Expert Guide to Work from Home Smarter
Christoph Schneider, Director Product Management, TeamViewer
July 10 2020 - Lockdown measures around the world are starting to lift, and as they do businesses are planning their recovery strategies. It will be important to remember that there are many competitive advantages of keeping the remote work models we've had to adopt during this unprecedented time. In fact, savvy companies doing so will emerge from this recent crisis stronger in many ways - more flexible, agile and forward looking.
For many, the adjustment to using remote technologies has been a huge learning experience. In a short period of time, people have been asked to install tools and access IT systems that they have not worked with before, and depend entirely on virtual communication. For those unfamiliar with these resources, this can certainly feel daunting. Even for those who are more experienced, it may take time to feel confident on video conferencing tools, remain efficient in using remote technologies, and keep peace of mind that such resources are safe to use long-term.
In order to help businesses and people combat this, here are our expert tips on how to master remote working with your employees now, and for the future.
1. Plan with people in mind
- This global event has called for businesses to reevaluate operations. Leaders should have expectations that plans, deadlines and business priorities may need to be reevaluated constantly for yet a few more months, and also in the face of any future global crises. However, companies must also show that the safety of employees, their families, and friends is more important than short-term gain.
- While planning for the long-term, management teams can demonstrate a people first approach by being honest and not downplaying any situation, but also keeping a professional and positive tone. This is the first step to use video communications to build strong relationships at work, which will lead to better communication down the line and prepare leaders to onboard new employees remotely with ease.
2. Get the right technology for your company
- Video conference software is very common in companies these days and an absolute must for home office setups. But video or voice calls alone with email probably won't cover all your remote work needs.
- The technologies available for remote working range vastly based on industry and job function alone, so it's important to find the right ones that actually support the different roles within your company. Take the time to decide whether you need remote access software, file sharing, or a way to connect to your company's server systems if some people don't have company-issued laptops to access their work from home.
- Enabling employees to work as if they were sitting in front of their office computer, or standing on the factory floor, is crucial for companies who want to boost productivity, and employee satisfaction.
3. Create a virtual classroom
- We're learning new things every day, so create a space where employees can share their experiences and managers can conduct training sessions for those who need them.
- These don't need to be complex training sessions, such as learning how to code, but time to make sure that smaller things aren't getting overlooked. For example, sharing how to set statuses for when you are available, on a call, or having lunch. A virtual informal classroom session helps to open up the lines of communication for remote team members, and gets everyone working cohesively.
- Learning doesn't have to take place in structured sessions either. Encourage your employees to take 10 minutes in their day to call each other for breakout sessions and share their experiences from the day, as they would chat over a cup of coffee in the office.
4. Use AR for remote training
- Augmented Reality (AR) can be used to upskill existing employees, and train new ones. Experts can connect with employees who are familiarising themselves with a machine or new technology, using an AR-capable smartphone or tablet to add physical annotations on video calls which will provide heightened levels of accuracy, rather than using verbal descriptions alone. This will provide a higher standard of training to ensure the technology is operated correctly. AR experiences like this mean businesses can develop more dynamic and cost-effective training programs for remote employees.
- Employees can also use AR for technical support, as it allows experts to see the problem through their eyes. By connecting through video sessions, technicians can use these newer features to help identify the problem and guide the person on-site to solve it faster than ever.
5. Stay safe online
- As well as learning about remote working technologies, businesses also need to ensure that they are sharing regular reminders about how to stay safe online. Protect your business' data by using security measures to prevent malicious attacks.This should include
- Anti-virus software being standardised on all company machines
- Remote access software which will allow employees to work without the data ever leaving the company server
- Compulsory training sessions in online safety, especially as it can be harder to explain the importance of keeping systems regularly updated over a company-wide email
6. Stay healthy
- Working in the home office every day can be distracting, especially when you have housemates, kids, or pets. Just as a home computer should be a mirror of the one you use in the office, you should have the basics of an office at home. A table that works as a good desk, or a lap tray with a cushion to keep your laptop from overheating, and an ergonomically designed chair. If you can, borrow a mouse and external keyboard from the office so that you don't have to use the laptop all day.
- People are actually more productive when they work from home, according to a Stanford study, but it's important not to overwork yourself. Prioritise maintaining your mental and physical health. Take breaks to go for a walk and prepare meals that give you a balanced diet.
The UK, and much of the rest of the world, is starting to reopen its doors, but that shouldn't mean it's time for remote work to end. While we're sure most of us are excited to go back to the workplace and see our colleagues in person, the past few months have shown a positive response to working from home regularly. There is also a health and safety element to bear in mind, as for many countries the pandemic has not come to an end, and local lockdowns will continue to come into play until then.Surveys such as Owl Labs found that even in 2018, 55 percent of respondents said they would start looking for another job if they were unable to work remotely.
Based on those responses, it's reasonable to assume that now most workers have had a taste of remote work, it will become as important as holidays or bonuses when it comes to hiring and retaining employees. In fact, most business leaders already believe remote work will increase compared to pre-2020 levels, according to a 2020 Gartner survey. Using this opportunity to make remote work part of your company culture could make you stand out amongst competitors, and make it easier to recruit the next generation of star employees.