With many organizations now having a significant portion of staff working remotely, many small and medium-sized businesses are starting to strategically plan how their workforces will operate in the future.
It’s looking increasingly more likely that the future of work for many businesses will be flexible. Employers are likely to implement hybrid working models, where some employees work in the office, others work from home and other employees work from anywhere - moving from location to location.
In fact, according to a study from Upwork, 73 percent of all teams will have remote employees by 2028.
That means a staggering number of organizations will be in charge of managing workers who can work from wherever they want, whether it’s the local coffee shop, moving from location to location or from their own home.
As a result, more businesses than ever before are designing work-from-home strategies that are focused on ensuring their remote employees are successful. The key component to remote success typically falls on technology.
Are you currently prioritizing future workforce planning for your company? Here are some of the key technologies that your remote workers will need to be successful:
A computer or laptop
Of course, the most important piece of equipment for any remote employee is a computer or laptop. Computers tend to be the most effective solution for remote employees who only work from their home and need powerful hardware to support intensive software programs, while laptops are the best solution for remote workers who have to travel from location to location.
Some companies are still implementing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, in which remote employees can use their own personally-owned device, rather than being required to use a company-owned device. As a rule of thumb, this isn’t recommended as it can lead to small business cybersecurity concerns.
A dedicated phone line
For some remote employees a dedicated phone line may not be necessary. Employees who only need to communicate with their internal team, communication and collaboration software will likely be the only tools they need for interaction. However, for remote employees who are client or customer-facing, a dedicated phone line is crucial to their role.
Cloud phone systems, such as voice over internet protocol (VoIP), have made this easy. With VoIP, employees can make phone calls at any time, from any place, from the office number by using an application on their own personal smartphone - meaning they can communicate with customers and clients no matter where they are working from.
Communication and collaboration software
When working remotely, it’s crucial that your team has a way to stay connected and collaborate with each other on projects. Email is a good way to have more formal communication, but it’s not a great way to have normal, human interaction.
Using communication apps such as Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype are all fantastic ways to keep your employees connected no matter where they are working from.
Reliable internet access
Whether it is talking to a client through video conferencing software, uploading a file or running a cloud-based software program, most organizations have some sort of minimum internet connectivity requirement that must be maintained to ensure seamless functionality of their business.
Thankfully, most homes and coffee shops today have powerful enough internet connections to deal with the intensive programs used by most organizations. Internet connection is unlikely to be an issue for your remote employees, and if it is then you can always provide a work-from-home stipend to your team each month so they can pay for faster internet speeds.
For employees on the move and regularly working from free public WiFi connections, make sure they are using a virtual private network (VPN). This encrypts the files they are sending and receiving while connected to a public network, ensuring their use of a public internet connection is secure.
The cloud can be highly beneficial to a remote workforce. Cloud storage that your employees can access from any device, anywhere that they are working from, is critical for both remote collaboration and the seamless operation of your business.
Cloud storage is an incredibly easy and secure way for your remote employees to find, access, manage, share and edit files. Employees can simply save files to a shared folder, giving co-workers the ability to instantly access the latest changes.
A printer and scanner
Just like a dedicated phone line, it’s likely that not all of your remote employees will need a printer or scanner. However, any remote workers who have a large amount of paperwork as part of their job’s responsibility will certainly need one, whether it be signing contracts or filling out forms.
To find the most effective printers for your remote team check out our blog, Best Home Office Printer: 5 Things to Consider for Remote Workers.
Alternatively, you can visit our web store which features a wide range of printers, copiers and scanners no matter what your needs are.
Project management software
To ensure your employees are all on the same wavelength in regards to projects, no matter where they are working from, it’s important that they have access to a tool that clearly shows them what projects they are currently working on, when they are due and what is currently required.
Project management software, such as Teamwork or Trello, can show a wide number of tasks and the workflow required to complete them. On top of that, project management software also includes time tracking capabilities - helping you to gain insights on whether you are charging your clients the right amount of billable hours.
With the right technologies, hardware and software, your remote employees will have everything they need to work successfully no matter where they are. Do you want to learn more about building a strategic technology plan for your remote workforce? Contact OT Group today. Our Ontario-based team would love to help.