Coming through the pandemic has dramatically changed the business world. Pre-pandemic, companies were going through strategic cloud adoptions and had most employees working from the office.
Before the pandemic, only 17% of the U.S. workforce worked remotely full time. This of course has all changed post the COVID lockdowns, and companies are now completely reliant on cloud solutions for the most part. Having a remote workforce has gone from an anomaly to the norm.
Post pandemic, 53% of American employees work from home 3 or more days per week.
Managing a remote workforce is a new learning curve for most businesses in Silicon Valley and the rest of the country. You have to take certain things into consideration that are unique to a telecommuting environment, such as keeping employees productive when they’re not working at the office, mitigating feelings of isolation, and expanding cybersecurity policies to include an expanded network.
There’s no reason your company can’t excel with your remote team. If you employ certain best practices, you may find that employee morale and your profitability go up with the transition to at-home workers.
Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams
Equip Employees As You Would at the Office
A mistake that many companies make is allowing their employees to work from home, but not giving them the same tools that they have at the office. Just because your processes are cloud-based doesn’t mean your remote team can “make do” with a personal computer.
It’s important to provide employees with the same tools and IT support as you would if they were working in your building. This includes things such as:
- A business desktop or laptop and display
- VoIP headset or desk phone
- Cloud software tools
- Managed IT and help desk support
- Printer (if needed)
- Paper, printer ink, etc. (any office supplies they may need for work)
Secure Endpoints & Cloud Access
With employees working from several different networks and no longer all being on the same Wi-Fi, it’s vital that you beef up your endpoint and cloud security.
Remote employees have been a major target for hackers, and unsecured remote teams are one of the reasons that malware attacks increased 358% in 2020.
An endpoint management system is vital to ensuring you keep track of device updates and security patches for airtight network security. Cloud access management is another critical component of a secure remote team. Make sure you have tactics in place like multi-factor authentication and other zero-trust security methods.
Make Communication A Top Priority
You need to emphasize and facilitate communication for remote teams more so than you do in an office environment. People don’t have those daily interactions like passing each other in the hall, brainstorming in the breakroom, etc.
Use team messaging and communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams that are designed to facilitate short interactions between remote employees throughout the day as well as longer video meetings.
Incorporate Offline Connections to Strengthen Company Culture
It’s important to still bring everyone together from time to time to strengthen your corporate culture and help build those personal relationships that power a happy and healthy team. While video conferencing is great, it can’t completely replace in-person interactions.
If employees are spread out over a large geographic area, then you may plan to get together once a year. If people are closer, then you may want to plan IRL (in real life) gatherings once per quarter to build stronger relationships between your staff.
Balance Oversight with Trust
One of the first things that companies will think of when they consider management for a remote team is, “How can we make sure they’re working as they should be?”
While it’s important to have task and productivity management in place, you also need to balance that with trust, especially for employees that have been with you for a while and have already proven themselves. If you are micromanaging and have stringent controls in place for remote teams, it can backfire with employees feeling they’re not trusted even though they may actually be putting in more hours because they’re not commuting.
Look into tools like Microsoft Productivity Score for ways to improve productivity without being so restrictive that you actually hurt innovation and morale.
Set Clear Expectations for Remote Teams
Miscommunication can lead to problems with remote teams. You can’t just assume that employees will know what you expect of them when they start working remotely.
Put clear expectations in place upfront for things like hours they are to work, how much flexibility they have to set their schedule, the cloud apps they are allowed to use for work, etc.
Take Advantage of Tools for Remote Team Wellbeing & Productivity
Software manufacturers are all over the hybrid workforce and are building tools to help companies manage their remote teams more effectively.
Explore tools like Microsoft Viva for Teams and other tools that are designed to enable connectivity and wellbeing for remote teams and help managers identify any potential problems proactively.
Don’t Skip Those Little Office Celebrations
Many offices have little mini celebrations for things like someone’s birthday or work anniversary. These types of events help build your corporate culture and make employees feel they’re part of a larger family, rather than just a cog in the machine.
Just because you can’t share cake in person, don’t give these up because you have a remote team. Take the initiative to send a birthday cookie or other treat to a remote team member and then have a video call with the team for 15-20 minutes or so for a virtual celebration.
Transform Your Technology to Support Remote & Hybrid Teams
GEEK911 can help your Silicon Valley area company put the pieces in place for a productive, secure, and fully supported remote workforce.
Schedule a consultation by calling 1-866-433-5411 or reach us online.