Back in the day, working remotely was seen as a mere excuse to get away from work. But things have changed a lot since then. Today, we are in the midst of a flexible workplace revolution. With the sharp technological and culture shift over the last couple of decades, remote work has become a valuable productivity trend rather than just an employee trend — one that continues to rise steadily.
The new norm?
According to a report, with the benefits that staff enjoy from remote work, it seems that more businesses support this type of work structure. In fact, it is predicted that by 2020, 30% of the workforce will either be freelance, outsourced, or off-premises staff. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of remote working.
- No more commute
The most obvious reason for remote working is the opportunity to work from anywhere. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find an employee who enjoys their daily trek to the office. By being able to work in the comfort of their own chosen venue, they don’t have to suffer a lengthy commute, squeeze into a train car or smooshed in a bus, or be jostled on a crowded street. Who wouldn't enjoy the time savings and exult in the drastic reduction of stress? It's therefore no wonder that remote work policies reduce attrition in the workforce.
- Increased productivity
With a more relaxed environment, fewer distractions and interruptions, workers are less stressed and can turn over tasks faster.
- More economical
A remote work policy doesn’t just save on commuting costs but reduces business overheads as well. With fewer people in the workplace, costs on lease, heating, cooling, lighting, etc. will be greatly reduced. Because of remote work capabilities, some companies are using virtual office arrangements instead of office rentals.
- Enables mobility and collaboration with far-flung team members
Remote work allows employees to simply report from where they are. Whether they’re in transit, or in a coffee shop, they can collaborate with people from all over the world.
Managing and securing your remote workforce
The following can help you align processes to create a successful remote work culture in your business:
Set clear expectations – Since some of your staff won’t be working in close proximity to your team, it’s best to keep the lines clear when it comes to your expectations of your employees and vice versa. For instance, what’s the protocol for lunch breaks? Can they start or finish earlier? What means of communication do you allow aside from official company tools?
Make sure they are fully aware of these things and that you make it a part of their contract. Be transparent to the whole team. This can be done by meeting regularly. Whether you’re using messaging apps like Slack or Skype, it’s always a good idea to check in.
Enforce cybersecurity – Here’s a checklist of how you can ensure that your communications and data are secure.
- ☐ Have a cybersecurity travel policy in place
☐ Train your employees to avoid using free Wi-Fi hotspots and educate them on basic cybersecurity best practices
☐ Make sure your remote workers use a virtual private network (VPN) when using Wi-Fi
☐ Use multifactor authentication (MFA) when accessing and using company apps, resources, and data
☐ Use endpoint security. This refers to local resources such as software, applications, and operating systems used by your employees
Document regular processes – It becomes more necessary to implement documentation when dealing with remote workers. Update your company policies to provide guidance along the way.
Use project management tools – Using a centralized project management tool like Asana or Trello helps streamline tasks and assignments. Besides helping you assign tasks, these cloud-based tools also enable you to set deadlines, send reminders, and provide project progress reports as well.
Share documents using secure web applications – Instead of sending documents back and forth, share documents online. It is more efficient and safer, as documents can be stored in the cloud and you can even receive and send feedback in real time.
Enabling staff to render work remotely has many benefits, but embracing it doesn’t mean you won’t face challenges. Like any business process, certain rules and regulations should be put in place to help your remote work policy run smoothly. To have a better chance at keeping your remote workers safe, successful, and in sync, start by partnering with Athens Micro, a trusted managed security service provider. Call us today to learn more about you can build and implement a remote work policy that makes perfect sense for your business.
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