A huge percentage of the business community has been thrust into remote work. What originally seemed like a struggle, has evolved into an opportunity to conduct business more efficiently. 65% of businesses found that remote work policies aided in reducing capital and operating expenses, largely in rent, energy costs, and transit subsidies.
This has not come at the expense of productivity or collaboration. Global Workplace Analytics found that remote workers are an average of 35 – 40% more productive than their office counterparts. Post-COVID-19, employees may prefer to stay at least partly remote. 59% prefer to work remotely as much as possible. Considering COVID-19’s uncertain timeline, as well as employees’ evolving needs and preferences for flexibility, your business should be prepared for remote work at any time.
Making your business remote-ready
- Adopt an agile mindset. Collaboration will understandably shift under remote conditions. Divide large projects into approachable, 2-week projects and frame your communication and deliverables around those segments.
- Invest in cybersecurity. Privacy and safety will always be priorities related to proprietary and client data. The first step is to enhance your VPN, or virtual private network, for your team to share encrypted data on. Consult cybersecurity experts for additional steps on protecting your team, client data, and brand from hackers.
- Move to the cloud. Cloud-hosted applications, rather than physical hardware, are necessities for remote readiness. Developers can advise on storage and capabilities, as well as support with migrating existing software and functionality to the cloud.
- Have a long-term vision for your IT. Experts can analyze your IT infrastructure and identify gaps in access and the rapid deployment of emerging technologies.
Getting your team remote-ready
- Train your team on the importance of security while working remotely. 36% of organizations have experienced a security break directly linked to an unsecured, remote worker. Employees do not always understand the security levels of work- as opposed to personal-devices and software; educating them will reduce risk for a breach.
- Set them up for success. While it is true that remote employees are generally more productive, you cannot assume that your team’s homes are equipped for efficiency. Consider reimbursing home-office expenses, from boosted internet bandwidth to ergonomic chairs.
- Ensure you are within compliance. There are complicated labor, tax and immigration laws related to where your team works. In addition, most organizations have a legal obligation to ensure their IT structure and team are equipped to protect that data, within security laws, regulations, and NDAs.
- Listen to your team. Newly remote workers experience workplace isolation which “can disrupt performance by up to 21%.” Trust that they are being productive, but take time to engage them on a daily or weekly basis.
The business world is constantly evolving, and remote readiness is no different. Once you have these foundations setup, consistently revisit them to make sure they, and you, are adapting with regard to emerging technologies, boosted cybersecurity, and employee preferences. No one is certain of the timeline related to COVID-19, though one thing is sure: widespread remote work will last longer than the current stay-at-home orders. Make sure you and your team are ready.
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