A 2020 Guide For Working From Home For Businesses And Teams

There has always been a desire for businesses to figure out remote working but the urgency was never there to come up with a solution. As the world throws more and more problems to small businesses, it has become incredibly important to sort out the rights and wrongs of remote working.

Finding a solution to remote work as a business owner can be troublesome with a lot of misinformation and stigma surrounding it. It may seem like the best idea to put off thinking about it. However, especially in the event of an emergency, remote work can help break apart some problems in your business as well as create new opportunities.

A Fair Case For Remote Work

Firstly, keeping an open mind to the process is crucial to its success. Having trust in your employees and acquiring a managed service provider can make the transition relatively painless.

Secondly, it's good to understand that you're not alone on the journey to undertake remote work. There are thousands of businesses moving the same direction and taking the precautionary steps, and innovative technology is making the switch seem possible, maybe even appealing.

In this guide, we will be looking at all aspects of remote work including its advantages, it's problems, as well as a few common tips other businesses have used to improve their remote environments.

Some Advantages of a Remote Workspace

  • Can adapt to new situations easily
  • Increased efficiency and time/resource management
  • No limits of hiring prospects from out of state
  • Business continuity through unforeseen events/emergencies
  • Generally good for the environment

Common issues with Remote Work

  • Cybersecurity
  • Unreliable Bandwidth
  • Time Management
  • DATA Sharing and Storage
  • Virtual Workstations
  • Motivating your team

Beneficial Tools For Working From Home

It can seem overwhelming thinking about all the areas you'll need to cover when making decisions for your remote business operations. However, there is an abundance of tools you can use to tackle your unique problems. Here's a broad look at your options when looking at tools and software:

  • Mobile technology 
    The baseline concern is where you do most of your work: your computer. Each person on your team will need either a laptop or desktop that they have the freedom to set up wherever they want. An important note is that many of your employees likely already have a good alternative that can be made viable by installing a few bits of software.
  • Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)
     You'll often have employees needing to access files on their office computers. VDI, provided by a managed service provider, can make this a non-issue. Whether they need to quickly find a file, check up on a project, or send a message, they'll simply need a mobile device and an internet connection.
  • Communication
     We all know communication is key within the team members of a business, and this, unsurprisingly, becomes more relevant when working remotely. Video collaboration software such as RingCentral can create a secure and convenient option to work on projects or touch base with your employees and clients. There's also call forwarding, regularly scheduled emails, and secure direct messaging solutions that can all be solved by your MSP.
  • Cloud solutions for data
     With your files spread across a vast array of devices, keeping it organized can present a challenge and files will inevitably be lost. You can avoid this entirely with quality cloud solutions that create near-instantaneous backups that are all stored in the same place. Most importantly, it is incredibly secure. Even if something happens to a device (infected, lost, or destroyed) the rest of your network can continue on with no issues.
  • Internal Collaboration There are several quality options available to ensure that your team is able to collaborate together on projects while they are miles apart. Applications like Cisco or Google Drive can make it so changes or suggestions can be made in an instant.

Also, many businesses have decided to migrate to Microsoft 365 because of its unparalleled toolset covering most of the functions of the above areas of collaboration and communication.

Learn more about Microsoft 365

  • Email & Calendar
  • Office Desktop Apps
  • Document Sharing & Collaboration
  • IM & Online Meetings

Monthly Fee Managed IT: Consistent Technology Solutions

There are many moving parts to remote work that can begin to feel overwhelming. That's why we recommend seeking out assistance if you're eager to have your remote workspaces set up and maintained for a manageable monthly fee. Managed IT is the way to go to streamline your workload, allowing you to focus on what's important for your business, while we keep your network and tools operational.

How to Help Your Team

Provide Structure
There will be plenty of questions and confusion at first, but you can negate this by providing a plan to your team. What's important to remember is that you don't have to remake your daily routines. Keep your video conferences on time and check in on your team members to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Dismantle Myths

These are several common myths that get spun around remote work:

  • You won’t be productive
  • You'll never have to leave your bed.
  • Your inner-office relationships will suffer.
  • It’s like being on call 24/7.

All of these issues can be avoided, and often are just simply false. Your day to day doesn't need to drastically change and you will avoid these pitfalls.

Maintain schedule and routine

Keeping your same business hours is important to keep a level of consistency in your employees. Remember, your employees won't be needing to commute to the office which provides them more freedom in their day without cutting into work. Also, encouraging them to use a video conferencing platform on breaks for those who enjoy chatting with their coworkers over lunch.

Creating a home workstation

The benefits of separating work life from home life cannot be understated. While the drive to and from the office usually provides that separation, designating an area of the home as a workspace can have the same effect. While not everyone will have a full room they can convert into a home office, clearing a desk of everything but work materials is certainly a viable option.

It is incredibly important to separate home and work life or issues may arise. Without the drive to the office, you and your employees will need to create their own way of making that separation. One simple but effective way to do this is to designate a room or even a desk to solely work-related activities. This helps engrain a level of focus to your work life that you can leave behind when it's time to clock-out.

Create a Workstation 'Feel' In Your Personal Space

  • Downloading a time tracking app like Rescue Time to block distracting websites
  • Installing an alternate web browser like Opera, Firefox, or Chrome to be used only for work
  • Using a visual timer like an hourglass or a timer to encourage regular breaks
  • Informing family members or other people in the house when you’ll be unavailable

Prioritize Communication Methods

Not all messages have the same level of priority attached to them. Creating a system for your communication methods can help reduce confusion and prevent your employees from becoming overwhelmed. For example, a weekly company-wide email may contain to plan your weeks, but a direct message in RingCentral or Slack would indicate a high priority idea.

Another advantage of a Managed Service Provider is the ability for your employees to provide feedback anonymously. Many times, employees won't come straight to you with problems regarding different technologies or systems in place. With the veil of anonymity, they may feel more comfortable to ask questions or share their personal feedback that is invaluable for businesses today.

Getting Help Throughout Your Transition

The infrastructure of remote work is an ongoing task, and if you want to stay ahead of it consider contacting a managed service provider. Managed IT solutions can guarantee that you'll have the support and knowledge to address any of your tech and structural needs. Our Comprehensive IT Support provides:

  • Flexibility and options
  • 24/7/365 management
  • Realtime backups of all data
  • Continual monitoring of technology and software
  • Protection from malware and viruses

If you'd like to learn more about how NCG can help your business make the transition to remote as smooth as possible, consider contacting us here.

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