With governments around the world introducing new measures and restrictions to slow down the spread of COVID-19, companies across Ontario, Canada, are closing their offices and encouraging workers to practice social distancing.
That means limiting the number of people that your employees come into contact with, encouraging them to keep a safe distance (6 feet) away from the people they do come into contact with and avoiding non-essential trips outside of their homes.
As a result, businesses across the province with the ability to work from home are encouraging their employees to do so. These proactive actions will help to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
At the same time, your business plays an important role in our economy and it’s crucial that you stay operational and productive even when your employees are working remotely. To help ensure your employees stay productive and efficient when working from home, OT Group has listed six tips to help your business stay successful:
1 - Encourage employees to maintain regular hours
Surprisingly, it can be hard for remote workers to maintain a good work-life balance. Since they aren’t commuting to work, and their phones and computers are readily available, it’s often a challenge for employees working from home to set boundaries between their office and home life.
Make sure your employees are clocking in and out each day. While some days they may need to extend their day or start earlier to accommodate a meeting or urgent work, it’s important for their productivity and happiness that they stick to the same 8-4 or 9-5 schedule that they would have in your office.
2 - Use cloud-based systems
If your employees store valuable information on physical hardware or they require software that’s downloaded to their computer to complete daily tasks, working from home without taking their entire work computer home could be difficult.
One easy solution to this problem is making the transition to mobile workforce technology solutions, such as cloud-based systems. Since cloud-based computing uses computing services through an internet connection, your employees will be able to access everything they need to complete their job from whenever, and wherever they are.
3 - Schedule regular breaks
When working in the office, employees naturally have regular breaks. They speak to coworkers when making coffee, they head out for lunch trips and they have team meetings or conversations at their peer’s desks.
When working from home, however, it can be easy for employees to get glued to their desks all day. While you think this may be a good idea for your business, this will actually have a negative effect on productivity and the quality of work that your employees produce.
That’s why it’s important that you encourage your team to take regular breaks, whether it’s taking the dog for a walk around the block or recommending a 50-minute on/10-minute off work schedule.
4 - Ensure your team stays connected
When working remotely it can be easy for your employees to fall into the trap of not communicating. This will create silos within your organization and lead to staff members feeling isolated from their team and cut off from your organization as a whole.
To combat this, encourage team members to communicate regularly and host team meetings every day to ensure every staff member communicates with each other. Using communication tools such as Slack and Zoom will help you to retain an inclusive atmosphere, as well as ensure all employees continue to work towards a common goal.
5 - Use a VPN to secure your employees’ internet connection
With your company’s employees now working from remote locations, your company will need to introduce better security measures to protect your systems and data from cybercrime. Unfortunately, home WiFi networks are not typically very secure.
You can secure these networks by using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN will help protect your business when employees access internal resources from a remote location. Company VPNs provide extra protection against phishing or malware attacks, as a firewall would do when working in a corporate office.
6 - Consider a Managed Service Agreement
Many employees may be using home devices to connect to the internet to use cloud resources, and they may not have adequate security installed to protect your organization. This will put pressure on your IT services to understand the complexity that a quick roll-out of remote working can cause. It’s time to review your virtual office set-up and get on-going expert advice with a Managed Service agreement to address networking and security. Managed Service agreements allow businesses to benefit from predictable pricing and the ability to focus on core business goals rather than the IT systems.
Are you looking for further information on how you can ensure your employees stay productive when working from home, and that your business remains highly optimized? Contact our team of technology specialists today. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you have.