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The role of technology in remote working

Remote Working has in the recent past transformed the perception of how employers and employees engage in the delivery of services. It is now not uncommon at home to see parents and their young children engrossed in working and reading in an environment that is difficult to replicate in the modern office. But due to teleconferencing and telework, technology has advanced to the point where some businesses thrive with completely remote teams.

Part of the reason why employers were resistant to the notion of remote working was the challenge of managing team deliverables remotely. As well as ensuring teams delivered on the tasks they were assigned. However, there was a slow shift in the mindset of some companies to the notion of remote working. It began to be an acceptable way of life for employers and employees.

The COVID-19 pandemic which began in China in late 2019 could permanently shift working patterns as companies are forced to embrace remote working by the pandemic. Most, if not all employers have had to make drastic adjustments in their workplace. So as to allow most of their employees to be able to work from home.

This has meant organizations have had to invest in new technologies to keep employees and their managers engaged in delivering. Despite these difficult circumstances that have become the new normal for many businesses.

What Technology do you need to work from home?

Whether your employees are working remotely one day per week or full-time, it’s important to ensure that they are set up properly with the right tools, so they are productive. Technology companies such as Slack, Microsoft, Google and many others say they are ready to support businesses. As a matter of fact, Slack is offering free resources. There is a lot of information on remote working. We summarise here some of the best tips to make it work for you.

The following links are a guide to some of the available technology tools and resources. These would enable a business of any size to facilitate remote working for its employees:

a) Zoom for video conferencing,

b) Slack or Microsoft Teams for group chats

c) Trello for project management

These are tools that allow real-time communication amongst members working towards the same goals. They allow them to communicate in real-time

Other factors to consider for effective remote working

1. Set the ground rules

It is important that employers spell out the ground rules. So that employees are aware of what  they need to do within the remote working context. Ensure employees have the appropriate equipment. Such as a laptop, as well as network access, passcodes, and instructions for remote login, including two-factor authentication.

2. Encourage employees to set up a functional workspace

Not everyone has a designated home office, but it’s critical to have a private, quiet space for one to work. Encourage staff to separate their work area from their personal spaces and use it just for work, not for other activities.

3. Get the internet speed you need

If employees have kids and you have not restricted the internet to office use only, kids FaceTime and PlayStation habits may slow the connection and download speeds. Moving as close as possible to the Wi-Fi router can help (distant devices tend to draw on bandwidth), or you can consider asking them to switch to Ethernet. They will likely need a dongle since laptops don’t have Ethernet ports these days, and if they have laptops with one, they need to plug it in directly to their laptop through an Ethernet cable to connect their computer to their router.

4. Encourage Use of phone Apps

With advancements in technology, employees could be encouraged to use phone Apps to make calls over Wi-Fi as opposed to calling on credit, this is because you’ve already paid for the Wi-Fi and the calls will be longer and free.

5. Encourage employees to minimize distractions

Gently encourage staff to stick to their productivity Apps as opposed to scrolling through social media every time. They should let those around them be aware of their schedule or keep away from them as they could distract them from your project.

Depending on the employee’s engagement levels, you could consider investing in a productivity tool to enable you to monitor employee engagement remotely.

6. Communicate clearly and often

Communication is now more critical than ever before. To begin with, set clear expectations and communicate these clearly to the various teams working remotely.

Ensure teams communicate about their schedules and any work challenges with their Line Managers/ colleagues to ensure they remain on track to deliver the required output.

You could consider a biweekly or monthly virtual team meeting on ongoing project updates as leadership briefings are critical in fostering a culture of communication and team synergy. Effective communication consequently eases business operations.

Finally, remote working is here to stay going by the experience of many firms around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic. There are companies wondering why they worked in the office in the first place – We included.

With the upsurge in remote working around the world, if you have not seriously considered investing in remote working, we encourage you to stop playing a wait and see game. After Covid-19, remote working is highly likely to be the new normal. Get on the bus before it’s too late.

Get started today!