One of the most significant challenges organizations now face is how to enable remote work for their employees. Mere months ago people commuted to offices and conducted most of their work in person, and now entrepreneurs and executives worldwide are determining how to keep their organizations running despite orders to stay home.
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing organizations to implement a work from home model, and many are concerned for the productivity of their employees in the long term. However, remote work doesn’t have to equate to less productivity for your team. Below, we suggest helpful ways you can enable your team to be successful while working remotely.
Emphasizing safety for your team in times of calamity is critical. Hopefully by working from home they feel physically safe, but you’ll want to help reinforce a safe mentality to any extent you can.
Focusing on outcomes rather than hours worked is critical. Give your team the latitude they need to deal with family issues, mental health breaks, exercise, and more. Encourage employees to take the time they need to adjust to a new way of working. Mental health is especially important during this time, and ensuring you’re there to support your team encourages them to work with you as well.
Reinforcing safety as a leader also includes making sure that your team is safe while working online or connecting to resources through a VPN. Make sure your team pairs their credentials with multi-factor authentication (MFA), and that MFA is enabled everywhere you can — on machines, on applications, and on VPNs. Their digital identities are the number one path to your confidential digital assets.
During times of crisis, online threats increase. Bad actors hack networks, exploit users in phishing attempts, and use ransomware to get immediate payouts from unsuspecting victims. Even though they’re in the safety of their own homes, employees are even more vulnerable to attacks.
It’s important that you give your team the knowledge and tools that they need to keep themselves safe online. Train them to use unique, complex passwords for each of their resources, and make sure that continual training happens to keep them up to date on what to look out for in regard to a potential attack.
With many forced to stay in their homes — leaving only when absolutely necessary — people are feeling isolated. Remote work removes the person-to-person connections that so many find essential to improving their daily morale. As such, it’s important you foster connections not only between you and your team, but between teammates. Encourage your employees to communicate with one another and share their thoughts and experiences. Through applications like Slack®, Zoom, and Google Hangouts, people can connect with one another from the comfort of their homes.
In addition to combating feelings of isolation, not being able to know what is going on with their colleagues, department, and organization can be scary. Without face-to-face contact, it’s easy to feel uneasy and uncertain. Build in time to update people on what is going on at the firm in addition to making time for teams to just talk. In doing so, you can recreate connections that were generally a natural part of many peoples’ office lives. It now takes intention to make this happen, but modernized tools make this easier.
There’s no longer the opportunity to just swivel around in your chair and talk to your colleague to solve a problem. When working in an entirely remote environment, being clear about goals, outcomes, and roles is critical.
The clarity will help your team feel more confident in what they are doing, which helps move the organization forward. Making a genuine effort to offer accurate updates on ongoing tasks, even when separated in your own homes, saves time on projects that may need reworking later. And for your team, being clear in your intentions and goals provides them with a clear sense of purpose. Miscommunications will happen more frequently with less face-to-face contact, so taking steps to overcome these challenges leads to better, quicker outcomes.
In conjunction with fostering remote connections, you’ll need to enable your workforce to access their tools and resources. For knowledge workers, make sure your team has access to the applications, systems, files, and networks they need to do their jobs.
Provide your team with reliable devices they can conduct their work on — devices managed by internal IT so that they’re properly configured, secure, and up to date. Make sure your internal IT team can provision and deprovision users to their resources from any location.
This can be accomplished using a cloud directory service, which admins can use to manage users and their resources from anywhere. With a core identity provider in the cloud, IT professionals can remotely update software, change system settings, and enact Policies on machines — regardless of provider or platform. And, with all resource access centralized under one directory, it’s easier for admins to troubleshoot, provision, and manage users while working from home.
We’re Here to Help
Making remote work happen doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take intention. For many organizations, this is an entirely new way to operate, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be figured out quickly. Reach out to one of our representatives to see if JumpCloud can help you enable your team to remain productive during times of mass remote work. You can also check out our resource on best practices for remote work, or read about how Doublestruck transitioned to all-remote using JumpCloud.