Today more and more institutions and businesses switch to remote work due to the unsafe and unstable situation in the world. This in turns leads to the increasing demand for virtual communication not only with customers but also among team members who start working remotely. This is where the software for online communication such as live chat, online conference platforms and corporate communication tools becomes handy and saves businesses from closing and public institutions from chaos in communication.
In this blog post we would like to share our experience in managing remote teams and building virtual office environment for successful, smooth and safe online support and business processes. Working from home is no longer a trend, it’s now a necessity for almost all businesses and institutions across the globe.
Regularly scheduled online meetings
It is important to run regular short daily meetings with team to assign tasks, talk about issues and just see how everything is going. Obviously, regular communication motivates and improves discipline. During such meetings employees can share their doubts, ideas and valuable suggestions. While working on a distance it is vital to stay connected with a team for successful business processes.
Communication is a weak side of every remote team. While working on a distance it is important to stay connected and synchronize everything. For remote teams Virola will become a great solution. This messenger is available in internal preview only at present, but it offers all features needed for successful teams collaboration:
- Group chats with unlimited number of participants
- Scheduling meetings
- Tasks and tickets
- Bugs and tasks tracking
- Screen sharing
- Self hosted solution
Create company culture for working remotely
Working from home is a lifestyle and not entire life. Thus remote employees deserve some kind of flexibility in planning their working time. However, without transparent company culture it will be hard for employees to understand the direction of the company and how they can work to their full potential.
Thus ensure that you build everything right to get regular business reviews and team performance reports. Additionally, make company policies transparent and encourage self-dependent team players who enhance your company culture for remote employees.
While there are many advantages of having staff working remotely, there is one great disadvantage – security. Thus you need to ensue that your company information is protected and your team follows your company security rules. This is the list of the main steps you need to follow to create secure environment:
- Setup virtual Private Network (VPN) for remote users to connect to corporate resources
- Ensure your server organization is easy for management
- Make regular data backup
- Use team management tools
In addition to security measures it is important to supply employees with all required for smooth business processes software.
- Conferencing software
- Software required for your company business processes
- CRM to manage business and customer support processes
- Live chat software to provide safe online support
Most companies that switch to remote offices prefer moving away from maintaining a data center and look at options for virtual servers which are more cost effective. However, you still need to take care of the following:
- Data storage
- Data backup
- Telephony system
- Network infrastructure
- Datacenter operations
While changing in-office working environment to remote one, it is important to take into account the main factor – flexibility. However, for some professionals such as 3D artists, game developers or scientists, powerful desktop computers are required in addition to laptops which provide flexibility. Here is the list of personal hardware your remote employees may require:
- Powerful desktop computer for specific professionals
- Secondary monitor
- Desk phone
- Ergonomic keyboard
Safe and convenient working place
First of all the working place should be safe and convenient. Having a separate room is great. However, a remote employee need to be ready to work from anywhere. Besides powerful computer and additional monitor here is the list of the most useful gear for your home office:
- Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot
- USB LED lamp
- Laptop stand
- Noise canceling headset
- External hard drive
Proper training for managers and supervisors
The main task for managers and supervisor now becomes an assistance with challenges remote employees may face while working from home:
- Distraction at home
- Not enough skills to setup virtual working environment
- Poor motivation
- Lack of discipline
As a team leader you need to ensure your working remotely colleagues have successfully overcome listed above challenges before you start giving them tasks and monitor their progress.
Take advantage of flexibility
First of all when your team starts working remotely you need to reconsider what productivity really means. The rules which work perfectly in office will no longer work in this case.
- Trust your team
- Monitor progress rather than the online time
- If your team works in different time zones, take advantage of this and build an office working 24/7
- Allow your co-workers choose the schedule that helps them be the most productive
For many businesses remote office is an advantage as it saves time for employees to get to their work place and for employers various costs such as office rent, meals, etc. Stay home, stay safe and provide safe online support to your customers.