We have seen a massive increase around the world of remote working in the last few months. This has been a trend that we have been seeing for a while now but has been drastically speeding up due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The world is beginning to get back to something resembling ‘normal,’ however, the increase in remote working is something that looks like is here to stay. And one of the biggest challenges that businesses are facing concerning remote working is ensuring that communication is just as good – if not better – than when everybody was together in the office.
Every business has its own unique needs regarding the technology that it requires to allow remote working to thrive, but one big challenge is how you can allow your staff to see up-to-date information at any time. The best solution for this is to use a data centre to house your data, allowing members of staff to access it from wherever they are.
According to data centre owners, Digiplex, “In an increasingly digital and connected world, connectivity and communication performance are of the utmost importance, and need to happen without either latency problems or poor performance. Therefore, companies need to optimise communication between IT systems, platforms, clouds and end users.”
A remote data centre can help you to do this.
Data centres can also help you ensure that your data is safe and secure, but you should also make sure that your cybersecurity policies are up-to-date. In addition to this, try to set up your system so that your staff only have access to the parts of it that they need, as well as setting up log-ins to ensure that it is only staff members that can access your data.
Going hand in hand with this, it is important that your remote workers have the equipment and adequate internet connection to be able to access your data, and you will also need to ensure that important information is saved in a digital format and not printed on paper around an office.
Another communication challenge that you can come up against when you have members of staff who are working remotely is how to manage them. Communication is essential for effective management, but it is possible to do this from afar.
The key to good remote management is to try to replace the most important aspects of your job in the non-virtual world, with a virtual version. It is important to get to know your staff, respect their time, and set out your boundaries and expectations. You should also take time out to look after their well-being as this can be a particular issue when someone is remote working.
Some ideas of how you can be an effective manager to remote workers include:
- Ensure that you both have a clear understanding of working hours and what you expect from each other.
- Set up regular ‘ask-me-anything’ sessions where your staff can ask you any questions that they like – work-related or unrelated. This can help everyone to get to know each other better and, as well as helping with team building.
- Write things down and share them as much as possible – when things are said they can either be forgotten or misinterpreted. When things are written down, they can often be clearer, ensure that everybody has seen the message, and easily referred to. It is also worth bearing in mind, however, that some things that are written down can be misinterpreted – so be careful about how you write.
- Try using a shared online calendar to ensure that everyone is familiar with what each other is doing, when.
- Enable screen sharing so that you are able to help each other when need be.
- Project management tools are a great option to help you to keep track of everyone’s progress even when they are working remotely.
We have seen several new methods of commercial (and personal) communication come into themselves over the past few months, and they all have their own benefits. The most effective system for you and your business will almost certainly be a mixture of different methods.
- The landline telephone or mobile is the most conventional way to communicate. If someone is having issues with their internet, for example, this is a great idea. Some of the downsides, however, include that they can be expensive, use up telephone lines, and that you are unable to see each other and share documents.
- Internet telephone can be used with or without video, often allow for images or document sharing and works anywhere that there is internet available.
- Video conferencing allows for communication and file sharing amongst groups of people, whilst talking in real-time. It can be used anywhere that there is a good enough internet connection.
- Messaging is often more effective for written communication than long email chains.
- Email is an effective digital, text-based communication method, but in 2020 is probably most effective when you are communicating with people from outside your business.
Part or full-time remote working is the direction that the world of work is heading in, but it is vital that communication and security are placed at the centre of how it is set up.