Remote working is easier than you think
When you decide to instigate working from home there are usually three main challenges to overcome, and it may surprise you which of these are easier to solve than the others. However, there are some pitfalls you might not have considered. Let’s break them down.
Perhaps the greatest challenge is convincing yourself that you and your colleagues will be able to work, productively, away from the office. Home is where we settle after a hard day at the office and is usually full of distractions and comforts. The key is to create a space free of these distractions; a space that you can label ‘the office’, even if it isn’t in its own room, and, a space you can withdraw from at the end of the working day. This will maintain structure and routine in your day, and allow you to continue working as if you were in the office environment.
I took my deskphone home and plugged it into my router - in came my next call!
Many workers share an open-plan office and the ability to communicate with colleagues on a daily basis is crucial to the smooth running of a business. Projects require collaboration and meeting spaces to share ideas and agree actions. Connectivity, a VPN, and the right software can make seamless the transition from office working to home working. Nearly every home is connected with a high-speed broadband connection and innovation with the Internet has made it possible, not only to communicate by messaging, but by conference calling or video link – there are even virtual whiteboards on which participants can draw! With the best technical expertise on hand, it can be as easy as just plugging in at home and being ready to go before the first coffee break.
Flexibility is key when it comes to reducing the amount of effort it takes to work from home. We usually think of two types of home worker, one who uses company supplied devices and one who uses their own devices - sometimes there’s a mix of both. The net result is the same, and the experience should be the same for the worker too. When you start home working there will inevitably be the odd technical teething problem, but once bedded in the technicalities of keeping remote working effective is much the same as supporting users and maintaining hardware in an office set-up.
Did you know? Your business is likely eligible for a grant covering ⅔ the cost of any IT/Telecoms project that contributes to an increased in flexible working. Application is easy – contact us for details!
Keep it professional
A common mistake with home-working is allowing the lines of personal and professional to be blurred. This can make it difficult to leave ‘the office’, disrupts the office/home mindset, and reduces trust with your clients. The best home working set-up should be completely invisible to the client and there should be no change to the way they make contact with you or your colleagues.
Many remote workers use their personal smartphone for calling clients and colleagues, revealing their personal mobile number. You should continue to use the business phone system through a remotely connected portable deskphone or specifically designed mobile app. This allows outbound calls continue to display the business’s main number and inbound calls can be directed to individuals or departments as if they were in the office.
There should be no excuse for using a personal email address to communicate with clients and colleagues. Not only does it look unprofessional, and potentially untrustworthy (given the amount of scams committed by email), it creates a disorganised workflow and can unintentionally leak sensitive information. Domain names are inexpensive, can be securely authenticated, and device compatibility with business cloud-based email services is now widespread and standard practice.
It’s easy to slip into social media or personal messaging apps for a quick question to a colleague or client. Before long, you’ll find your office doesn’t stop pinging you updates beyond the end of the day. For this reason, business messaging apps have been developed specifically for workplace meetings, collaboration and chat, allowing you to protect commercially sensitive info from accidental leakage.
How get started with remote working
Firstly, identify who needs to work remotely. Secondly, list who will use business-supplied devices and who will use personal devices. Then partner with an IT support company to help get everybody set up securely. Actopia has decades of experience when it comes to IT support, remote assistance and home working in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire and beyond. Contact us today so we can assess your IT system and provide a competitive quotation for an all-round solution.
Why work from home?
- Business continuity
Even if you don’t need home-working now, it’s important to have a business continuity plan in place that can be put into action when an emergency affects the ability to work in the office.
- Environmentally friendly
The commuter rush to and from work is one of the most polluting activities we undertake.
- Employee benefits
Flexible working options can be an attractive proposition when employing new staff and will likely broaden the talent base to which your business appeals. Employees can save money on commuting and perhaps adapt working hours to accommodate home deliveries and childcare.
- Prevent workforce illness
When someone becomes ill enough to infect colleagues but not ill enough to work, remote working can allow a worker to self-isolate and continue to be productive, avoiding the spread to colleagues.