Businesses are learning all kinds of things about remote working during the coronavirus pandemic. Some businesses have always had provisions in place to enable remote working, while for others, they’ve had to adapt quickly.
Many businesses are experiencing the benefits of remote working, while employees are also finding themselves enjoying greater flexibility. While working from home might seem like a temporary solution during the outbreak, it could actually be something your business does more of going forward.
Understanding what’s working well and not so well will help you make some informed decisions about your own business going forward.
So what lessons have been learned so far about remote working? Take a look at some of the ideas below.
Equipping your employees with the right tech is important
Technology has been a key issue for many businesses right now, with many having to invest in portable tech to make remote working possible for its workforce. While desktops were commonplace in the office, it’s become more apparent that laptops and tablets are what’s needed. If you look at current remote working trends, you’ll see that technology has come on significantly in recent years, making it possible to work remotely just as well at home, or some cases better, than in the office.
Conducting a tech needs assessment can help you establish what is needed to get your team fully equipped for remote working.
Security is paramount
Working away from base, where there are secured network connections, can be very difficult for some businesses. Stepping up your security to ensure your systems can stay protected remotely is important. This is where managed IT services come in handy. With someone else in charge of your security, you can benefit from the experienced hands of experts. With teams dispersed, including your on-site IT experts, it can give peace of mind that your systems are not only protected, but that things will be resolved quickly if something goes wrong.
Collaborative working can be very effective
While many people thrive in an office environment, it seems that it is possible to thrive when working from home too. Teams are being forced to collaborate right now, which is leading to the development of better processes and clearer communication. There are some amazing collaborative tools available right now, including Microsoft Teams, which integrates seamlessly with the rest of your Office software. From working on projects together to gathering feedback and ideas, it’s now easier than ever to enable integrated working within your teams.
Choose video conferencing software that works for you
Video conferencing has become part of the norm for many workers. Even parliaments are conducting key business via virtual meetings! Embracing video calling can help businesses work better together, while also helping to ensure employees maintain contact with each other. Video conferencing was typically seen as the less than desirable alternative than face to face meetings, but being forced to embrace it, and quickly, has made it a very normal part of the working day.
See some of the dos and don’ts of video conferencing to help you make the most of them. Some of the best tips include:
- Position yourself correctly according to the light. Facing natural light provides the best result, rather than sitting with your back towards it.
- Sit in a quiet room, preferably one where people won’t be coming and going during your meeting.
- Use headphones to drown out background noise and benefit from any built-in microphones.
- Choose a flattering camera angle – anything odd or unflattering can be distracting to others on the call.
- Avoid being tempted by the various special effects backgrounds on offer – they are a distraction rather than being effective.
- Always mute your microphone when you’re not talking.
Cloud storage can help you run your business smoothly
Many businesses have been embracing the move to the cloud for years, which was great preparation for today. The benefits of cloud computing have meant it’s easier than ever for businesses to work remotely, and are able to access files seamlessly and securely. Working in the cloud is fast and practical, and is ideal for employees who might need to work remotely at the drop of a hat. Being able to work on anything, anywhere at any time brings flexibility to businesses, and could make you rethink your remote working approach in the future.
Simplifying processes can make remote working more effective
One thing that many businesses have been forced to do in the wake of coronavirus is simplify their processes. This strategy has allowed many businesses to adapt, and therefore survive what is going to be a tough economic time.
Take the example of ecommerce stores. It’s proving difficult for some stores to get their supplies, as global manufacturing and distribution have been greatly affected. This has led to many to reduce their offering, making things simpler to manage remotely. Responding to customer demand at this point is important, and has meant a lot of changes for businesses at this time.
There are many ways to simplify work processes. Now is an excellent time to make changes and see if they work, which could make things easier for your business going forward.
Employee wellbeing is more important than ever
Employee wellbeing has been a key consideration during the pandemic, with it being more difficult to have conversations with employees about their mental and physical health. Some problems are more apparent when you can see someone in person, so employees at home might be more tempted to say ‘I’m fine’ when asked instead of opening up about their problems. It’s important to check in regularly and ensure that employees know that there is help available to them if they are struggling.
Providing employees with advice and guidance at this time can help them manage their work/life balance while working from home. There are some great tips for mindful productivity, as well as ways that employees can stay active throughout the working day.
Until now, any remote workers, or workers in different locations, were likely left out of common office life and often forgotten about when it comes to key issues. Now that everyone is on equal footing, it’s raised some questions about how you can make your workplace more inclusive in the future.
Take time to check in on your employees when they aren’t in the office, it’s more important than ever that they feel connected.
It could help you expand your talent pool
The overall lesson learned remotely is that it can be done, and can be done well. When it comes to your future strategies, you might now find that it’s worth considering hiring remote employees or allowing them to work from home. This can help you expand your talent pool, as location is no longer the determining factor when hiring. Many businesses are even getting into the habit of recruiting via video calls and over the phone, which could make your recruitment process faster and more effective.
Being able to bring in the best, no matter where they’re located, could give your business a huge boost in the future.
Remote working has presented many challenges for businesses, but there have been plenty of upsides too. Your own business can learn key lessons from this time and set out to make remote working an effective and normal part of your business operations. With technology and workplace behavior constantly evolving, it will be interesting to see how remote working continues to adapt and improve over the coming months.