Managing remote teams and work-from-home employees comes with unexpected challenges in 2022 and moving forward. There are just too many things to overcome and control starting from cybersecurity to productivity and employee happiness. One of the most prominent causes of these concerns and challenges is the inability to meet your team members face-to-face and work in a physical office.
However, luckily, the last two years with the COVID pandemic have taught us valuable lessons on how to keep remote teams productive, secure, and efficient. We inadvertently learned how to keep working with all the things going on in the world and build permanent remote teams. Now, we see an incredible boom in the number of remote job postings which shows that it’s now more of a choice than an obligation. Remote work is indeed very profitable and productive since office occupancy costs are always increasing, but only if you follow these best practices.
1. Set up your remote work policies
Remote work policies are the place where it all starts. You need to point out what is the expectations of the company from its remote workers, how exact departments should operate in a remote environment, and much more. Things like the home office of the employee or the requirements of a remote workspace should be emphasized so you have a standard within your employees.
The remote work policy should also include security concerns and the ways to cope with them. Necessary training processes, tools to be used when connected to the corporate network, and even the requirements of the employee’s device to be considered usable for their job.
2. Implement project management apps
Tracking the progress of projects and setting goals are especially hard in remote work. You don’t get to see your team members and if you are a supervisor, you need an effective way to assign tasks, set weekly or monthly goals, and make sure projects get done.
Project management tools come to the aid of supervisors with the ability to clearly set the goals for an employee and manage a project step-by-step. When you think about it, you can’t really rely on the working hours to ensure employees are meeting expectations; you don’t see them working and you can’t be sure if they are productive or not.
So what’s a better thing to do? We believe that instead of tracking the working hours, it’s more important to set weekly goals for employees and make sure they can meet deadlines. Nothing is better than project management tools to do this with.
3. Effective and open communication
Communication is a great challenge for the remote working model. You don’t have the luxury to check up on your team members or simply say a “Hello” when everyone is apart a thousand miles from each other. But you still have to communicate to get the job done and avoid the feeling of loneliness, which can lead to burnout.
Keeping communication open and creating effective communication channels is a crucial task for corporations to manage remote teams. One of the better ways to do this utilizing collaboration tools to create virtual teams who can chat or meet with a single click.
One thing to remember here is that communication should not be solely about work, because in a physical office environment you would have your coffee breaks where you get a chance to catch up on your co-workers. Please be sure to include break rooms where people can talk freely and not feel lonely.
4. Use a site-to-site VPN solution
VPN is at the center of almost all remote working environments. Cybersecurity is a huge deal, especially when working remotely; things like sharing a common network and resources, keeping communication between employees, and protecting the corporate network are not always easy.
For big corporations, one of the best VPN solutions is considered to be site-to-site VPNs. This VPN type allows companies to share their main office’s network with remote branch offices. The employees in these different offices usually work on the same tasks, meaning they need to have access to the same resources.
An easy way to ensure this communication and cooperation is using a site-to-site VPN; these tools facilitate access for remote offices while also keeping this communication secure from cyber threats. It’s also a great tool when you have business partners that you need to share a part of your network with. Make sure to check out NordLayer’s site-to-site VPN solution (https://nordlayer.com/site-to-site-vpn/) which is affordable, complete, and secure.
5. Keep meetings at a minimum
It might be tempting to think that meetings are always great activities to make sure everyone is on the same page and you have a chance to get the latest progress report about tasks. But it’s important to note that overwhelming numbers of meetings in a week can and will decrease productivity drastically.
If team leaders in a corporation feel like they need to meet with their team members constantly, it’s a sign that something is going wrong. Remote employees need time to work on their tasks alone without any distractions. In fact, if you leave the employees unattended with minimum supervision, you will see the actual benefits of the remote work model.
Frequent meetings simply take too much time, are bad for productivity, and are prone to make micro-management a permanent practice. Communication is always the key, but scheduling meetings every day are not efficient or helpful.
6. Prioritize remote working training
This is a broader subject than the other topics we talked about in this article. Remote working training should include comprehensive cybersecurity training since this work model is more prone to cyber threats, starting from the first line of defense; your employees. They need to be aware of the risks such as phishing scams and know how to handle them.
Another issue to be mentioned in remote working training is the ability to use the tools specifically implemented for remote work, and how to effectively communicate using these tools. Remember that remote work is new to most employees, so they will need remote-specific training on the things they’ll use every day.
The remote work model comes with a lot of perks, but definitely a number of challenges to go with it. Overcoming these challenges is a must for every corporation considering adopting a remote working model. Well thankfully, we have proven ways of keeping remote work effective, productive, secure, and sustainable.
Implementing the best practices above will instantly make work-from-home a profitable choice for your company while also keeping things organized and operative. Don’t forget that remote work is a new concept and it has its own ways.