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?
- 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.
- 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.