The possibilities of remote work and hybrid workplaces have completely changed the way workers and employers view the workplace. According to a recent survey, 41.8 percent of the American workforce works from home full time. What’s more, this trend expects to continue into the post-pandemic future.
Most businesses were forced to adopt remote working as a way to stay afloat following the COVID-19 shutdowns. But many employers and hiring managers have since realized the benefits and potential of having employees work from home. Also, most remote workers have fully embraced the flexible work environment and have no intentions of returning to the 9-to-5 grind.
Benefits of remote work
Modern business models have evolved to the point of not needing full-time, desk-based employees, or even physical offices and premises, for that matter. Remote work presents several significant benefits to both the staff and employer, including:
- Lowered business operating costs: cuts hiring, onboarding, commuting, and workplace expenses
- Access to a large and diverse talent pool, including freelancers and professional services
- Improved employee morale, satisfaction, and retention rate
- Higher HR performance and productivity
- Healthier work-life balance for employees
- Boosted reputation and sharpened competitive edge
- Improved disaster preparedness and business continuity planning
- Reduced carbon footprint in terms of minimal commuting and low energy usage in the workplace
The State of Remote Work Report 2019 confirms that most employees are happier and more productive when working remotely. In short, remote working is a win-win scenario for the employer and employee.
Essentials of an efficient and productive remote work policy
When it comes to boosting employee productivity, cutting costs, and improving the bottom line, remote work yields better results than the conventional workplace setting. However, remote working introduces some unique challenges, which include:
- Communications and collaborations issues
- Managing and supervising employees
- Tracking employee performance and work progress
- Overcoming distance, cultural, and language barriers
- Maintaining trust, cohesion, and accountability among staff members
- Ensuring data and staff security
You must consider all these potential problems when designing a remote working policy for your organization. Luckily, all these have straightforward solutions that are relatively easy to implement once it becomes clear what you want to achieve.
1. Invest in all the right tools
Empower your employees with all the digital tools and services they require to efficiently collaborate, communicate, and work remotely. Most IT infrastructures designed for physical workplaces, such as PBX phones and desktop workstations, are not compatible with a remote working environment. So, you may have to invest heavily in virtual working platforms, cloud computing services, VoIP phones, and unified communications to enable reliable connections among remote workers.
Maintaining open communication lines where workers can instantly share information through voice calls, instant messages, emails, and file sharing is the cornerstone of any remote work infrastructure. Analyze your business model and employees’ needs to determine the right blend of digital resources required to work remotely.
2. Reinforce company-wide cybersecurity
A report by the Ponemon Institute illustrates how drastically cybersecurity effectiveness drops once an organization shifts to remote working. Switching to a remote working environment expands the threat surface by introducing new security risks such as eavesdropping attacks, social engineering attacks, and user negligence.
Strengthen your cybersecurity posture by implementing data protection measures such as VPNs, multi-factor authentication, strong password policies, antimalware, intruder detection systems, and firewalls. A comprehensive cybersecurity framework helps mitigate the inherent risks associated with remote working and preserves data safety compliance.
3. Restructure your HR administration
It’s obviously much harder to monitor employees remotely without the close supervision afforded by a physical workplace. However, with the right virtual working tools, you can easily check on employees’ availability, productivity, and work quality. But even so, you may need to reconfigure your HR management structure to handle remote processes.
Some organizations group employees into small teams, each with its own rules and leader, while others take a more holistic management approach. Either way, it’s crucial to maintain a basic HR hierarchy in a virtual workplace, much like you would in a physical setting. It’s only that the relatively strict managerial styles of a physical workplace never work on remote staff.
4. Train your staff on remote working basics
Certain work processes may change after shifting to a remote work environment. Before making the switch, ensure your employees are ready for the change by training them on the fundamentals of remote working and explaining what you expect of them. For instance, make sure every employee understands how to connect with coworkers, clients, and superiors through the appropriate channels, deliver quality work, and observe digital security guidelines.
Take every employee through an informative orientation process before onboarding them to the remote working program. Then organize periodic refresher courses to tune up the employees and update them on any new changes and developments.
5. Get professional technical assistance
The success of any remote work policy largely depends on the IT infrastructure behind it. You have to provide your remote staff with all the necessary IT resources and also ensure they work reliably all the time. It’s hard enough to figure out the right technical equipment for your workplace structure without worrying about the costs, maintenance, and upkeep. What’s more, there are several facets of the remote working infrastructure that you have to keep track of at any given time. That’s why it makes sense to leave the technical processes to a professional as you concentrate on the business aspect of remote work.
As a managed IT service provider, KME Systems can help you design a powerful, secure, and versatile IT infrastructure that seamlessly supports any remote working policy. And not only that, but we’ll also take over the maintenance and management of all your IT resources, guaranteeing 24/7 service availability to keep your staff connected, focused, and happy.
Our job is to assist your business, cut costs, maximize productivity, and maintain security compliance when working with remote employees. Get in touch with us to learn more about our world-class managed IT support solutions.