As we continue to deal with the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic, many organization are looking into the future and beginning to make plans on what their organization's workforce will look like when stay at home and social distancing policies are lifted. As many workers have now spent several weeks working remotely, many have thrived and would like to continue doing so even after the pandemic is behind us. Organizations will be pushed to adjust their internal policies to account for the rising demand for more long-term remote opportunities.
In a recent survey by Intermedia 57% of small and midsized business owners who increased remote working due to the Covid-19 pandemic said they will likely maintain the option for employees in the long-term. While some organizations will move to a fully remote workforce, many may adapt a hybrid approach where they will offer the option for some remote work while not committing to full-time remote working.
While some companies may be tempted to fight the new remote work trend, it may do more harm than good when it comes to maintaining their current workforce as well as procuring new talent. A recent survey from Buffer concluded that 99% of current remote workers would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers.
Instead of resisting the change to provide remote work opportunities, organizations should consider working on improving their remote work policies and capabilities. We have compiled a list of some key factors that organizations should look into to increase remote worker productivity and performance.
Select Collaboration tools that making connecting easy - One of the most important parts of have an effective remote team is making sure that collaboration tools are in place so your team can easily work together as if they were in the office together. Look closely at the needs of your organization and find a tool that meets those needs. Some things to look at when searching for a tool include ability to file share among teammates, videoconferencing availabilities and features, and email and chat offerings. You want to focus on a solution that is intuitive and easy to use.
Educate your staff - While a great collaboration tool is very important, it is just as important to have your staff trained on how to use these tools. After all, what use is a great tool if your staff doesn't know how to effectively use it? Make sure your teammates are all comfortable using your collaboration tools and know how to make the most of the program. If your organization has chosen to use Microsoft Teams as their collaboration tool and is looking for training, we have offerings here.
Optimize remote access to the corporate network - In order to make working remotely effective for your team, you need to make sure that your teammates can easily and effectively access your internal network from home. Make sure that your teammates have adequate internet bandwidth at home to make accessing the network easy as well. There are a couple of ways your team can access your internal network remotely. They can use a VPN, but you will want to make sure your VPN solution can support the required number of connections. Another method is to use a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure such as GC Connect to start a remote session on a work device remotely.
Prioritize Security - As with all aspects of your business planning, you should be thinking critically about your cybersecurity plans and solutions when working with a remote workforce. As companies have scrambled to adjust to remote workers attackers are seeing an opportunity to take advantage of vulnerabilities. Workers are now more exposed as they sit outside the corporate network and its perimeter protection measures. Conduct cybersecurity training for all of your users and regularly brush up on what they have learned. Make sure that in-transit traffic is encrypted, as this traffic will likely traverse the public internet. Make sure to use MFA where applicable and have your teammates use a company owned device to work instead of a personal device to limit who has access to your data.
Check in and prevent isolation - While the benefits of working remotely can include less commute time, more productivity, and more flexibility, it is important to also consider some of the cons. A major concern for remote workforces is the feeling of isolation, especially as remote work continues on a long term basis. To address this, it is recommended to send regular company-wide and team-wide communication so the team continues to feel connected. Encourage the usage of video-conferencing and suggest that all teammates turn on video. Maintain a regular cadence with your team and take the time to reach out and connect regularly on an individual basis as well.
We know that these have been challenging times for many organizations and are dedicated to partnering with organizations to adapt to the demands for remote work in the present and future. If you would like more information about how to adequately set up your organization to work remotely effectively please contact us here or by calling 574-534-2830.