can be difficult to run live sessions that suit everyone’s time zones, for example.

4. Isolation and engagement

Finally, isolation and engagement are common challenges for remote workers, as they can feel disconnected from the company and their coworkers. For example, a UK survey found 67% of remote workers felt ‘disconnected’ from their colleagues.

Managing a distributed workforce requires careful attention to these challenges and the right tools and strategies to overcome them.

7 ways ESM supports your distributed workforce

Now that we’ve established some of the challenges of a distributed workforce, let’s dive into the specific ways in which ESM can make a difference.

1. Enables a centralized system for managing service requests

ESM allows organizations to create a centralized system for managing service requests from employees, regardless of their location. This means that requests can be routed to the right team or department and resolved quickly and efficiently.

2. Increases efficiency and productivity

The automation capabilities of an ESM platform can streamline your organization’s workflows and processes, reducing manual tasks and increasing efficiency and productivity for distributed teams. By removing the burden of repetitive, manual activities, your people can put that time into more complex problem-solving and creativity.

3. Provides a self-service portal for employees

With a self-service portal that acts as a one-stop shop for employees to request services and support, the need for direct communication with IT or other departments can be significantly reduced. This improves response times and lightens the workload for IT teams.

4. Offers real-time status updates

ESM provides real-time status updates on service requests, allowing employees to track the progress of their requests and receive updates on resolution times. This helps employees plan their work and reduces the need for follow-up communication. This is especially crucial as current consumer expectations dictate that great service includes a quick, immediate response, even just to acknowledge that an issue has been raised and is going through the resolution process, whether it’s a service request or an incident report.

5. Improves collaboration and communication

With information and services in one place, knowledge sharing becomes much easier with ESM. This encourages collaboration and communication between departments and teams, regardless of their location, a crucial feature for distributed teams who may not have regular face-to-face interactions.

6. Enhances visibility and accountability

ESM provides visibility into service requests and their status, enabling managers to hold employees and departments accountable for service delivery and quality. Knowing what’s going on helps improve the overall quality of service and reduces the number of service disruptions.

7. Enables remote monitoring and management

When something goes wrong with a remote worker’s tech, it can be a nightmare to deal with, as IT support may not be available at their location. With remote monitoring and management capabilities of IT infrastructure, applications, and services, ESM helps reduce the need for on-site support and maintenance.

Connect your distributed workforce with IFS assyst

As the workforce continues to become more mobile, it’s crucial for organizations to have a solution that can keep up, connecting their distributed workforce and streamlining IT service delivery.

IFS assyst offers a comprehensive ESM platform that helps transform the way your business works and provides distributed teams with the support they need, no matter where they are located.

So, why not take the first step and book a demo of IFS assyst? Click here to book your demo today.

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