The working landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years with an emphasis on the flexibility and cost savings that can be realized by utilizing remote workers.
Employers and their eager employees had been adopting the remote “work from home” model rapidly, and now approximately 70% of employees around the world work remotely at least once a week, with 50% of them working remotely at least half the week.
A big driver of the remote workforce concept has been cloud computing and its mobility-enabling features. No l longer does your customer support line have to be answered on your office phone, VoIP makes it possible to answer your calls from any internet-connected device.
Companies like Apple, Amazon, and U-Haul have remote customer support agents that all work from home. Studies show that this type of working relationship financially benefits both parties.
Employers save up to $11,000 per year on a remote worker and the worker saves approximately $7,000 a year by working from home.
But you don’t have to be a large company to benefit from the productivity increases, cost savings, and morale boost of allowing your workers to work from home either part or full time. Small and medium-sized businesses can also gain the same advantages… if they know how to implement remote working right.
If you’ve wondered how to keep office efficiently at a maximum, while also allowing employees to work from home, read on for tips on how to do it successfully.
Tips for Successfully Implementing a Remote Work Program
It’s a common worry that if you lose some direct oversite of an employee, that they may not be working as hard if they work from home. But statistics actually show the opposite. Two-thirds of employers report increased productivity for their remote workers as compared to in-office workers.
Because there are less distractions, employees working from home tend to get more done during the workday. Cost saving benefits for employers include reducing the office space needed, lower electricity costs and other physical office related costs (furniture, etc.)
But, if you don’t implement a remote working program well, it can quickly go off the rails and leave everyone disappointed. Here are some of the key factors to launching a successful remote work option for your employees.
Implement Team Messaging Tools
If you aren’t already using a team messaging tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams, you’ll want to start. These tools greatly increase collaboration and communication for both in-house and remote employees and many offices find them much more efficient than emailing back and forth.
Team messaging allows for chat, video, and voice connection, which helps your remote workers feel like they’re still “just down the hall” from a co-worker and can assist in avoiding that disconnected feeling that can accompany working from home.
Keep Working Hours & Breaks Consistent
The most successful at home workers keep their hours similar, if not identical, to when they work at the office. This includes the “clock in/clock out” time as well as lunches and breaks.
Not only does this let everyone know that Joe’s at lunch, not goofing off when he doesn’t immediate respond to a message, it helps remote workers with an easier transition that doesn’t blur the lines between home life and work life (i.e. they have a “clock out” time and don’t feel they’re working all the time).
Give Employees the Tools They Need
Some companies issue their remote employees computers and headsets to use at home so they know they’ll have what they need to do their job effectively. Others give them a list of requirements that their own computers should meet.
A good balance between the cost of issuing company computers and having work and personal files mixed together on an employee’s home computer is to use virtual desktops.
Virtual desktops are hosted on a cloud server and can be administered from a central control panel. They allow people to login to their desktop space with all their programs and files from any computer or device. This is especially helpful if your remote workers are part-time at the office and part-time at home.
Create Remote Worker Data Security Policies
With your workforce extended remotely, your data security policies should be too. You don’t want to put your data or network at risk due to lax security on a team member’s home computer.
Here are some of the security tips for remote workers:
- Use a company virtual private network (VPN) to allow for secure logins from anywhere
- Ensure that antivirus and anti-phishing programs are installed on all computers
- Use a centralized cloud system that ensures all files on individual PCs are backed up and accessible from the office
- Make sure remote workers have proper data security training that’s remote work specific
- Use free computer monitoring or a patch management application to ensure all computers (in or outside your office) are being updated regularly
Communicate Expectations Clearly
Don’t just tell an employee they can work from home without giving them clear expectations. This can lead to frustration on both sides.
For example, if you’d like them to message on your team channel whenever they’re away from their computer on a break or lunch, let them know that. The time spent up front putting together a remote worker protocol and training team members on it (both in-office and remote) will reduce confusion and make for a more successful experience.
Keep Your Team Connected with the Right Tools
Need help implementing cloud-based tools that can help you with a remote worker option for your team? Technology Visionaries can help you put team messaging, virtual desktops, or other technologies in place that can free your team to work from anywhere, safety and effectively
Contact us today for a cloud consultation at 732-587-5960 or through our website.