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Remote working in the long term

Five steps for sustainable and successful remote working


At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, many small businesses did a fantastic job of getting, or simply keeping, themselves up and running, by putting the basic tools in place for remote working.

But wouldn’t it be great to ensure that your business isn’t just surviving, but thriving, with the tools to work productively in the long term?

Here’s a few ways to ensure your employees are set up and empowered to work remotely – and happily – for the foreseeable future.

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Remote working in the long term

1.  Reassessing your employees’ remote set-ups

Businesses have quickly got up to speed with the essentials of working remotely, which start with a laptop and internet connection. But it’s now worth reassessing – and refining – home set-ups.

  • Employees may have used their own personal laptops or smartphones initially. However, supplying staff with professional devices can improve data security.
  • Better equipment can help maintain employee wellbeing: providing the right monitor, mouse and a separate keyboard will help your employees to design a comfortable work station that fits their individual needs.
  • Poor internet connectivity might seem like a minor annoyance at first, but over time this can hinder productivity. Products like GigaCube for business, which provides access to WiFi using Vodafone’s 5G and 4G networks, can provide more reliable connectivity for everyone in your team.
  • And critically, you should ensure that everyone has the cybersecurity basics in place – to keep data and systems safe.

The best way to learn what your team is missing is to speak to each of them directly. This way you can understand where the gaps are and come up with a plan to fix them.

2.  Rethinking your business processes

Equally, it’s now worth revisiting whatever remote business processes you have been able to set up so far. Which functions are working well? Which could improve?

Speaking with managers and conducting whole-company surveys can help to provide insight and potential solutions.

Where there are challenges, consider: is it a communication problem? Could we make better use of the technology we have – or do we need new tools? Are there other ways we could be supporting staff productivity and engagement?

This can help to inform planning for the months ahead, especially as teams begin to return to the workplace.

3.  Supporting staff with technical issues remotely

IT issues are bound to be more common with a remote workforce, partly because everyone will have slightly different set-ups. How can you optimise your remote technical support?

  • Create a set of resources addressing the most common remote working issues, as a first port of call for employees.
  • Encourage and support staff in trying to address issues themselves by explaining fixes.
  • Where support is needed from an IT expert, try using a remote connection tool to implement fixes directly.
  • Consider running a drop-in session once a week so staff can discuss less urgent IT issues that might be hindering productivity.

4.  Onboarding new team members efficiently

As a business, you might be reaching a point where you’re onboarding new employees – or perhaps someone joined just as you were moving to remote working. Although it’s difficult when you can’t meet in person, there are ways to streamline the process and ensure that team members get what they need:

  • Create a checklist of key equipment so you can easily assess what new employees already have – and what they need.
  • Organise a 30-minute ‘remote working induction session,’ to bring new starters up to speed on the set-up and talk them through your systems.
  • Remember that using cloud-based information sharing tools, like Office 365, can make it easier to point new staff to one location for the information they need – rather than emailing multiple attachments.

Ensure you provide links to online training for your key apps – most software vendors have a trove of resources.

5.  Staying connected

Communication tools can be powerful for both collaboration and maintaining a strong company culture.

Virtual coffee breaks, ‘kitchen chats’ with people outside your direct team, and even company socials can help to keep everyone positive and engaged.

Learn more about the tools and practices that can keep your team engaged and productive in our next article, Maintaining productivity with a remote workforce

Long-term success

Remote working has become a necessity for many businesses. But it can offer greater flexibility, creativity and convenience, if implemented in the right way.

Taking the time to reassess remote working patterns now will support business continuity as we navigate the ‘new normal,’ and continue to benefit organisations in the future.

For more support discover our free business support helpline and ​speak to one of our Business Advisers by phone, contact form or web chat.
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