2020 quickly became the year in which seemingly anything could happen. From the obvious to the somewhat more obscure, it’s a year that won’t quickly fade from our collective memory. We’ve battled bushfires and a global pandemic, lost icons the world over, and seen politics dominate the public discourse to an extent not seen for decades.
We’ve also spent a lot more time at home, discovering new hobbies and in many cases, learning to work without the security blanket of the office environment to lean on.
In a post earlier this year we highlighted Gartner’s recent prediction of post-pandemic work from home numbers – pre-pandemic, 30 percent of employees were likely to work remotely some of the time, but post-pandemic that number looks like rising close to half with 48% of employees looking for a flexible arrangement.1
The lifeblood of the Australian economy is small and medium-sized businesses, and many might be looking to better support staff members wanting to work more flexibly, but might not necessarily be aware of the best means to do so, securely.
Here are five ways SMB’s can better support your remote workers in 2021 and beyond.
Provide staff with the right technology
Remote workers require the same technology tools that they would if they were working in the office. It’s important to identify certain personas within your workforce. This way you have a blueprint for what particular workers need to perform productively. If someone likes to work with multiple monitors and a docking station with a laptop, then we strongly encourage you to replicate that environment for their home setup.
Facilitate an office-like experience in the home
With remote workers, it’s important to get an understanding of what their home environment is like. Just like in the office where occupational health and safety considerations must be met, the same must go for the home. Ensure your staff have a suitable space to work, have the right desk and ergonomic or back-supporting chair for their needs, and lighting is suitable with no hazardous cords situated across walking areas.
Ensure a framework for communication is in place
With a dispersed workforce and staff in numerous locations, enabling streamlined communication and collaboration is key. There’s a myriad of options out there to keep lines of communication open. From Zoom and Skype for video conferencing to Microsoft Office 365 with SharePoint and Teams for the full collaborative experience. Ensure your team has the right tools to execute their jobs without disruption, delay or downtime. For best-practice efficiency, we recommend instilling defined processes for each type of action and ensuring all staff members are using the same platforms for a particular type of communication. For example, all video conferencing is conducted on Zoom, and all document’s that require co-authoring are worked on in Office 365. Having a bit-part approach with multiple platforms for the one action creates confusion and can lead to lost work and low productivity.
Follow secure network practices
This is critical. If you have staff accessing sensitive and business critical information from the home, ensure they’re only doing so on a secure network connection. Home networks that run on telco delivered routers don’t always possess the same levels of security as those found in the corporate office. We work with Aruba whose Remote Access Points (RAPs) and VPN solutions ensure your staff are only accessing data through a secure network, that you can monitor from anywhere through a single dashboard. If you’re unsure about your current ability to extend your network to the home, give us a call.
Implement a remote device management solution
Do you have visibility across your entire device fleet? Irrespective of where your employees are located, it’s critical to have visibility into the health and status of their devices. With a remote management solution, you can maintain an up to date and securely patched fleet of devices. As the threat landscape becomes more prominent, having visibility across devices with the ability to remotely wipe data, shutdown if necessary, and orchestrate updates is imperative. Additionally, you’re also made aware when devices are near end of life, storage is full or they’re about to breakdown, which aids in maintaining optimal productivity.
At Landmark Computers, we are strongly recognised as one of Australia’s best-in-class IT procurement specialists, providing the right tools for the right jobs. And we’re proud to announce that we now offer managed services in addition to our procurement capabilities.
If you’re struggling to educate your staff on the differences of working at home to the office, lack the necessary resources to maintain security practices and device management, or need advice on identifying the right networking arrangement and technology for your staff, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Melbourne’s most trusted IT store since 1994.