The threat of coronavirus is growing, leading to increasing numbers of employees being told to stay home and work remotely. Not only that, summer is on its way. That is when most businesses have more employees who need time off. For example, they need time for children who are home for the summer or to go on vacation. Are you prepared for your team to work remotely, including providing the tools and security they need to be successful?
When your team works from the office, communication is easy. Working from remote locations, however, means that communication must be deliberate. Do you have tools in place that will allow your team to communicate effectively? Tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams (which is free with Office 365) are specifically designed to increase communication, allowing:
Team video calls. Team members can see each other’s faces and engage in real-time conversation.
Screen sharing. Through screen sharing functions, team members can see exactly what’s going on across each other’s screens. That makes it easy to share data, reports, images, and more.
Conference calls. You may not just want to share information within your team, but also with clients and vendors. Often, clients and vendors who also need to connect from a remote location.
Your team members may need to be able to work together no matter where they are. OneDrive allows real-time file editing and collaboration on documents. This means that every team member will be able to access the latest version of a document. Store files either online or synced to company-owned and secured computers to help protect your data and make it easily accessible to all members of your team. You may want to have procedures in place for working on documents online or storing old copies of documents so that you can refer back to previous versions of reports and contracts if necessary.
Security is even more important when your employees are working from home than it is when they’re working from the office. You may need to pay particular attention to employee security when they work from public networks or personal devices. Consider:
Endpoint protection. Company devices should remain secure and protected, preventing users from mistakenly downloading viruses. You may also want to provide protection on user-owned devices, since users often connect to company networks from these devices when they work remotely.
Email filtering. Email filtering can help prevent users from falling victim to phishing scams or malware that could devastate the company network, causing a wide range of problems.
Persistent security training. Many of the security problems faced by businesses every day are due, not to hackers deliberately infiltrating the system directly, but to user error. Your security protocols are only as effective as your least capable employee. By maintaining regular security training, you can help ensure that all members of your team have the skills and understanding they need to protect themselves and the business.
Staying focused while working from a remote location can prove difficult for many employees, especially those who do not normally work from home. Not only that, many managers and business owners worry that allowing employees to work remotely will lead to a decline in productivity since those employees don’t have someone watching over their shoulder all the time. While working remotely can have a number of advantages, including protecting employees from the potential spread of illnesses in your business and often actually increasing productivity, task management systems can enable you to more effectively monitor employees. You may want to be able to:
- Set deadlines and see progress toward them.
- Assign specific employees to specific tasks.
- Maintain visibility into employee contributions and accomplishments as related to specific projects.
- See what employees are doing each day, within reason.
Preparing your employees to work remotely is a big step–and with coronavirus spreading rapidly, it could be your business’s best defense against contamination throughout your employee base. Not only that, allowing employees to work remotely and providing them with the tools they need to do so can help keep your business moving steadily through the summer months. Need help preparing your business for remote employees? Contact us today to learn more about how we