Working remotely prior to COVID-19 was something that some businesses experimented with, but as a general rule, it was a rare exception rather than a norm.
However, since the pandemic, “remote work” has become the newest buzz word as many businesses were forced to either go remote or to cease operations due to lockdown measures and social distancing precautions.
That’s one interesting development that’s come from the pandemic: lots of companies have had to adapt to new methods of working, and it’s become apparent that remote working will now stick around in business long after the pandemic is gone. Some might even consider operating remotely on a full-time basis.
With that in mind, there are some essential tools that you can use to help your team remain productive, both when switching to remote work and in the long term. Keep these areas in mind when you’re facing remote work challenges:
Communication is always important in business, regardless of whether you’re working remotely or in an office. Collaboration between coworkers is a key to innovation and creativity. Therefore, it’s important that when you work remotely, you’re finding the appropriate software to help improve and maintain communication between staff members, even when they’re physically distant.
Consider what solutions are available and what you’ll need in order to make every conversation a successful one. There are many platforms out there that you can take advantage of to help with communication.
Whether you need video conferencing options, instant messaging, file sharing, or other features, platforms like Slack, Skype, and Microsoft Teams (to name just a few) can provide excellent solutions for your internal communications.
VoIP, otherwise known as IP telephony, makes use of phone lines that connect over the internet. This means that your employees can make calls from any location, as long as they have internet access.
Switching to a VoIP phone system can give remote employees flexible options for business communications with customers and clients, and it can also be more cost-effective than traditional phone systems.
With customer service representatives working from home without access to an in-office phone system, VoIP can be an invaluable tool for enabling communications without forcing employees to use a personal phone number.
Virtual private networks, known as VPNs, are a great way to enhance business cybersecurity when working remotely. They help to protect file sharing between your employees as well as anonymity when browsing public websites and applications.
With this tool, employees can share files freely as if they were actually on a shared office network without fear of cyber breaches. A VPN puts your information in an encrypted tunnel so that it can’t be intercepted.
Your employees should never use public networks, as these are easily hijacked. A VPN can give you peace of mind and security in collaborating and communicating. For an extra layer of security, connecting through Google cloud interconnect or other private clouds are a popular option.
When it comes to remote work, cybersecurity is a crucial consideration. The rate of cyber attacks has increased significantly during COVID-19, due in part to the lax security of many remote operations. Without the use of security measures protecting in-office systems, many companies were left starting from scratch to secure remote networks.
Companies with remote workers should implement new security measures and policies to increase cybersecurity, including:
- Clear policies on BYOD (bring your own device) requirements or work equipment policies
- Employee cybersecurity training
- End-to-end encryption on communications (such as that provided by a VPN)
- Firewalls, anti-malware, etc. on every device used for work
- Constant system monitoring
To put these and more cybersecurity solutions in place, many companies choose to work with a managed service provider who can give expert guidance and solutions.
Technology is essential for your business, and smart companies will be investing in their IT going forward. Make sure you have the right tools in place to empower your employees to work productively from home, and to ultimately protect your business, too.