The COVID-19 pandemic is something you likely never had to plan for as a business owner. With stores and offices closing around the country, many businesses have been left with no choice but to transition to remote working.
Whether you’re self-employed, managing a team or somewhere in between, working from home comes with a range of challenges. But with proper tools and management strategies, you can hit the ground running in no time.
Here, Betty Hassan, money expert at Finder, shares her thoughts on how to best set employees up to work remotely.
Choose your means of communication
Effective communication is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to remote working. Staff can only be reached digitally, which can come with a host of issues from dodgy Wi-Fi connections to inbox overload.
No matter the size of your team or workforce, a clear communication policy is essential. Employees should know when it is appropriate to message, phone, email or video call each other. There should be clear boundaries around appropriate contact hours. It’s important that staff are aware of when they are (and aren’t) expected to respond to work messages.
Ensure digital security
Data and device security should be prioritised when working from home. Depending on the business, some employees may be provided with company computers while others may need to rely on their own devices. Each option comes with its own set of risks.
Staff using their own devices may inadvertently bring viruses to the company network. Those using company software may accidentally download malware on to their device. To mitigate the risks of each, your company IT team should ensure that sufficient virus protection software is in place. This includes firewalls, two-factor authentication (2FA), encryption and anti-virus software.
If you’re self-employed or your business doesn’t have an IT team, it’s important to still have basic security measures in place:
- Ensure secure passwords are in place across all accounts and logins.
- Avoid the use of public Wi-Fi. This may compromise the use of corporate information.
- Log out of accounts when finished.
- Consider using a virtual private network (VPN). This can ensure smooth connections for remote workers who prefer to work from public places.
- Remote-wipe solutions can also help by erasing the hard drives of any lost or stolen devices.
Set up your work space
As an employer, you should send a reminder to your team about the importance of a comfortable work space. You have a duty of care to your staff to ensure they are working safely and effectively.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the ideal office set-up. This can vary depending on the type of work you do. However, there are a few key pieces of equipment that help with your set-up:
- A good monitor: The larger the screen, the more multitasking you can do. You’ll also suffer less eye strain.
- Comfortable office chair: An ergonomic, adjustable chair can help to minimise the aches and pains.
- Fast Internet: You’ll be surprised how a modern router upgrade, a better plan or even some tricks to maximise bandwidth, can help with Internet speed.
- Headphones or speakers: You need to be able to block out distractions.
- Desk: Even if it’s something small that gets you off the kitchen table, a desk gives you a chance to distance yourself from other household members.
Keep staff engaged and motivated
Whether you’re self-employed or managing a team, motivation is important when working remotely. You want to ensure your team is staying productive without micromanaging. Below are some tips for encouraging motivation:
- Have clearly defined goals and objectives.
- Recognise good work. You may not be in the office, but this is no reason to let praise slide where it’s due.
- Encourage your team to take regular breaks and “switch off” from work at the end of the day.
- Maintain regular online contact with colleagues.
- Have daily catch-ups in the morning.
Content provided by Finder and presented by OnDeck Capital Australia Pty Ltd ABN 28 603 753 215 (“OnDeck”) for general information purposes only. Content may belong to or have originated from third parties and OnDeck takes no responsibility for the accuracy, validity, reliability or completeness of any information. Information current as at May 2020. You should not rely upon the material or information as a basis for making any business, financial or any other decisions. Loans issued in Australia are subject to the terms of a loan agreement issued by OnDeck. Loans are subject to lender approval. OnDeck® is a Registered Trademark. All rights reserved.