Remote offices may be the wave of the future, but many employees are still unsure about how to make remote employment work. Fortunately, some commonsense guidelines can help both employers and employees.
One important consideration is technology. Employees in remote offices need access to the same people and resources they would have in your main office, so added security is imperative to protect your network and critical data. You wouldn’t want your remote office worker’s device to be compromised by malware and infect any network applications the device is connected to.
Even with the latest security software and enterprise-grade security on internet connections, a data breach can occur if any team member is taken in by a phishing scheme. Remote employees need to maintain a high level of awareness of the latest cyber scams seeking personal information and access credentials. Managers can help by providing up-to-the-minute information.
The emotional aspect
The amount of time employees spend working remotely and how much control they have over their work environment is key. The lockdown era showed everyone how working alongside kids in unsuitable spaces with no way out and no in-office days can be a productivity disaster. That’s because it can be difficult in those circumstances to distinguish where work ends and one’s personal life begins. Tasks can become time consuming due to constant interruptions, and people may have difficulty keeping focus.
That’s where managers come in. They can provide employees in remote offices with the tools and guidelines to be productive and accountable. Let’s take a closer look.
- Communication problems: Are all employees in remote offices familiar with platforms for collaborating remotely? Poor internet connections and user error can derail a video conference. Employees need to make sure other people in their homes aren’t monopolizing bandwidth by streaming videos and games. Managers should create multiple channels for communication to help promote a more effective collaboration.
- Maintain focus and team culture: Isolation may lower morale as employees miss interaction with coworkers. Promote stronger connections among distributed teams.
- Preserve physical and mental health: Though many employees enjoy the flexibility of working from home, it can induce anxiety. Not commuting means less physical activity, sitting down for longer periods and eating more frequently, all of which contribute to less favorable health outcomes. Provide employees with some guidance for effective self-care.
Improved communications not only make companies more productive but also reduce employees’ feelings of isolation.
- Embrace cloud solutions: With cloud-based software tools, employees can access the same applications and work on the same data and projects collaboratively. Shared cloud platforms give everyone access to identical tools and data in order to work collaboratively.
- Use video conferencing: Video allows participants to connect with one another more genuinely and build the relationships necessary for your team to perform at a high level.
- Schedule regular meetings: Replace the casual drop-ins that would occur if everyone were in the same building with a deliberate and structured approach to team building.
By developing a few good habits and following some key suggestions, you can help your team achieve success in remote working. Collaborate effectively using email, phone calls, video calls and online chat software. Tell employees to ask when and how other workers and managers want to hear from them. Make sure employees know what you expect of them and when. Tell everyone that providing updates and asking for clarifications is more than okay—it’s de rigueur. It builds trust.