Published on May 14th, 2020 | by Sunit Nandi0
4 Tips for Navigating the Transition to a Remote Workforce
Remote work has become an enticing perk for employees in various industries. This arrangement is projected to grow in the coming years due to its ability to attract high-performers from across the globe, lower overhead costs, and reduce the number of sick days ill employees need to take.
It is important to note that for a remote workforce to be successful, adequate preparation is required by both the leadership team and participating employees. For example, it’s essential that company leaders embrace innovation at every level, and teach frontline workers how to safely and properly use the required technology. Doing this can help lead to happier and more productive employees, as well as longevity for the business in this digital age.
Set Clear Policies
One of the most important aspects of transitioning to remote work is making sure everyone is on the same page. Before the jump to remote work is made, the management team needs to assess a series of important questions.
For example, will team members be required to work set hours everyday, or can they set their own hours? What programs and tools will the company use to communicate internally and externally? It is also important to have a way to track how employees are spending their time within billable hours, as well as a way for project managers to organize deliverables. Ensuring company wide adoption of these adjustments is essential to a seamless transition. Additionally, the way an organization conducts recruitment and hiring will also likely change after going remote and needs to be accounted for both by HR and executive leadership.
These are all items that leadership should address before making the transition to a remote workforce. Company management should also be available to answer questions from employees and customers when the transition is announced. Before making
adjustments to the policy, consider getting the input of employees and managers.
Once remote work starts, it’s important that managers are clear about what is expected of employees, and what will happen if deadlines are not met. That being said, it is also important that management helps employees adjust to the remote lifestyle and give them the tools they need to succeed.
Implement Cyber Safety Guidelines
Cybersecurity is a critical part of working remotely. A data breach can cost a company thousands of dollars, and potentially an entire customer base. In cybersecurity, the weakest link is typically humans. This means that training all employees on cybersecurity best practices is of utmost importance. Hosting IT workshops and ongoing cybersecurity training can help employees of all knowledge levels be safe while working.
A few simple implementations for proper cybersecurity are password protecting online meetings, being on alert for phishing scams, and having 2-factor authentication be a company standard. As a remote business, it is important to lean on your IT department and ensure the team has adequate resources to best support your newly remote workforce.They can answer employee questions and concerns, lead cyber safety training, and alert the leadership team to new threats.
Of course, employee education alone will not keep a company safe from cyberattacks. A best practice for companies employing remote workers, is investing in business-essential devices for telecommuting employees to work on. These devices should be installed with an antivirus suite and Virtual Private Network (VPN) to offer protection, even if an employee is working in a public space like a coffee shop or library. It should also be company policy that all company work and communication is done only on the company-owned and maintained device.
Embrace Cost Saving Technology
Of course, the most logical way to save money is to fully embrace cost-saving technology. Supplementing your staff with a digital workforce is a great way to reduce costs, as well as reward your employees with more enjoyable tasks. These “workers” use AI to perform repetitive tasks from beginning to end, such as filing invoices, basic customer service queries, online order management, and more.
A digital workforce is cost-effective because these “workers” don’t require benefits or pay, and can perform work around the clock. This also frees up employees to focus on more interesting, creative tasks that require a human touch.
Other cost saving software includes online scheduling programs, eliminating the idea of paying an employee to create a schedule or handle time-off requests. Utilizing programs such as online dropboxes allows employees to share information easily and instantly. Most of this software can be customized to a businesses’ individual needs.
Successful Companies Require Communication
In the transition to work from home arrangements, it’s important to remember the value of communication with your employees. Remote workers are often happier and more productive, but communicating with employees is a critical part of seeing these benefits. It’s important that leadership meets with employees on a regular basis, as both a group and individual check-ins. These meetings allow teams an opportunity to collaborate with one another, as well as a space for employees and managers to discuss concerns and expectations.
Programs such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams provide an easy way to schedule video calls, which are a key element in productive remote work. It’s also proven that video communication is more effective than an email or phone call., as it allows for more productive and engaging meetings. These applications can handle individual meetings, large meetings, and have features such as screen sharing and optional backgrounds. They can also be used to set up meetings with clients, eliminating the need for costly traveling.
Of course, a video call may not be practical for quick questions or more casual conversations. Instant messaging applications like Slack or Discord fill this gap by allowing employees to communicate with one another during the workday, as well as more casual events such as digital happy hours. This kind of communication is very important to building a positive company culture, which helps reduce employee turnover and increase productivity.
All levels of leadership should be using these platforms to communicate with employees, as well as establishing etiquette for virtual meetings.
Remote work has proven to be a very successful model for businesses across various industries. Although there can be setbacks, with proper planning and dedication, many common pitfalls can be successfully avoided. It is guaranteed that the work landscape will change significantly in the upcoming years. Businesses that set themselves up at the forefront of these changes have the best chance of profitability and longevity.