Eventually, the COVID-19 pandemic will subside, and business operations will begin to look a little more normal. But not everyone will be returning to the office.
Most (74%) of CFOs expect to keep at least 5% of employees who were previously on-site in remote positions, Gartner survey found last month.
Almost a quarter expected to move at least 20%.
Clearly now we have a mandate to work from home if possible, but when everything opens up again, what’s the new upside employers are finding from working from home? Plenty – if your business has the structure to do it well.
Working from Home – Done Well
For businesses looking to cut costs – especially in the face of a declining economy – working from home can reduce costs in on-premise technology and real estate. But the key to working from home successfully is the technology to enable top performers to keep performing at their best.
For many who were thrust into home offices with little to no warning at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, working from home might actually mean balancing a laptop on the kitchen table and fighting a lethargic internet connection. Hardware can be an instant game-changer if your business can get equipment to employees, in particular:
- A monitor to provide a partner screener
- Keyboard and mouse
Next, there is software and applications to ramp up:
- Adapt your applications into web apps to enable employees to work from anywhere, on any device. In the immediate, that’s valuable as professionals juggle personal commitments (like unruly, quarantined kids) and the added flexibility will help them stay productive. In the longer term, this connects employees who travel frequently and enables better flexibility overall.
- Update your network. How are employees connecting to your network? And where is it? Ensuring easy connectively is vital – but without compromising security.
- Shift key systems to the cloud. Capacity is another consideration, as the system is strained by a surge in remote work. But moving at least vital systems to the cloud can help mitigate capacity issues. For example, Stats NZ chief digital offer Chris Buxton told CIO they organization got a head start prepping for the situation today when they had to make decisions after the November 2016 earthquake. The key: ensuring staff weren’t location-dependent, and could “work anywhere at all, in any way.”
- Transition watercooler chats to virtual chat. In the office, a casual coffee break conversation can not only help spur good ideas but cultivate a better sense of connectedness. Virtually, businesses should provide online channels for this communication – it’s perfectly fine to have a Slack channel dedicated to GIFs.
Then, there’s the employee experience to consider.
Despite all the stereotypes about remote workers sitting around in their pajamas and doing laundry, a 2019 Airtasker survey found remote workers were actually more likely than officer workers to remote feeling overly stressed at work, and they struggling more with maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
To combat these challenges, leaders should encourage employees to:
- Take breaks
- Establish core working hours
- Stay organized with a planner or calendar
- Stay connected to co-workers
IT Talent: Support from the experts
From a technology standpoint, offering responsive IT support can help alleviate the stress and frustration that stems from technology issues in a remote office.
In addition to good customer service, your IT team can proactively train users on the software and tools that can enable a better working experience. For example, businesses who are culturally used to physical collaboration may benefit from learning how to adapt to the digital collaboration.
Is your security ready for a dispersed team? Implementing a VPN, establishing secure sign-on, and ensuring your staff stays sharp on security best practices are all essential things, even if some of your staff’s closest colleagues at home are of the furry, four-legged variety.
Effective software and solutions for remote work
Effective technology can transform an employee’s experience and productivity. Consider these 4 areas that can change the game:
- Cloud computing enables your business to add or remove services when you need to, and employees can easily access and collaborate.
- Enterprise apps for communication, project management, and more can help improve organization.
- Mobile deserves a separate mention, as apps and tools should be mobile-enabled. Mobile devices can also support security solutions.
- Integrated communication. Simplify virtual communication and allow employees to collaborate and communicate easily. Tools like Google Suite, Slack, and Skype help facilitate easy collaboration.
Do you have top IT talent ready to help your business thrive from home?
Whether you’re looking to augment existing staff or still reeling from the sudden disruption to business and not sure how to start, TechGenies is here to help. Our Genies are seasoned remote workers, often supporting global companies from our offices, and with a wealth of technology expertise, we can help you build a technology solution to help you manage through the crisis and excel afterward in a changing business landscape. Contact us today at info@techgenies to tell us more about how we can help your business.