So you’ve decided to go remote or hybrid, is your organization ready for the change?
Several technical and social factors come into play when switching to any form of remote working setup. Things such as hardware and software tools are obvious prerequisites for implementation, but there are elements that organizations sometimes overlook. Let’s go over these items briefly so you can assess how you currently fare.
The first requirement is a no-brainer. Employees need a speedy and reliable internet connection in order to effectively collaborate with other remote workers. However, who is responsible for this cost isn’t as clear cut. This question becomes especially difficult for internet services with data caps. Do companies pay for data used for personal purposes, or do employees continue paying for home internet when their bandwidth is being used for work?
Aside from internet, employees must also have the necessary hardware and software tools they need in order to communicate effectively and be productive. Employers typically shoulder the cost of these tools and utilities. However, the equipment package—which may include laptops and mobile phones—is decided between employers and their employees. In terms of applications, companies can opt to use readily available cloud-based software or install specialized apps on remote servers for easy access.
Centralized file handling is also important, especially when working with teams. A cloud-based file repository allows employees to create, access, and modify common work files remotely. This is especially useful for turning over tasks. And since work data is passed on via the internet and is mostly accessed through the employees’ personal devices and personal networks, security also becomes a very important consideration.
Sensitive company data is always at risk of exposure, especially when home-based employees may not enjoy the same enterprise-level network security as when they’re at the office. Organizations must ensure that their employees’ devices are regularly patched and installed with the latest antimalware protection and that the network protocols they use are secure. They must also provide encrypted access to company files and portals.
Perhaps the most important requirement for effective remote working are collaboration tools. These are a set of applications—both local and cloud-based—that employees can use to communicate and co-work with their teammates, stakeholders, and customers. The most common of these tools are instant messaging and video conferencing apps.
The challenge with having multiple workers spread out in different locations is that companies cannot always guarantee that employees are adhering to company standards for work. When employees are left to their own devices, it becomes a matter of trust. As a precaution, organizations must set guidelines that govern remote work to ensure employee accountability and continued productivity. These may cover topics such as work hours, status updates, and expected deliverables. Organizations must also have emergency measures in place like functional call trees to ensure that work gets passed on quickly in case one or more employees become unavailable.
A progress tracking system is essential for any kind of work since it lets teams know how much more needs to be done to complete a project. It ensures that employees are always on track and that managers are able to spot possible bottlenecks so they can adjust the process accordingly. Progress tracking for remote work also gives employers a chance to fairly assess their employees’ contributions based on their output.
To keep teams on the same page, it is most important to schedule regular sync up meetings via video conferencing. This not only allows them to discuss the status of their work, but it also gives them a chance to foster better relationships with their remote coworkers.
Although it’s ideal to have all the boxes checked, ultimately, it is up to your organization to figure out which requirements are most crucial to your overall business strategy. A remote working setup can be deemed successful if teams get to collaborate and produce work efficiently and securely.