Remote working may have been enforced due to the prevailing situation for businesses around the world. However, after experiencing it first-hand, many may end up making it a logical choice even post COVID-19 crisis.
A significant number of organizations plan to move their on-site employees to permanent remote positions unless the situation mandates otherwise. A permanent switch to remote working (primarily or optionally) would mean a win-win for all. Reduced commute for employees, productivity and cost-effectiveness are a few of the many benefits.
To bring about this change in your organization, you would certainly need to make some significant changes in your business infrastructure. Are you looking to jump on the bandwagon?
If yes, then we have a few useful tips for you that will make this transition as smooth as possible.
Invest in enterprise mobility
When the trend of remote working took off, many companies invested in cloud computing solutions. A reliable backend cloud system that your employees can access from anywhere, creates flexibility.
Employing an Enterprise Mobility Management Solution is undeniably the first and foremost step in the right direction. However, the latest shift in remote working suggests the need for something more.
Most companies operate by provisioning and managing corporate-owned devices. But with a permanent move to remote-working, you ought to facilitate your employees a little more.
Invest in a full suite of hardware needs for remote workers. Build policies to cater for peripheral equipment like monitors and webcams.
This, of course, adds to the cost but will offer you manifold rewards. It is bound to improve productivity and give a morale boost to your teams – especially when your competitors are not doing this yet.
Ensure network security
When remote workers access the company’s resources, endpoint protection is a must. Your organization should define a policy for all employees, working onsite or remotely, to use an antivirus. Offer online tools to your IT support team, to facilitate them with helping remote workers.
Consider adding two-factor authentication to remote access solutions. To take security a step forward, you may also use a virtual private network (VPN).
Give regular training/reminders to all employees to enlighten them about the importance of protecting the system from any form of cyberattack.
Whatever security methods you employ, ensure that all software is always up to date.
Bear in mind that with a rise in remote working, a rise in network traffic is also expected. This may cause stability problems and lead to vulnerabilities in the system. Therefore, it is essential to stay on top of things and cater to any possible network security issues before they strike.
Set clear expectations
Before taking the plunge and letting your employees be on their own, make them aware of what is expected of them. Good communication is vital, more so when the only interaction is virtual.
During times like the current pandemic or any other national crisis, regular reassurance and support offered to staff from the line managers and the overall organization, goes a long way.
A positive approach would be to show a big picture to your staff but be flexible. Have regular meetings to stay up to date. But most importantly, trust your employees.
Focus on the results rather than on each activity. Support them and trust them to produce results instead of micromanaging each step.
Remember, empathy goes a long way, especially when done during crucial times like the current pandemic. Offer incentives such as an option to work flexible hours and/or remote working for as long as they do not feel comfortable to return to the office.
Such initiatives will not only earn you your employees’ trust but will also increase their productivity.
Up-to-date documentation and contractual considerations
Review your company policies and procedures. Make sure they address all forms of homeworking arrangements.
All employees should understand fully how the managers will supervise and communicate with their teams.
Clearly lay out your company’s plans for employees’ career development and promotion opportunities. Remote working staff should not get the feeling that the organization favors office-based staff in any way.
All homeworking contracts should include who will be responsible for covering the IT and broadband costs (as well as heating/lighting).
Some of these steps may seem unnecessary at this stage. However, they will save your company from any surprises in the future. It is always a good idea to revise your policies regularly to see optimum results.
To learn more about how Torry Harris can help you make a smooth transition to remote working effectively (while also saving costs and increasing productivity), follow our latest blog series on the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.