The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has rapidly changed how organizations operate and forced people worldwide to work from home.
Organizational leaders might be apprehensive about how to shift to remote work quickly, and how to do it well, particularly in organizations that previously had a small number or no remote employees. However, many organizations have seen significant success in all-remote workforces. Remote work provides opportunities for people no matter where they live, eliminates long commutes, and introduces more flexibility, and these organizations have defined best practices for themselves and others.
Here, we’ll detail three strategies for organizational leaders — IT and otherwise — to enable their remote workforces.
Remote Workforce Management Tips
1. Define Clear Expectations & Outcomes
Clear communication is incumbent on everyone in an organization, but it’s particularly important for managers as they define expectations and outcomes for their remote team members. A recent Harvard Business Review article recommended that managers check-in daily with remote employees and that they define clear expectations for a variety of communication methods. For example, team meetings might be held over video conferencing software, while urgent matters are discussed in Slack®. Clear and affirmative communication can also help employees stay calm if the shift to remote work is sudden, as it is for many now.
The Atlassian subsidiary Trello compiled a report with advice from companies at the forefront of remote work, and it dispelled the notion that remote employees slack off more than they would in the office. Instead, managers and employees can ensure work continues at a good pace with clear goals, deadlines, and regular status updates. Remote workers can do their part by documenting their progress with specificity.
Here at JumpCloud®, every employee also drafts a “user manual” that outlines their preferred methods of communication and working styles. This type of resource is beneficial whether employees are remote or not, but it might be especially useful now for employees who are experiencing remote work for the first time and need an avenue to share with their manager and team how best to stay in touch with them.
2. Build Healthy Cultural Norms for Remote Work
You have cultural norms when you’re in the office, so there’s no reason you can’t have norms for your organization when people are working remotely. One might be as simple as instructing people to turn on their video during calls so they can see their team members’ faces and read visual cues. Another might be encouraging people to update their Slack status to reflect when they’re in meetings, at lunch, or running errands. Another might be extending flexibility to people who need to care for loved ones or children at points throughout the normal workday.
Whatever cultural norms you decide are best for your organization, we recommend organizational leaders compile an FAQ or provide other documentation to communicate these norms widely.
3. Provide Access to the Right Tools
Knowledge workers need access to their computer and to their permitted IT resources to do their job. Their access to these tools should be easy but secure, which organizational leaders can ensure with tools like multi-factor authentication (MFA) enabled at every access point.
We all know that security is critical from an IT perspective, but organizations can also help their employees by offering guidance about appropriate resource usage, such as when to use the VPN connection or how to secure their home WiFi network. They can offer security training, too, to communicate password best practices and help employees identify threats such as phishing emails.
Learn More About JumpCloud’s Approach to Remote Work
At JumpCloud®, security and access management are at the forefront for us, and we’re experiencing the transition to remote work alongside you. Click here to learn more from our IT team about what it took to make that transition in the span of three days.