Coronavirus: Implementing Long Term Remote Working
It's become the new norm for lots of us
There’s no denying that the Coronavirus has resulted in unprecedented changes to the way we work. Similar to how the Second World War revolutionised the workplace by empowering women, Coronavirus could cause a permanent shift towards working from home. To curb the spread of the virus, governments across the world have imposed self-isolation rules, including Singapore forcing businesses to allow staff to work from home or face penalties. Leading tech companies like Google and Microsoft have rolled out free tools to help home workers during this pandemic and hope usage will carry on when the world returns to normal.
Many businesses are doing what they can to cope, with many restaurants remaining shut to the public and delivery services like Deliveroo introducing contact-free delivery. With so many other businesses being forced to embrace the change, it’s important to do it right. It isn’t clear how long mandatory remote working will last for, so perfecting it from the get-go will make your operations run efficiently, minimising risk of loss or unproductivity. For example, being out of office can be difficult for companies that don’t have the infrastructure in place to keep on top of things — investing in online invoice software is effective in keeping on top of cash flow and collaborating with users on your books during chaos, so you must be aware of the options and advice you can take to facilitate this change.
Here, we will discuss how to stop Covid-19 interrupting your business operations, and how to implement remote working more effectively.
Inspiring and motivating your staff
Firstly, and most importantly, your staff must be inspired and motivated to work from home to make an effective transition. Communication, trust, and results are key during this time. Up your team morale and add video calls into your day for a ten-minute chat for people who want a break and can join and leave the call as they please. With you and your colleagues being physically separated, encourage workers to share what they’re up to and their achievements to keep a positive dynamic and sense of teamwork among everyone.
Secondly, make your office hours clear and avoid contacting workers outside this time — allow them to switch off so they feel comfortable turning off their laptop and stepping away for the evening.
Thirdly, encourage your workers to establish their workspace in their home. Although it might be hard for some to maintain a routine when stuck in the same four walls, it’s important to separate home life from work life. Encourage them to get up out of bed, get dressed, and sit at a desk where possible. Discourage working from bed and focus on adapting to a new work environment. If workers don’t have a laptop or computer, make sure you can provide the necessary equipment for them to work at home seamlessly.
Invest in web tools
As mentioned, tech companies are releasing free collaborative virtual workspaces to facilitate remote working. Migrate your communication to these workspaces, making sure everyone’s needs are met and everyone’s voice is heard. It’s crucial not to underestimate the importance of communication — it’s more important than ever and is a true test of which employees are prepared to go the extra mile and make remote working effective. Teamwork and reliability are paramount, so maintaining a high level of rapport will keep everyone up to date with operations in the business. Here are the best tools:
• Microsoft Teams
A one-stop shop for all communication, providing instant messaging, the ability to book meetings and appointments into the calendar, and allowing users to conduct voice and video calls with large groups of people. Microsoft Teams is extremely easy to use and allows you to store files and share documents easily.
Managing projects and communication is integrated into this cloud service, allowing you to create and assign tasks to workers, with deadlines and tags. Asana shows clearly who is responsible for each task, so it should be easy to see who’s working and doing the tasks they should be.
We know that email threads can be annoying to navigate — you’re sure you received an email on that urgent task, but where is it? Staying on top of your tasks is simple with Trello’s card system which allows you to create lists and stay organised, prioritising and categorising tasks and updating their progress.
Keep your network secure
Network security is crucial to protect not only your own sensitive data but client and customer information. With working remotely, your data will need to be uploaded to the cloud for employees to access. There’s a range of cloud services with intensive security features to keep everything safe — IDrive is a great cloud storage service offering encryption and preventing unauthorised access. Plus, files that are deleted from a computer remain on the server, so backups of files are saved.
Change important passwords regularly to random combinations of letters and symbols, with each password different for each site and application. Encrypt email access too so communicating between colleagues can’t be compromised.
Hopefully you already keep on top of this, but if not, it’s important that you keep your antivirus settings updated to protect against malware. Enforce your staff to protect their devices, as once one device is corrupted, a business’ entire system can be breached.
It’s important to keep yours and your clients’ data safe as times like these are when opportunistic cyber criminals take advantage of crises. Not only could this damage your businesses reputation, you could be faced with financial loss, fines, and theft. Stay safe and stay smart.
Remote working has revolutionised the working world. Would you prefer to have the option to work from home when the pandemic is no longer a threat?