While remote working has been steadily rising over the past decade, the recent pandemic forced its rapid adoption on a much larger scale. According to the Office of National Statistics, almost half of all employees in the UK are working from home. The British Council suggests that most people don’t see themselves returning to the office in the future.
Of course, this is a positive trend, as remote work has immense benefits for both employees and their organisations. Thanks to advancements in technology, most businesses were able to continue operating with relatively little disruption in the face of the coronavirus emergency.
That said, facilitating remote work in the short term is one thing. Established, continuous remote working poses several challenges that need to be addressed appropriately to ensure long-term success. The following are the key considerations that London businesses need to make for secure, sustainable, and competitive remote working.
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Address Remote Working Security Risks
Before the pandemic, most companies were primarily concerned with the safety of their on-site networks. Outward-facing systems and touch points such as websites were handled by third parties, if not ignored entirely. The approach was to ensure that office systems are secure and avoid letting employees use their own devices.
This changes when team members start working remotely and accessing company data from home through devices and networks that are separate from the business. Your cybersecurity strategy has to be adjusted accordingly.
For instance, two-factor authentication becomes crucial as employees are no longer logging in at work. Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the situation and are using clever scams such as emails pretending to be from the company, which calls for stronger anti-phishing campaigns.
Businesses need to prioritise security before establishing remote teams to mitigate these risks.
Enable Teamwork and Collaboration
In addition to telecommunications and video conferencing facilities, remote messaging and document access is key to effective off-site working. But today’s resources go much further than that. Companies should ensure that they’re using the full suite of the latest tools to make collaboration as seamless as possible.
There are many opportunities to communicate in the office, be it for a quick chat or to highlight an issue. The right software can provide a similar level of casual interaction. Live chat rooms and message boards such as Slack or the Teams app in Microsoft 365 are popular options. Other leading remote collaboration tools include:
With in-person interactions brought to a minimum, external workers can also benefit from appropriate adjustments to certain processes. It can be as simple as scheduling regular meetings to check in on progress and employee wellness. You may also want to change internal reporting procedures.
Use Remote IT Support for effective remote working
Just as they did in the office, remote workers will require IT support on regular occasions. From slow computers to software bugs to broken printers, tools that don’t work as intended are no good for productivity.
Internal remote support can be challenging. Sending your IT staff all over the city, never mind the country, to solve what may be a simple issue is costly and likely unrealistic. One solution is to make use of remote IT support software. But this has major shortcomings, namely being ineffective for solving hardware problems.
Partnering with an IT Support London service is a more reliable option. Managed service providers are capable of tackling complex challenges without necessarily having to be on-site thanks to expert diagnostics skills. And if a visit is required, they may also be able to deliver more timely and effective assistance.
While remote working can certainly reduce expenses and improve productivity, these benefits need to be carefully nurtured. Over time, your company should assess which roles are best performed remotely and which of them are more conducive to traditional office settings. Not all positions benefit from being sent off-site.
Remote working makes sense when:
- Employees are comfortable with performing their tasks outside of the office
- The appropriate communication and computing technologies are available
- Teams can collaborate effectively without being in the same room
There are also roles that fall somewhere in the middle as they require occasional interaction, but not on a daily basis. Use the technologies and resources you have at your disposal to make informed decisions and test different ways of working. The ideal balance will eventually emerge, but it’s wise to remember that remote working isn’t black and white.
Establish Trust and Communication
It’s important to remember that remote working can be jarring at first and will inevitably raise a few questions. If you’re in it for the long run, you’ll need to find ways to ensure that everyone feels trusted and is open when it comes to communication. Not seeing what team members are doing inherently brings an air of uncertainty.
Routine communication is the first step. Managers should be comfortable bringing up their concerns, and employees must have the freedom and confidence to reciprocate in equal measure. The technologies you use to facilitate remote working play a key role here. Opting for video instead of audio calls, for instance, makes all the difference.
Not all employees are familiar with what makes a workspace productive, especially if they’re used to working in an office. Businesses can help remote workers create home offices where they can stay calm and focused. Aside from providing capable and ergonomic equipment, you can also offer guidance on how to set up a workspace.
This can come in the form of guides that outline what employees can do to improve their work environment. Remember that productivity is influenced by what happens beyond work hours as well, so it’s a good idea to encourage health and wellness. For instance, you can remind remote workers to follow a routine, exercise, and get enough sleep.
If you’d like to discuss how IT support in London can help you adopt remote working effectively, feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation chat with one of our experts.
totality services is an award-winning company that provides remote and on-site support to small and medium sized businesses in London, making us your go-to option for meeting your remote working needs.