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During the pandemic, up to 80% of the Irish workforce experienced remote work. However, for most people, that experience was far from ideal. Just because a company offers the possibility of working remotely doesn’t mean they know how to do it right. There are many things to consider when setting up your structure to ensure your remote teams can perform well and securely wherever they are.
Think about how important it is to invest in security for your physical office and in creating an environment where people can be productive and interact seamlessly. The same is true for your virtual office, and you must place proportional effort into it for your remote team.
This article discusses the key aspects your team will need to operate at their best in a remote setting. Every industry needs to adapt and pick the right set of tools and equipment for its circumstances, so if you want tailored advice, get in touch. Since before the pandemic, we’ve been enabling remote work for many of our customers, and we can provide 1:1 guidance in a free Discovery Call.
The main aspects we’ll be covering in this article concern the environment in which people work, the security of your infrastructure and the tools or methods you should seek to ensure they can communicate and collaborate effectively.
These will directly affect your team’s day-to-day capacity and influence their workflow, motivation and relationship with stakeholders. By providing them with good conditions and the means to do a good job, they’ll feel valued and potentially develop a better connection to the organisational culture.
Just because people are not working in your office doesn’t mean you don’t need to care about their working environment. You might be saving money with office rent and equipment, but you should still allocate some budget to create a stimulating environment.
Your team’s equipment needs to be adequate for their needs, and the computers, monitors, and peripherals must be supplied at all times. During the pandemic, many companies adopted a BYOD policy – Bring Your Own Device – where people would work from their personal computers, but that is no longer considered acceptable as it creates several security challenges.
Keyboards, webcams and even desks and chairs can significantly alter the work experience and should not be forgotten! Make sure you procure good quality equipment for your team to be comfortable and efficient.
Some people need to share their accommodation and don’t have the luxury of a private office in their houses, so why not offer them the possibility of hiring a co-working space? A desk or a room in such an environment tends to be much less expensive than having your own office and allows people with limited space in their houses to be more comfortable and concentrate better. This is also useful for people who prefer to be with other professionals and socialise in their breaks.
Cyber security should be one of your top priorities when developing your remote working structure. Just as you need locks for your physical offices, you’ll need mechanisms to ensure your digital assets and remote teams are safe. Cyber security is a crucial topic for all organisations today, but it’s even more critical for companies that operate remotely.
We have other articles that dive into this topic in more detail. You can access them in the links below:
In short, you need to ensure that your team’s devices and networks are safe, that your data and critical assets are secure and that your employees are trained and aware of the most common and dangerous cyber threats. For that, you must first define your most critical assets and understand your level of risk. Only then you can take adequate measures to protect your business.
Hiring security tools without conducting this risk assessment may leave essential aspects of your organisation unprotected. Plus, you may spend more than you need on tools that do not give back enough value.
Some tools are required for virtually all businesses and should be in place as soon as possible, such as backups, monitoring and anti-malware tools. It’s usually recommended to have basic protection tools active and then add more security layers as you have a better understanding of your risk.
Your team needs to collaborate to get their best work done; otherwise, they could be individual contractors, each doing their own thing. It’s hard enough to get people to work well together in the same environment, so how to get things done when people are working apart?
Many tools can help you get started. The first thing you need if your team is working remotely is a Cloud server, where people can access everything they need for work wherever they are. There are alternatives, such as VPNs and Virtual Desktops, each with advantages in terms of accessibility and security.
What matters here is that people can safely edit and share files among peers and relevant stakeholders. Most tools today will allow people to work on the same files and keep track of changes, versions and syncing so that everyone will be up to date, and you won’t need to worry with duplicates and different versions.
Project managers and sector managers might have a hard time coordinating the efforts of a decentralised team, and that’s where workflow management tools come in place. Platforms such as monday.com, Asana and Trello can be handy for managing and visualising the team workflow. They’re helpful for both traditional and agile methodologies and can help your team become more efficient.
Communication is vital, especially when your team is not speaking face to face. The email has been the standard means for corporate communications for long, and it’s essential that it is protected and that it can block external threats such as SPAM and Phishing attacks.
With a decentralised and remote environment, other channels become more important. VoIP – Voice Over IP – enables you to utilise the phone over the internet and to have your lines available for your staff wherever they are. Over the pandemic, we saw many businesses becoming extremely hard to reach via phone, which could have been easily avoided with a reliable VoIP service. It also allows you to contact people in other countries and continents with ease and at very low costs, with no drawbacks.
Instant messaging is also essential for brief communication and improving the conversation flow between teammates. It’s the replacement of the quick chat in the office and probably the main channel in daily use. You’re definitely missing out if you’re still not using an Instant Messaging solution!
Tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack can handle all these aspects of communications and are incredibly accessible. We have an article providing more details on Why is Microsoft Teams a Good Solution for your Remote Working Needs.
Having an efficient team is challenging, whether in your office or operating remotely. It’s your responsibility to provide them with the best tools, systems and environment so they can be efficient, comfortable and give their all.
None of these crucial aspects of remote work will fix themselves if you’re not worried about them. You must be proactive in ensuring that your people can work seamlessly – they’ll thank you for it, and you’ll see your retention and satisfaction rates improving!
You can begin implementing some of these solutions yourself right now, but if you need tailored and specialist advice, count on us! We provided all of our customers with efficient, secure and smooth remote working solutions when the pandemic started, and our expertise can certainly help. Book a no-commitment Discovery Call, and our team will listen to your needs before explaining how we operate and offering a tailored solution.
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