Getting the Best From Your Remote Employees
The global Covid-19 pandemic left the majority of organizations scrambling to find remote technology solutions to accommodate our new work-from-home environments. While many employees are returning to the office, several organizations are remaining virtual or will move to a hybrid arrangement.
Tips to ensure your organization is leveraging its remote workforce to achieve its goals.
The first step in ensuring remote employees are set up for success is by providing them the necessary tools they need to do their job, while also ensuring you are protecting valuable company data from the threat of cybersecurity attacks and breaches. Although it may seem like a basic first step, it is critically important to provide physical connectivity to your remote-based employees. For example, ensuring they have high-speed internet services, a virtual private networks so they can access company servers and data, computer hardware with high quality camera capabilities, speaker phones or audio devices with muting capabilities. Additionally, be sure the basics of working monitors, printers/scanners, or other equipment they are accustomed to having access to in the company office.
Once your remote employees have the necessary equipment and connectivity secured, the next step is to provide them the collaboration tools needed for them to perform their job. When teams are located in various remote locations, it’s more important than ever that they have access to collaboration tools that allow them to work together as a team. According to Harvard Business Review, a face to face request is 34% more successful compared to sending an email. Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Amazon Chime, Teams, etc. exist although your company size, the desired features, and cost all need to be considered. Encourage your team to select one platform and all commit to using the chosen platform – we’ve seen teams with individual preferences waste time and create unnecessary conflict when they insist on using their own preferred platform.
Perhaps the most important aspect of ensuring your remote employees are set up for success is what happens “behind the scenes” – implementing comprehensive cybersecurity measures to mitigate the risk of a cybersecurity breach or attack. Ninety percent of security breaches are inadvertent, unintentional and caused by human error so it’s important to implement measures to reduce the risk. Measures include the following:
- Always on VPN (virtual private network)
- Requiring 2-factor or multi-factor authentication – an example of this is receiving a code on your email or text before a person is allowed to access company information, certain websites or apps
- Implementing a Password management program that includes managing passwords, changing them frequently and protecting them in a secure environment
- Add security awareness and training for your employees that include phishing simulations and reporting
- Monitor dark web intelligence with sophisticated search capabilities that help monetize and address your company’s risk.
The security aspect needs to be taken seriously
Covid-19 brought with it a cyber-pandemic. In the last year or so, cyber breaches have increased exponentially – up +600% according to PurpleSec, a cybersecurity firm located in DC. If your business is compromised, the outcome will impact your employee’s productivity and will also impact your overall business, costing the average small/medium sized business over $2MM in damages. To succeed in the new post-COVID-19 era, technology providers need to rethink their strategies and offerings to accommodate this new security landscape. We recommend you connect with your technology provider if you haven’t already to address these new cybersecurity concerns.
So now that your employees are all set up, have their collaboration tools in place and are trained with security measures in place, it’s time to get to work.
Even under normal working conditions, employee engagement is both a challenge and a priority. Remote work can add an additional layer of complexity because it’s more difficult for a remote workforce to unite under one vision. One way to ensure this is happening is to clearly communicate the overarching strategy, ensure that all company objectives and priorities are tied to executing that strategy and having metrics in place to clearly benchmark and measure changes to determine success or failure as a team. When developing the strategy/goals for your business, ideally, it is a good idea to include input from your team. When team members are engaged from the beginning, they are more likely to be “bought in” with regard to delivering on the objectives they helped create. It’s important that all team member’s individual objectives are tied to the company objectives so all members of the team are “rowing in the same direction”. When individuals can see their contributions are helping move the team closer to their goals, they are more likely to stay engaged. Additionally, it is important for the team to hold themselves and each other accountable to achieving the weekly, quarterly and yearly goals that have been determined. In order to do this, it’s important to develop a weekly, monthly and yearly meeting cadence that allows the team to check in and quickly make tweaks as needed to stay the course.
Whatever your organizational goals are in 2021, ensuring your remote team is productive, engaged and safe are essential in achieving success.
Trust the Experts
SOL-IS Technology Solutions is here to help your company with your remote work strategies and cybersecurity needs! Reach out to us at 952.279.2424 or online to see how we can help!