‘Covid-19’ has accelerated the transition toward remote working, which is here to stay for a long time. While working from home brings significant advantages for small businesses, remote teams can encounter communication difficulties or have team members log into the business’s cloud server with an unsecured device.
Businesses must rely on practical techniques to manage their remote employees to ensure they meet their work-from-home schedules and use a single device to log in. You can immediately implement these five best practices to maintain a healthy and secure remote workplace.
Establishing a plan for effective communication across the board
Back when things were strictly on-site, if an employee felt stuck at work, they would simply walk to a colleague’s desk and ask them a question. However, that’s no longer an option for those who work remotely for several reasons, most commonly the difference in time zones. Therefore, it’s clear that communication is the top challenge that any business would face with a remote workforce.
Your team managers need to strengthen the communication by specifying the default communication channel. They also need to set regular meeting schedules with the remote members where they would discuss essential projects and keep everyone on the same page.
Additionally, your managers should not focus their communication strategy solely on work; this makes your remote employees unsatisfied. Try to design non-work-related activities like virtual games, viewing parties, or shared lunches to engage the remote staff and nurture team spirit.
Providing the necessary social support
Offices are known for their informal social interactions, but in remote workplaces, employees can start feeling lonely. You must address this problem by developing a work environment encouraging social connections for remote staff. Here are some ideas you can consider:
- Create a dedicated chat room where everyone can talk about anything that goes about their daily routine. This could include things about kids, pets, or hobbies.
- Host competitions that use photos as a mode of participation. This could include remote work bingo or a desk photo contest.
- Use the first few minutes of your meetings as an ice breaker instead of jumping straight to the agenda. This allows employees to attend the meetings with clear minds.
- Try to celebrate successes and well-done jobs in chat channels. Appreciation boosts employee morale, and you should instruct your team managers to do it often.
Investing in the right technology tools that promote productivity
Since technology makes a remote workplace, you need to provide your employees with the right set of tools that encourage productivity and simplify workflow. Here are some tools you can provide:
- Mobile hotspots
- Team Chat Apps like Microsoft Teams
- Cloud storage like Onedrive
- Online Office Suites like Office 365
- Security Apps like VPNs
Clarifying all expectations from remote employees
From their first day as members of your remote teams, you must communicate exactly what you expect from them. Ensure there are no uncertainties in the expectations because even if you hire the most brainiac staff, they still can’t read minds. You should clarify some expectations like communication frequency, working hours, individual targets, team goals, or work outcomes.
You should also set reasonable goals for every member to work toward; this maintains the structure and keeps your remote employees on track. After understanding what your business expects from them, your remote employees can start prioritizing work, avoiding getting sidetracked while focusing on completing assigned tasks.
Deploying an effective security strategy
Data security is the biggest concern when it comes to remote working. You should educate your staff regarding the risks associated with using unprotected devices with your business’s cloud resources. Regardless of your business’s size, you should not take data security lightly. Therefore, you should consider these options to build a security strategy:
- Introduce a cybersecurity solution
You should direct your team managers to ensure all data going in and out of the cloud resources is secure. All remote employees should sign your business’s cybersecurity policy. You can also adopt the Zero Trust Framework, which does not trust anyone and verifies everyone. Continuous authentication and authorization will limit the privileges assigned to the employees. However, the management must enforce compliance, and the IT team must know how to implement Zero Trust for your cloud resources.
- Keep all connections to the internet secure
Your team managers should also direct the employees to secure their internet connection. If your business has provided them with a VPN service, then the remote employees should use it to keep their Wi-Fi connection secure from any possibility of cyberattacks. A VPN keeps the user anonymous over the internet by tunneling their internet traffic through a secure server. A security application and cybersecurity policy will also help keep your cloud resources safe.
You can also educate your employees regarding the importance of using a strong password for their user accounts. They should not use the same password to access multiple accounts. Therefore, you should direct them to a password manager that safely stores their passwords. This way, they can carry on their tasks without remembering different passwords.
These best practices can significantly improve your chances of handling a remote workforce. However, cyberattacks are also rising, and you must take active steps to keep your business secure. Therefore, the most crucial element in implementing a Zero Trust approach is to allow access only to the required resources. This will help you secure your sensitive data, cloud resources, and employee personal information from cyberattacks.