A Guide to Working Remotely Now and Well Into the Future
Coronavirus Has Pushed Many Businesses to Embrace a Remote Workforce – But This Trend Has Been Around for a While and Offers Significant Advantages Right Now – And in the Future.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic. Life as we know it has changed incredibly over a few weeks. Businesses are closed, schools are closed, daycares are closed, and many cities are starting to enforce curfews, social distancing, and shelter-in-place orders. For many, work has changed too. There are TONS of people who are waking up, going into their home office, and starting the day from the comfort of their home.
Although a lot of the news is negative right now, there’s one silver lining… Remote work is getting the attention many businesses, including our team, have known it deserves for quite some time. What do we mean? Well, remote work delivers a range of benefits that are often overlooked. But best of all, remote work is a phenomenal contingency plan in the event of an interruption, such as a pandemic, natural disaster or other situation.
Recent studies from some of the world’s leading research institutions have shown the following benefits about remote work:
- Productivity is greater by an average of 35-40% for employees that work from home rather than the office.
- Employee retention is improved because 54% of employees would change their jobs for a more flexible opportunity.
- Profitability is increased with businesses saving approximately $11,000 per year, per part-time remote employee.
- Employee engagement is strengthened as employees have an absent rate of 41% lower than those working in the office.
So how do you create a remote work strategy that works now and well into the future? Here are our recommendations…
Step 1: Make Sure Employees Have the Right Technology Foundation in Place
Once you’ve decided which employees can work from home, make sure they have the technology foundation they need to stay productive without any hiccups. This should include:
- Reliable, up-to-date devices, including a desktop or laptop, smartphone, and tablet.
- Any necessary accessories, including head-sets and high-quality webcams, if they’re not already built-in.
- A stable internet connection with enough bandwidth to support workloads and applications.
You may want to invest in the following technologies to make their home workspace even more efficient:
- A VoIP business phone that gives them the ability to access their work line from home via their smartphone with enterprise-grade features.
- A virtual private network (VPN) that ensures they’re accessing the network via a secure, encrypted tunnel that minimizes the risk of unauthorized access.
Step 2: Invest in the Right Collaboration Tools and Cloud-Based Applications
Collaboration tools will be necessary to give your team the ability to work together, share files, and edit documents in real-time. Microsoft Teams, for instance, is an excellent choice for the following reasons:
- Employees can share, access, and edit documents in real-time.
- Employees can video conference or group chat with one another.
- Employees can protect sensitive information with advanced security controls.
- Employees can communicate via instant messaging, chat, and more.
Microsoft Teams is available within any Microsoft Office 365 plan – meaning it’s also integrated with the other applications your team knows and loves:
- And more
Next, don’t forget to invest in any cloud-based applications you will need to work productively, such as CRM systems, ERP systems, and accounting programs that will need to be accessed from home.
Step 3: Don’t Forget to Ensure Remote Technology Support is Available
Lastly, your team will also need assistance from time to time in the form of remote technical support. Discovery IT, for instance, can assist without ever entering the homes of your team members. We’re able to handle the following remotely:
- And much more