Allowing employees to work remotely has been ramping up for a while now and, in light of current events, more companies are being pushed to do so.
Whilst technology has long since caught up with flexible working, and continues to do so, there are still many cons that go along with the pros. Ranging from tech issues that only appear when employees attempt to log-in from home to teething problems with structure and boundaries, a lot of issues can arise.
To help ease the headaches, we’ve put together a list of quick-win tips to promote efficiency from remote working.
1. Work securely
We’ve put this at the top as it really is the most important. Security experts are predicting a 30-40% increase in cyber attacks as remote working increases.
Investing in strong end-point security solutions is key to protecting your business from opportunistic cyber criminals. The following are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to security, but are essential for remote working;
- Set up two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA)
- Look into moving away from a VPN to more secure, ‘direct-access’ cloud services such as SharePoint
- Always use an antivirus software
- Install updates regularly. If your users are still on Windows 7, please look into upgrading immediately!
- Use a password manager to encourage the use of complex passwords without the headache of remembering them
- Stay aware of phishing scams and keep your colleagues up-to-date on the latest attempts
2. Keep communicating
When remote working, it becomes all too easy to get wrapped up in your own bubble. Putting in the extra effort to keep in touch with colleagues will keep the productivity and collaboration momentum going.
That means making sure the Monday morning sales meeting goes ahead, the weekly one-on-ones don’t stop and feedback on work is just as prompt as before.
There are some fantastic collaboration tools that exist for just this reason. Take Microsoft Teams for example. Wrapping up group and individual chat functionality (with emojis and gifs available to keep personality flowing), video conferencing and live file collaboration means that it can be business as usual, just with a different view and no tea rounds.
3. Create a Zen & functional work space
Too many people get excited about working, on the sofa and in their PJs, but it’s really not conducive for a focused work mentality. Instead, encourage employees to create a dedicated space that is separate from the rest of their home activities. Somewhere with plenty of light, comfortable seating and in a tidy area is perfect.
And businesses can help by providing necessary equipment and software such as laptops, monitors and software-based phone systems.
4. Be organised
Keep productivity up to the same levels (or higher) than in the office means making sure that teams know what their priorities are for the day.
Microsoft has added a fantastic task management product to Microsoft 365 called Microsoft Planner. Team members to create plans, organise and assign tasks to different users and check updates on progress through dashboards. You can read about it here.
5. Log off
We’ve all had a boss that has blurred the lines between ‘working remotely during normal hours’ and ‘answering emails at all times’. With one of the biggest concerns from employees when they work remotely is feeling guilty about logging off at their normal time, it’s important that everyone keeps to their habit of saying goodnight and switching off. Strong work-life boundaries means a happy and productive workforce.
Managers can make this easier, particularly during unusual remote working periods, by sending informal ‘good morning’ and ‘great day, let’s do it again tomorrow’ style messages to their team.