The shift from fully in-office work to remote working options is occurring across nearly all industries and for businesses of all sizes. Remote working provides a variety of benefits for business owners and employees alike, including a new level of flexibility, a renewed work-life balance, and lower overhead costs.
Whether your business is transitioning fully to remote operations or is adopting a hybrid of in-office and remote work, taking the right steps when setting up your remote work setup is key to success. Here, we’ll discuss the nine most important factors to consider when launching a remote working solution.
1. Inform Team Members of Remote Transition
Being upfront with your team about the company’s switch to remote work is essential to having a successful transition. Understand that not all employees or upper-level management team members will feel the same about the decision but having all the information at their disposal can help eliminate questions. Set a date for the transition and explain remote-work policies, goals, solutions, and parameters clearly. Transparency will help ease the transition and allow employees to adjust accordingly.
2. Establish Remote Work Policies & Procedures
Just as you likely have in-office policies in place, remote working should include specific policies that outline the rules and guidelines for employees who are working remotely. This helps to establish expectations and set up employees for success. Typically, remote working policies include:
- Working hours and how employees will track their progress and productivity
- Preferred method of communications between team members
- Protocols for using and accessing cloud applications and remote work solutions
- How projects, communications, file sharing, and meetings will be managed
- How time off such as sick time, vacations, and daily breaks will be monitored, if at all
- Tips on privacy, security, and backing up work
Workplace policies for remote work will vary for each business, but should be extremely in-depth and easily accessible for employees.
3. Choose Remote Work Solutions
There are many excellent cloud-based solutions available to help businesses thrive in the remote workspace. Solutions such as Microsoft Office 365, Zoom, Slack, and more offer essential tools and functions for businesses to communicate, collaborate, and connect online as easily as they could in person. Some of the different types of solutions available include:
- Project Management Software (Trello, Asana, Basecamp)
- Cloud Storage (Google Drive, Dropbox)
- Communication Tools (Zoom, Slack, Skype, Teams)
- HR Software
- VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Finding the solution or combination of solutions that is right for your team is key to running a successful remote business.
4. Set Communication Preferences & Protocols
Before going remote, be sure that all employees are aware of the business’s expectations regarding communications and check-ins. How are employees supposed to communicate during the day? What is the preferred method of communication for managers? Will emails, chats, video calls, or phone calls be the standard? Answering these questions will be important in guiding employees appropriately. In addition to how your staff should communicate, create guidelines for things such as response times and frequency.
5. Determine Workspace Equipment & Setup
Most IT experts will tell you that providing the equipment and software on which your employees will do their job is a key part of having a secure and safe working experience. This is because remote work opens up many opportunities for cybercriminals to access your business’s systems. So, by providing and monitoring the equipment your employees will use, you retain much needed control on the cybersecurity of your team. However, not all businesses choose to do so. Establish with your team whether or not the company will be providing workspace equipment, cell phones, tablets, and more.
6. Establish Onboarding Processes
Whether your existing employees are shifting from in-office to remote or you are hiring new remote employees, you’ll need to have an established onboarding process to help employees learn the remote tools in use, understand expectations, and have the opportunity to ask questions. The onboarding process is the best time to go over remote work policies and procedures.
7. Establish Support Line For Managers & Employees
Remote work can make managing teams more difficult. Be sure to provide managers and employees clear lines of communications for support, resources, and training. By having an established support system, your team members are more likely to succeed while working remotely.
8. Focus on Remote Team Building
One of the biggest criticisms of remote work is that the experience can be isolating. That’s why it’s so important for businesses to establish and prioritize remote team building activities. From online happy hours to online group chats, anything your business can do to help strengthen and support your team will be helpful.
9. Find an Experienced IT Provider
Remote work poses a variety of unique challenges for businesses. From how to track employees’ activity to how to secure business files and systems, there are many technical concerns that business owners may have when it comes to going remote. The best way to address these concerns is with the support of an experienced IT firm.
As experts in IT security, solutions, and infrastructure, IS&T has helped businesses of all sizes manage their shift to remote work. Our team is dedicated to helping businesses streamline the transition while ensuring productivity, efficiency, and security. Whether you need assistance determining what remote work solutions are right for your business or need help managing your existing remote work setup, contact us today to see how IS&T’s expertise can help your business succeed while working remotely.