It’s something of an understatement to say that 2020 has been a challenging year. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed virtually every facet of daily life. Now that we’re halfway through the year, however, many businesses are moving toward reopening and bringing staff together again.
Up to 62% of Americans worked at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your staff was among that 62%, you might be considering the effectiveness of that arrangement. While the experience may have differed from the norm, you may have found that having your employees work from home actually worked for your business. Your staff remained productive and were able maintain communications virtually. Your business stayed profitable. You discovered innovations that made remote work a viable option for your company.
Embracing Remote Work
Remote work isn’t for everyone. Some companies need staff on site. Some staff members thrive in an office environment. And, some industries cannot continue to conduct business remotely due to regulations and restrictions. However, it’s an option for many companies that would have never considered it before. As we move forward in this post-pandemic world, remote work will continue to evolve in the days, months, and years to come. If you’ve made the decision to embrace remote work for your business, there are some critical technology-related questions to consider. Discuss these with your leadership team before you move forward:
How do we make sure our employees are using the internet productively AND safely?
Cyber-criminals are becoming more and more savvy, which might make this the most important question on our list. You must have a unified approach to data and device security, regardless if your staff will be using company-owned equipment or personal devices. Device security is multi-layered, from antivirus software to VPN tunnels to user training. Carefully consider your options for security solutions, as not all are created equal.
What kind of Internet access do our employees have available to them?
Internet speeds can vary depending on where your employees live. Short of moving, there isn’t a lot your employees can do about their internet access. You may need to consider assisting your rural employees by providing them with a WiFi hot-spot to boost their access.
How will we measure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?
Do you currently have a way to track what drives your business? What about employee focus time? It’s easy for someone working from home to become distracted by laundry, dishes, or kids who are bored. Having a dashboard that shows how efficiently work is being done can help you coach your teammates to be their most effective when away from the office. Understand that flexibility is key and one-size-may-not-fit-all for your employees. Technology offers multiple ways to help make this a reality for your company.
Is it time to leverage more cloud-based services?
Cloud-based services can help you to provide every employee with the same set of tools no matter where they work. Whether it is moving your email to the cloud, web-enabling applications, or hosting servers and other applications in the cloud, it might be time to consider these options. Many companies still need in-house servers to meet industry compliance regulations. However, an increasing number of companies and industries use cloud-based services, particularly since they are more reliable than ever before.
How will we foster continued collaboration and communication?
Online communication tools like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom became prominent during the pandemic. These tools allowed many employees to remain productive and connected while working at home. If your business uses these tools, ask yourself a few questions: Are you using them as effectively as you could? Are you using the right tool for your needs? Does it meet security compliance regulations for your industry? There are numerous tools to choose from, so choose well.
It’s also important to remember that even though these tools are great, there’s nothing that fosters connection like face-to-face, physical engagement with co-workers. Even if it’s the elbow bump while maintaining distancing and wearing face masks, or requiring workers to come in periodically, it’s a discussion worth having.
If you offer an employee rewards program, is it time to revisit/revamp it?
Understanding what motivates a team is key to any company’s success. A site-based rewards program may not be effective for remote workers, so you may have to get creative. A good place to start is by polling your remote staff. Work to understand their challenges, motivations, and goals. As you learn more about your staff’s remote work life, you can build out rewards that keep them engaged long-term. This is a great opportunity to dive into employee recognition software that allows you to recognize and reward staff members no matter where they’re working.
Remote Work is Here to Stay
The first half of 2020 likely gave you a good idea how well your staff would perform in a long-term remote work environment. While it might have presented some challenges, many businesses will make the move toward remote work as a result. If your company is one of these, you will want to carefully consider how to keep your business data secure in addition to maintaining connection among your employees.
As remote work continues to evolve, you will want a technology partner to help you assess data security and remote work tools. Contact Lieberman Technologies to help you to stay on top of the ever-changing remote work landscape!