How to Set Up Your Employees for Remote Work Success
So, here we are. Amidst the COVID-19 epidemic, you have either already sent your employees to remote work from home or are about to do it. (If not, please consider it ASAP as social distancing and self-quarantine are some of the most effective measures in slowing down the spread of the virus and allowing our healthcare system to get it under control.)
While remote work has been gaining momentum for a while, for many workers, this would be the first time trying to fulfill their duties from the comfort—and distraction—of their homes. As managers and business owners, we must not only protect the health of our employees but to ensure operations continue and clients served.
So we talked to 3nom, an IT management solutions firm, who has moved all of their New York and Miami employees remotely. Let’s take a look at how you and 3nom can set your freshly remote employees up for success in a crunch.
Give Them Tools to do Their Work from Home
For the foreseeable future, your employees won’t have access to office phones, printers, desktops, servers, conference rooms, and all the other things that justify renting a dedicated workspace. And yet, their work has to be done. Now is the time you will see the real ROI on all the laptops you provided for your staff. Avrohom Liberman, CTO at 3nom, said, “We supply all of our employees with a work laptop, with all of the needed tools and apps all ready to go. It allows us to have more control over the security of our company data, but also gives our employees the tools for success.”
To ensure business “as usual” without interruptions, equip your staff with all the staple remote work tools from Slack for team communication to Zoom for virtual meetings, and Microsoft Teams for collaboration to Trello for project and task management. Each of these has a dozen or more alternatives, bundled and not so much. It may be stressful to decide on the best remote work toolkit on your own; if you find yourself in such a situation, don’t hesitate to find an IT support company to help you out.
A one-and-done solution for turning on your telecommuting set up is 3seat, 3nom’s proprietary virtual office solution designed to be flexible, scalable, easy to implement and fit into your budget. It is managed by the experts at 3nom (so your tech support won’t grunt) and comes with an added layer of the top of the line security in addition to all the components of an office computer network.
Tighten Security During Telecommuting
Speaking about security, remote work puts your business in a vulnerable position. According to a recent report by IBM, human error is the leading cause of 95% of cyber security breaches. The risks are particularly high among the segment of your staff with less experience working remotely.
While there may not have been a need to set up VPNs, two-factor authentication, and other security measures on all devices before, the right level of protection of all your business activity and information is now becoming paramount. 3seat virtual office offers in-built security measures such as managed firewall, email with spam filters, secure remote access, and more.
Once your security protocol is set up, and your company is ready to start working remotely, make sure all your employees are trained on security best practices to minimize the sneaky human error. “We have all of our employees take our online security webinar to make sure they are made aware of the many different ways hackers can get into their system,” said Abe Sasson, managing partner at 3nom.
Over-Communicate to Ensure Alignment
While we don’t recommend micromanaging your freshly remote employees (we know how tempting it is, though!), over-communicating is the way to go. With so many discussions moving to texts, messages, and emails, you should expect to see a spike in miscommunication and stuff slipping through the cracks. Unless, that is, you over-communicate.
Over-communicating is simply a code-word for “speaking and documenting.” Instead of trying to figure things out via text, jump on a quick phone or video call, and record your decisions in an easily accessible place. You may also want to encourage team leaders to create a time to connect as a team for a Zoom “water-cooler” chat, agenda-free. These connections tend to foster coworker camaraderie that has so abruptly disappeared from your staff’s lives.
Set Up Back Ups and Monitor Your Systems
Another often overlooked aspect of your business continuity are ongoing backups and system monitoring. During the times of working from home, monitoring your systems remotely and catching any crashes before they cause damage may require additional preparation.
Mirroring your systems to a dedicated IT provider’s severs may be a good idea. This way, you can maintain your systems in-house if that is your preference, and at the same time take full advantage of the cloud technology and a team of experts keeping an eye on your IT 24/7.
It may also be the right time to double-check your backups. Are they functioning as expected? Is the backup data easily recoverable? (The answer is “no” in more cases than you would expect, so it is worth confirming with your IT provider.) Which data and how frequently is backed up? If you don’t have systems monitoring and backups in place, you should consider it.
The last but not the least component of successful remote work is mindfulness. While it has nothing to do with IT or even computers, a mindful approach to working remotely can help your employees achieve maximum productivity.
With the kids at home, store shelves empty, and work computer screen judging them throughout the day, it may be hard for your employees to unplug and take care of themselves. So, encourage flexible work hours and breaks, exercise, and mutual support; measure success by achievements, not hours worked (who cares if that killer presentation was completed after dinner instead of before lunch?), and don’t forget to laugh.
As a business leader, setting your employees up for success when working from home comes down to leveraging everything technology has to offer and to lead by example. To find out how to do it in a way that is right for your business, get in touch.
Stay safe and healthy out there!
A special thanks to Avrohom Liberman and Abe Sasson, from 3nom to providing us with some helpful tips.