If your organisation has implemented remote working but you’ve been disappointed with the results so far, you might start to perceive the whole thing as a losing strategy.
However there are a number of steps you can take to improve your remote working practices to ensure you’re getting the most out of your remote staff.
Implement a clear remote working policy
Without a set of clear expectations in place, both in regards to the employer as well as the employee, remote working can throw up a number of issues.
How do members of staff request working from home days? What’s the IT security process for remote employees?
By devising a policy and ensuring all employees understand it from the outset you can mitigate many of the problems that can arise, and clearly lay out the consequences of failing to meet expectations.
One of the biggest challenges of managing remote employees is maintaining a good level of communication when one of you isn’t office-based.
Talking over the phone is all well and good, but you miss out on that nonverbal communication which is so important. This is where video conferencing comes in, allowing the chance to communicate face-to-face with employees, wherever they are in the world.
Microsoft Office 365 includes Skype for Business which offers HD video conferencing, as well as voice chat and instant messaging.
Remember, when catching up with permanent remote workers don’t just talk about work. An important part of management is getting to know people on a human level too, and this is your opportunity to foster a stronger relationship with them.
Invest in new equipment
If you’re allowing your remote employees to access important work documents from their own devices then you’re creating a potential security risk.
Invest in laptops, mobile phones and tablets if necessary that remote workers can use, all of which can be protected with virus protection and firewalls that your IT department are happy with.
It’s obviously not a low cost solution (depending on how many remote employees you have), but the threat to your organisation of allowing files to be accessed on insecure machines more than outweighs the investment.
Invest in new software
A common issue for organisation trying, but failing, to implement remote working successfully is that remote staff are using different versions of software. For example, your office might be using the Microsoft Office suite on PCs, while a remote employee is trying to load those same files using Pages or Numbers on a Mac.
Cloud software is the perfect solution to this, and doesn’t even have to be expensive. Microsoft Office 365 Business is just £7 per user/per month, and includes all of the desktop and mobile apps you’ll need, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
This not only ensures that all of your employees are working from the same versions of the same software, helping to avoid compatibility issues, but it also facilitates collaboration in real time. Changes are saved as you go, which means you don’t have to worry about changes being overwritten like in the past
To find out more about how Microsoft Office 365 can improve your organisation’s remote working, give us a call on 0845 094 2760.