may-23.3

Working Remotely – The New Norm?

Simple Work LinkedIn (1)

The uncertainty in the world today has caused many to feel overwhelmed and forced many businesses to learn a new way of working. Working from home or remotely used to be for salespeople and others on the go but has quickly become common as not only companies but their suppliers and clients have also been compelled to close their offices. Even as the phases to reopen our economy begin, many are worried about returning to what was normal. Now is the time to look at the possibilities working remotely may offer.

Enabling and optimizing a remote working option for your staff can be done with relative ease, as many have already discovered. What started as a necessity may become the norm with some simple steps. In this article, we have outlined four key actions a company can take to ensure continued productivity and profitability with remote staff.

Communication

In the office, it is easy for us to get up from our desk and ask a co-worker a question or get together to discuss a project. Even those in the corner office with windows will poke their head out once and a while to see what is happening. When working remotely, you could continue to use your email but that tends to get cumbersome when it is just a simple question or clarification is needed. Not everything can be translated in text and sometimes you need that face to face interaction.

With social distancing a reality, staying connected to your team in real-time is needed.

Choose a platform that will allow chat and video options. The chat will allow you to converse back and forth much like texting, while the video interface will give you the chance to view body language, share screens, and much more. Microsoft Teams is an excellent platform that allows you to chat, video, share files, and work collaboratively.

Have a daily check-in that is face-to-face with the entire team or individually. This can be a late day quick 15-minute catch up on what happened during the day or meet first thing in the morning to discuss the day’s events. Or maybe your team might like to have lunch together and share their project news.

Completing Tasks and Creating Accountability

Each person has a preferred method of setting and achieving goals. Some like to be able to check items off a to-do list. Others like to see their tasks laid out in a calendar view. There are those that use sticky notes to remind them of what they need to accomplish. However your team likes to organize their work, let them. There is no right or wrong way of creating a system that works for each individual. With so many options out there for organizational software, do a little research and find the option that works best for your team. One you will definitely want to have a look at is Planner in Microsoft 365.

Not only will this solution allow staff to create their own way of organizing their workload, but it will allow the team lead to know who is working on what and what the status is on that particular project.

Focus Less on Activity and More on Outcomes

That statement may have managers shaking their heads in utter amazement! Focussing on what your team is working on rather than how much time your team is working will not only let your staff know you trust them but it will bring you peace of mind. Set everyone up for success by relaying the expectations right from the start. If a project or task needs to be completed with high priority, let everyone know how important it is. If this is a new concept for you, ease into it. Try to adjust your thinking from hours worked to the outcome achieved. This may take fine-tuning and some direction but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Focus Less on Activity and More on Outcomes

Most companies will not have the resources to just go out and buy everyone company laptops or desktops. Many employees will be using their own personal devices to perform their work. Employees could be exposing the company data to greater risk this way and security must be top of mind when it comes to remote workers. Securing devices with a strong password and updating the firmware or software to the latest versions, often this includes security, are simple steps to take. Don’t rely on the in-app security to completely protect your data. A layered approach is the best.

Establish who needs access to the organization’s internal network or who can access files through cloud-based services. Limiting who has access to sensitive data is essential to protecting your business. If you have a robust security protocol in the office, this should be maintained for all remote workers. If the office does not follow any type of cybersecurity plan, now is the time to invest in these solutions.

Last but certainly not least, be flexible. Many businesses were not prepared to tackle the current environment. Your team has a lot going on. Some may have kids at home. Some may be worried about elderly parents. Some may be feeling less than productive. Punching the clock for an eight hour day may not be possible but that doesn’t mean that productivity will decline. Trust your team and grant them the flexibility needed to get the work done.

The world’s new normal may look different than what we have known up to this point.

Get the most from your IT

As service providers to more than 300 companies, the dedicated professionals at MicroAge are second to none when it comes to managed services. By improving efficiency, cutting costs and reducing downtime, we can help you achieve your business goals!