We’re all working from home more than ever before, even as lockdowns are lifted around the world. Many organizations rushed to embrace remote work as soon as the coronavirus pandemic started. Still, now, it’s time to improve your remote work strategy as opposed to having an ad-hoc approach. After all, the majority of organizations will continue working remotely – at least to some degree – for the foreseeable future.
Essentially, most organizations will still embrace remote work as a way to maintain social distancing, and therefore, keep their team members safe. Also, most organizations are enjoying the benefits of remote work in terms of:
If you’re worried about productivity going forward, especially now that remote work is here to stay, here are a few tips to help you increase productivity for remote workers:
This may surprise you, but people tend to work more productively with regular breaks than working straight for hours on end. When you’re home, it’s easy to forget when work starts and ends. This can result in working far too many hours at a time, and in turn, starting to lose focus and make mistakes. Encourage breaks during the day.
Although each employee may have different availability, try to aim for a standard schedule for each person. This way, everyone knows when they’re going to be available to help, answer questions, or join meetings. Naturally, they may have more distractions sometimes, but a standard schedule for each employee helps keep tasks moving along.
Schedule some time each week for an activity that keeps your staff members engaged, such as a contest, virtual lunch-hour, or even “social time” over a video conference call. For many, social distancing is difficult because they’re not able to connect with others the way they’re used to. This will help keep your team engaged, and ultimately, feeling like a team.
When employees don’t feel like they’re valued, appreciated, and trusted, they’re bound to become less productive. For management, it can be difficult to trust that people are doing their jobs while they’re home. We urge you to trust without limitations and empower those you hired to do what they’re paid to do.
Although trust is paramount, accountability is still crucial. You can hold your staff accountable without questioning their ability to do their jobs. Host a morning meeting or something similar to check in, see what’s on each person’s to-do list, and ask if they have any questions or need any help from others.
There are tons of collaboration tools on the market to help you maintain communication seamlessly with your team. Zoom, Microsoft 365, and VoIP systems are great options that allow you to connect as needed. Microsoft 365, in particular, gives you access to email, contacts, applications, and video conferencing.
If your employees aren’t used to working at home, they may struggle with keeping track of all of their work, tasks, and projects. A project management software can be incredibly useful for organizing your day-to-day workload. Asana, Slack, and Basecamp are great options that allow you to assign, track, and complete tasks.
Instead of putting your focus on the hours worked each day, pay attention to the outcomes achieved. If an employee can do their job incredibly well within 7 hours, it’s not a huge deal if they don’t log that extra hour. It’s important to understand that productivity shouldn’t be measured in hours, but outcomes.
Although we stated that it’s important to focus on the outcomes, not the hours, a time tracking software can keep your team from losing track of their schedule. This is particularly true for those who will end up working countless hours from home because the lines between professional and personal time become blurred.
Lastly, don’t forget to implement a remote work policy that outlines all of the above, as well as your expectations regarding cybersecurity, video conferencing etiquette, sick days, and other important information. You may also outline your expectations in terms of communication with management.
Since its introduction to the business world, the cloud has established itself as one of the most integral technologies in modern society. In the private and professional worlds, the cloud has delivered a range of benefits, from convenient access to data to cost-savings in hardware reduction.
That said, a lot of businesses are hesitant to undergo migration.
There is any number of concerns related to cloud migration:
Does that mean you should forget about the cloud and what it could do for you?
Of course not. It just means you have to plan your migration carefully…
Migration is the process of moving some or all of your data and applications into the cloud (that is, to a data center or a cloud-based infrastructure provided by a cloud service provider such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud).
You can choose to move some of your applications, or your total organizational infrastructure where all of your computing, software, storage, and platform services are transferred to the cloud for any time, anywhere access.
Cloud migration helps you achieve real-time and updated performance and efficiency. However, a cloud migration requires careful planning and implementation to ensure the cloud solution is compatible with your organizational requirements.
As your cloud partner, we’ll help you evaluate cloud solutions, find the right one, and seamlessly migrate to it.
If you don’t have a cybersecurity strategy in place, it’s time to protect your remote workers against hackers now.
The coronavirus pandemic caught many of us off-guard with no time to prepare for embracing remote work. We get that. But going forward, it’s important to have a cohesive strategy in place to protect remote workers. Why? Because cybercriminals are taking advantage of this difficult time – launching more attacks than ever before that leverage fear, uncertainty, and of course, the less secure remote work environment most of us are in.
Even those that will get back into the office as lockdowns are lifted will continue to embrace remote work to some degree – with employees working from home, hotels, and public transport at times. If you don’t have a cybersecurity strategy in place, here’s our checklist for protecting remote workers against hackers:
Mobile devices, computers, and laptops should be secured with proper endpoint protection, including anti-virus software, encryption, and a mobile device management application that allows you to wipe equipment if it’s lost.
A strong, hard-to-guess password should be used for each account or service. This means a minimum of 12 characters with a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols. Passwords should be changed every 90 days.
The majority of online accounts and services offer multi-factor authentication nowadays, including a lot of social media platforms, online banking services, and cloud solutions. Make sure they’re enabled to add an extra layer of protection.
There are tons of options when it comes to video conferencing and instant messaging tools, but make sure you’re using an enterprise-grade collaboration platform, such as Microsoft 365, which includes Microsoft Teams, rather than a free option with minimal security features.
Public wireless networks tend to be less secure and more vulnerable to attacks. If possible, avoid using public wireless networks to access sensitive information. If necessary, use a virtual private network to connect.
When working from home, employees need to know the signs of malicious activity, such as emails with spelling and grammar errors, a sense of urgency, or slight differences in the website or email domain compared to the legitimate organization they’re portraying.
USB sticks and other removable devices can carry malware over to your computer or laptop. Be very careful with any sort of removable device, and if possible, use a separate device to plug it in rather than the device you work on.
Need help implementing security measures to protect remote workers? Get in touch with us—call (416) 256-9928 for more information.