Here at Geelong Technology Group during the COVID-19 lockdown, we’ve been busy helping our clients setup their IT needs to support employee’s working from home. When it comes to IT, things can go wrong from time to time so our remote support options have been increasingly popular at this time.
We are now working with a number of companies with remote teams so we thought we’d put together some suggestions of what we see is working well for companies and employees at this time.
Working from home can have many benefits for companies and employees. Below are some tips we trust you will find useful. We are also happy to discuss, your specific needs and how these tips may apply to your business.
Setup a Dedicated Workspace
Encourage your remote team to set themselves up with an appropriate workspace so they can ‘go to work’ and be productive when they are working, and switch off when the work hours are complete. Obviously some homes may have limited space however it’s important your remote team establish a comfortable area to work from that’s equipped with required technology and business systems. They are likely to need a strong Internet connection, PC or laptop, comfortable chair and desk and peace and quite (as much as possible in a home setting).
Invest in Quality Technology
It may not be wise to rely solely on your remote team to use their own home technology for business purposes. If they have an old desktop or laptop it may not have the appropriate security measures in place and put your business at risk. If you anticipate your work at home arrangements to be temporary, you may need to make do with what you can for now. It would be worth booking our professional IT consulting so we can help your team to setup their technology. We can also provide recommendations and advice where appropriate. There are many technology options to consider, for example time management software are a popular option to track tasks and productivity. It’s also worth investing in great quality headsets for your team members so they are well equipped for video calls and can also use them to listen to music and eliminate noise from the home setting.
Set a Routine
Discuss with your team members what working hours will best suit your needs and theirs. It may be advantageous for your remote team to work early in the morning, have a break during the day to help their kids with home schooling and then work in the evening. Working outside the common hours may mean your team is able to make use of a faster, more reliable Internet connection when not trying to share it with an entire household. It’s also important to stick to a schedule within reason so you and other remote team members know when they are working and when communication is most appropriate. It can also help your team establish a sense of routine by getting out of their PJ’s and dressing ready for work. A great way to encourage this without sounding like a dictator is scheduling a video call to start the working day. This will encourage your team to get dressed and ready for the day ahead.
Encourage Work/Life Balance
When working at home, it’s hard to switch off from work tasks, which can become stressful. Encourage your team to take breaks for exercise and to look after themselves and loved ones. It can also be a great way to introduce some fun into the day which could otherwise be quite stressful for your remote team for a multitude of reasons. There are some great exercise and wellness apps that you may encourage your team to be a part of if you if that’s something they are interested in. For example, step-counting apps can be a great way to create a sense of team bonding, even when your team members are apart. Exercise boosts endorphins, increasing happiness while also improving productivity.
Keep in Communication
There are many online communication platforms that we are more than happy to discuss with you. The key is to find tools that are easy to use, intuitive, create a sense of connection and work for your particular business objectives. A simple Zoom or Skype check-in call at the end of each work day can be a great way to keep your team connected and to discuss work in progress along with any potential challenges. There are also many popular web based project management systems we are happy to discuss with you. We can also set you up with VoIP phone systems, which are a fantastic way to communicate with the outside world through regular phones. We can provide VoIP handsets for your team members to use as landlines just as if they were working from a physical office. For the short-term we can also setup your team with “soft phones” that run from your teams laptop or desktop.
Check in With Co-Workers Frequently
Social media and other digital distractions are likely to be a huge challenge for any remote team member at this time. Isolation means many of us are craving human connection and the closest thing we have right now is social media. While you may not be able to stop your team from using social media, you may consider ways to fulfil the desire for human connection by personally checking in with your team members. Check to see how they are going and relate to them on a personal level, not just a task-oriented conversation. Encourage your remote team to stay in communication with their co-workers too. If there are mental health concerns, they may be more comfortable communicating with colleagues that with you the boss.
It may sound counterintuitive however; many clients have noticed an increase in productivity with team members working from home. We’re curious to see how that develops with parents now home schooling their children. In any case, we suspect many companies may discover they love the remote team model of desk-based work and choose to continue to work from home long after the Coronavirus. There may be other companies who choose to return back to normal office based working arrangements, and others may work with a combination of work from home and office based arrangements. In any case, here at Geelong Technology we are optimistic about the future and look forward to supporting more local businesses with their managed IT support and remote support needs.