When the pandemic first hit the United States, no one really expected that their ability to work remotely would continue into the future. What was formerly an emergency measure has become part of a new work model that involves becoming a fully remote workforce or a hybrid one. Companies have found that remote work has several benefits including reductions in absenteeism, increases in productivity, less work related stress, and better morale. Here are some surprising statistics about the current state of remote work from Zippia Research.
For many job applicants, the ability to work remotely is a deal breaker. With this new information, businesses must find ways to set up an effective remote workforce. There are many factors that go into setting up a fully remote workforce. This week we will be discussing five tips on setting up a remote workforce.
Provide the right devices and software for your remote workforce.
Employees that work off-site should have access to company owned laptops and phones. When you provide employees with company-owned equipment, it will automatically meet the company’s specifications and will ensure that proper security measures are in place.
Many remote workers need to use the company network to access files and transfer data. If that network becomes compromised because of an unsecured device, then the whole company can be at risk of suffering a major data breach. Employees should also be made aware of the security issues of leaked data if their company device is lost or stolen.
Provide access to the correct applications for remote work.
Teams that rely on communication need the correct tools to do so. Having reliable and quick communication will help with productivity and lead to uninterrupted workflows. We install Microsoft products for our clients and use them ourselves. Remote workers should have access to the following productivity applications:
Chat – Applications that allow employees to send instant messages to each other. Chat can be quicker than email and can be used to keep everyone on the same page. We use the chat function of Microsoft Teams for this.
Video conferencing – Having the ability to make a quality video call is a must for all remote workers. Video calling and conferencing allows employees to have virtual meetings, share links, record meetings, and present remotely. Microsoft Teams is an excellent choice for remote video conferencing. It can do all of the capabilities listed above and can also be synced with all of your other Microsoft Applications.
Cloud storage – Cloud technology allows employees to share data through a secure platform. Besides allowing the employee to share sensitive information like client details and financial documents, Cloud storage also gives the user backup in case the data is stolen, hacked, or damaged in some way. Microsoft OneDrive is our Cloud storage application of choice.
Email – There are many options for email platforms for remote Teams. Company controlled accounts allow employees to securely send and receive emails. We recommend Microsoft Outlook, which is an easy to use and affordable platform.
Cloud hosted phone systems – Cloud hosted phone systems are managed over the internet. They allow your employees to take calls anywhere because there is no need to physically connect to a landline. There is also no need for the employee to give out their private number because they can receive and make calls with a specialized business number on their mobile phones. Cloud hosted phone systems also allow the user to receive SMS alerts and instant messages. You can read more about Tekscape’s cloud hosted phone systems here.
Dedicate enough time for onboarding remote employees.
Many Human Resources managers agree that onboarding remote employees is a different ballgame. The process can be slower than the traditional hiring process because HR must get a “virtual sense” of the potential employee’s skills and experience. They must also explain the processes, policies, and expectations of the position without meeting the candidate in person. Here are some quick tips for onboarding a remote employee.
Interviewing candidates for a remote position – Always assess the candidate’s comfort level within a remote work environment. Be very transparent about your remote work policies and how day-to-day operations will work. If the candidate has prior remote work experience, a good question to ask is what challenges they have faced or what type of support they will need.
Provide the candidate with a list of essentials they will need to work remotely – If you are not providing company owned devices, here are some things to include regarding what equipment is required for remote work.
• Secure PC or laptop
• A quality microphone, webcam, and speakers
• A high speed and secure internet connection
• Dual monitors
Make sure the employee has read and signed your company’s remote work policy – You can read more about creating a remote work policy here, but it should absolutely include expectations in regard to security and other important policies.
Establish security measures for remote work.
To have the best security measures for remote work, you should provide your employees with the ability to use a Virtual Private Network or VPN. The usage of a VPN will allow a worker to encrypt, send, and protect sensitive data. Before using a VPN, the company must evaluate whether they have the bandwidth to support additional traffic. This is especially important when you have a particularly large remote workforce. Other remote work security measures should include multi factor authentication, strong password creation, usage of antivirus software, secured home WiFi, and regular cybersecurity awareness assessments.
Give remote employees access to reliable tech support.
Not having quick access to reliable and responsive tech support can be a work productivity killer. The PCs and laptops of employees should be configured so that your internal information technology department can access the machines through a remote desktop connection. If your business does not have internal IT staff, it is a good idea to work with a managed IT service provider like Tekscape. We make it easy to troubleshoot and solve IT related issues 24/7.
Tekscape is a nationally based managed IT service provider. Our main office is located in New York, but we serve clients all over the United States. We work with four major industries including manufacturing, finance, legal, and education. Besides offering collaboration tools to build a remote workforce, we also offer managed cybersecurity, networks, cloud computing, server migrations, security awareness training, and cyber insurance. If you need more tips on setting up a remote workforce, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.