Strategy 1: Create a safe and effective foundation for remote digital access. First of all, employees need secure access to IT resources within the business as well as to the Internet itself. Generally this can be done via the employee's Internet provider and organization's virtual private network.
- Internet access: You cannot assume all workers have adequate online access at home or elsewhere. While many will, some won't have reliable or fast enough service. Companies may need to invest in mobile hot spots and associated data plans, or even provide stipends to establish home Internet access plans or upgrade existing plans.
- Remote work devices: Here you have a choice. You can either allow workers to use their own equipment or you can provide the devices employees need. Allowing them to use their own may be faster and easier to deploy, but that also comes with larger security risks. Besides the basic computer or laptop, other devices necessary for remote work are a webcam for web conferencing, a high-quality headset or headphones with a microphone and, an 'on-the-air' sign to keep disruptions to a minimum.
- Secure remote access to business assets and online services: Generally this is provided by a virtual private network (VPN) solution, which is configured on the PC, laptop, or mobile device and creates an encrypted network connection that makes it safe for the worker to access IT resources within the organization and elsewhere on the Internet or other networks.
Strategy 2: Provide access to productivity, line of business applications, and communications/collaboration tools. Business today revolves around teamwork using shared knowledge assets including documents, files, reports, spreadsheets, rich media, and both structured and unstructured data. Such assets are created and used with applications that include the usual office productivity suites like Microsoft Office365, local content/document management systems, the corporate intranet, HR systems, CRM, ERP, and countless other systems.
Strategy 3: Develop remote working expectations for your employees. Working remotely is fundamentally different than working together in one office. For employers who've never done this before, here are some recommendations / expectations you might consider sharing with your employees.
- Work Environment: You should have a productive and dedicated work environment at home which includes a functional desk in a quiet room without any non-work related interruptions from family members, TV, etc.
A. Monitors: If you have multiple monitors at work, then having those at home as well will help maintain productivity.
B. Cameras: Use a computer with a camera when needed, to attend online meetings, where having a virtual face-to-face interaction would be beneficial.
- Stay connected: Over-communicate because you’re remote. Communications is an essential part of working remotely and allows you to stay connected to your team. You can use phone, text, email, Microsoft Teams and other tools.
- Voice over IP (VoIP): Consider Voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems that allow teams to make/receive phone calls from anywhere there is an Internet connection, including their cell phones or desk phones, while keeping their office extensions and outgoing company caller id.
- Provide updates: Provide updates quickly and within your company’s response guidelines.
- Monitor productivity: Keep an eye on productivity and keep interruptions out. There should be no drop in productivity – in fact most people realize an increase in productivity due to a quiet work environment.
- Maintain regular business hours: Be sure you are available during the regular business hours you would normally work while at the office.
- Maintain your routine: Maintain a normal morning routine and be dressed as if going to work. This puts you in the right mindset to get to work.
- Establish family rules: Set ground rules with family at home to help you work un-interrupted.
- Notify manager for time off: Notify your manager of any time off needed for personal reasons just like you would while working from the office.
If you would like additional help in helping your team work remotely, please call eNet Systems at 281-403-9561 or email us.
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Source: eNet Systems and zdnet.com - See full article.