News

How to prepare your business for long-term remote working

Author

Prodec

Date

13 Oct, 2020

Category

Blog

While many businesses may initially have switched to remote working as a short-term, emergency solution, at the outset of lockdown, it is now becoming increasingly clear that a more agile way of working is here to stay. So, we look at how you can best prepare your business for long-term remote working, to not just ride the current coronavirus storm but remain buoyant and resilient in future.

Navigating your business through these turbulent times is undeniably tough, but forward-thinking companies are now seeing a certain silver lining in the shape of working remotely and the advantages it can offer their organisations in the long term. Such potential benefits include big cost savings from a reduced need to rent expensive office space, for fewer on-site staff, plus lower overheads for the likes of lighting and heating. And the cherry on the cake? Well, recent research also suggests that workforce productivity could in fact improve. So, in the long-term post-pandemic working world, there is likely to be a substantial shift to a more hybrid work environment. In fact, a study of just under 1,000 firms by the Institute of Directors (IoD) found that 74% planned to make homeworking a permanent fixture, and, according to Mark Zuckerberg, half of Facebook’s employees may work from home by 2030. Likewise, another survey by the Times also found that three-quarters of Britain’s biggest employers are now looking at a permanent shift to flexible working.

So, what simple steps can you take to ensure you stay ahead of the trend and make your business a strong remote working success?

  1. Strengthen communication

While good communication has always been key to effective teamwork and collaboration within a business, and in creating strong relationships with customers, it has never been more important than now. With employees more widely distributed than ever before, it is vital that you put in place the right business collaboration tools and procedures to ensure strong and consistent communication is maintained. The issue of how to make sure that customers can continue to contact you with ease, wherever your employees are based, is one that many businesses have faced in recent months. However, thankfully, there are straightforward ways to overcome this obstacle. Cloud-based contact centre solutions, such as those offered by Prodec’s partners, Avaya and RingCentral ensure that you can provide a high-quality customer service experience, wherever your employees are located, and deliver seamless business continuity. The future of your customer service is therefore safe with the right tools in place.

Likewise, it is vital to ensure that you keep the communication channels open within your company to enable good collaboration. Although teams may be geographically divided, it is important to unite them virtually. So, something as simple as scheduling a short daily team conference call can keep innovation and creativity alive. Inevitably, to empower employees to do their best work and keep in touch, it is essential to provide them with the right devices for remote work, such as reliable laptops, headsets, that keep them focused on calls, and mobile phones. However, crucially, you will also need to provide access to the necessary communication and collaboration tools for voice calls, team messaging, meetings, video conferencing, file sharing and more to take place.

  1. Strengthen security

Of course, having the best collaboration tools in place may be essential, but this will count for nothing if they are left open for cyberattacks, which could bring your business to its knees. With so many more employees now working remotely, it is the ideal opportunity for unscrupulous cybercriminals to take advantage of the situation with cyber threats, such as ransomware. Indeed, a new study has found that 91% of executives surveyed believed that working from home has led to a rise in attacks. In fact, the range of threats that can undermine all your hard work and jeopardise your business is alarming, and these do seem to have stepped up a notch in the current climate. For example, another report earlier this year, also found that the coronavirus crisis had increased the number of phishing attacks by 667%. However, straightforward measures, such as using a virtual private network (VPN), can ensure secure remote access for all your employees. Although you may think that you have covered all the cybersecurity bases before, with the move to more widespread remote working, it would be wise to have a thorough IT security review conducted, such as that provided by Prodec. This will generate a comprehensive report to reveal any vulnerabilities in your security, which can then be immediately tackled. In addition, as email is the leading attack vector for security breaches, you might also want to consider providing employee awareness training, so your workers can spot new scams and become your front-line army against email-borne cyberattacks.

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  1. Strengthen morale

To ensure your business is a strong remote working success in the long term, it is imperative that you have robust procedures in place to support your employees and enable them to work well remotely. Isolation and low morale can easily creep in if individuals are neglected, so, if you want to get the best from your workers, frequent feedback between managers and team members is vital to keep motivation levels high. Gone are the days when you could just lean across someone’s desk for a quick catch-up, or iron out any glitches with an impromptu chat at the coffee machine. Therefore, actively scheduling in regular conversations really is a must to ensure each team member receives the guidance they need and knows exactly what is required, as well as providing the chance to deal with any issues promptly. Such sessions are perhaps best conducted as video-enabled online meetings, as connecting on a human level, where you can see the other person’s face, can help to maximise engagement. In this way, progress can be closely monitored and there is less need to depend on employee monitoring technology to check on workers, which can be detrimental to morale and put a strain on the trust that is vital for good teamwork. In fact, maintaining good communication and boosting morale can help build a strong remote team culture, increase productivity and ensure long-term remote working success.

 

Prodec Networks has a team of hybrid technology experts dedicated to helping your business with its most immediate needs and challenges, from enabling secure remote working to providing additional capacity where you need it most.

Our team of IT experts can also support you with your longer-term planning to help prepare your business to be more adaptable, resilient and successful in the changed world. To discuss your requirements or to learn more about how Prodec can help your business, contact us today.

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