Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on the world, and on how we conduct business. More people are working from home than ever before, as lockdowns saw huge numbers of companies across the world shift rapidly towards a primarily remote workforce. However, despite the transition, a survey carried out by Restore following the lockdown found that many companies don’t believe they are fully prepared to facilitate long-term home working, whilst only 25% of organisations used video conferencing tools regularly before the crisis. In this guide we’ve put together some tips for managing remote workers, basic IT requirements to ensure your processes run smoothly, a selection of useful collaboration tools and more..
If you would like to view or download the full pdf guide, you can find it here.
While the benefits of remote working are clear for employees, such as their improved ability to work to their own schedule, and to avoid a potentially long and frustrating commute, the advantages for employers are not always discussed. We’ve highlighted some ways in which the move to remote working could be a bonus to your company and its operations.
The option for remote working is certainly seen as an advantage for workers, allowing for an improved work-life balance and added flexibility for parents with childcare responsibilities.
Companies and their customers are more environmentally conscious than ever before. The reduced time spent commuting by your employees can help significantly reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
Many surveys have suggested that remote workers are able to work more efficiently than their office-based counterparts, in part due to working in a quieter environment with fewer distractions.
Office space is one ot the largest fixed costs for most businesses. A more remote workforce with the option for staff to come in once or twice a week, and a hot desking policy could mean greatly reduced costs.
Tips for managers
Managing remote workers is very different to managing office-based teams, and brings its own set of challenges. Whilst there are benefits for the employees as mentioned on the previous page, difficulties for managers can include tracking performances, establising good cohesion between teams and setting defined schedules and tasks. Here are a few things you might consider in order to ensure an effective relationship between yourself and your remote team.
Set a regular time for check-ins
If you start off having meetings on Thursdays at 11am, stick with that routine. That way your staff know they have a dedicated time and place for any questions and will be able to easily join the meetings. Also try and use the same software to keep things simple.
Set clear expectations
Being clear with staff in regards to what you expect from them is a good way to help them stay focussed. This includes their work hours & availability, key tasks & deadlines, meetings they should be attending and their modes of communication whilst away from the office.
Be ready to help when needed
It can be tough to track the needs of your various employees at the best of times. Try to make them aware that they can come to you for support when required, consider setting up a regular time when they can get in touch with any concerns.
Managing your remote team can be made significantly easier by using suitable software for keeping in touch, sharing files and working on complex projects. Scroll further down for a selection of tools which have proved particularly helpful to companies during the lockdown.
In the rush to implement remote working, many companies will have taken shortcuts which could leave their business exposed. Staff may have been left without proper equipment, meaning they are unable to carry out their work to the expected level, and network requirements may not have been addressed. Take a look at the suggestions below to help ensure your IT infrastructure and processes are capable of handling long term, large scale home working.
- It should be confirmed that all employees have access to the technology they require in order to work efficiently from home. This ranges from internet access to hardware, as well as software and a functional workspace.
- Multi factor authentication (MFA) should be established for key systems and information.
- Network capacity should be checked to ensure enough capacity is available to handle continued widespread remote access.
- Access controls should be in place, in order to manage the correct level of access to the systems for each member of staff.
- Measures must be in place for ensuring required business processes are secure, such as payments.
For remote teams, effective collaboration is essential, however in a recent study carried out by Restore, only 25% of organisations used video conferencing tools regularly before the Covid-19 crisis. We’ve put together a list of tools which come highly recommended for team collaboration.
ASANA - Asana is a programme designed to improve team collaboration & work management. It helps teams manage projects and tasks in one tool.
BASECAMP - A project management app for your browser or phone. Provides tools for setting up to-dos, creating / uploading files, and chatting with your colleagues.
GOOGLE MEET - Google’s own video conferencing service, now made free. It allows for secure meetings which are easy to set up and join.
MICROSOFT TEAMS - Another very highly used tool for video conferencing, Teams includes workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration.
SLACK - Essentially a chatroom for your company as a whole, Slack is set up to replace email as your primary method of communication & collaboration.
ZOOM - One of the most popular video conferencing services, you can use it to virtually meet with others, by video, audio-only or both.