“If your IT doesn’t work, working from home won’t work either!”
REMOTE WORKING IS IN THE MOMENT
We are all familiar with the BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) practice which has pioneered the way for remote working. But today we are in a new era of remote working for businesses with employees having the ability to work from anywhere and at any time of the day or night – providing they have a stable internet connection.
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) businesses across the globe have turned to remote home working as a temporary solution to improve productivity, maintain customer relationships and remain operational. While the idea of working from home might appeal to many employees and also reduce company overheads, remote working comes with its challenges. These challenges are professional, personal and IT-related.
REMOTE WORKING FUNDAMENTALS
Here are the basics of home working that you should take on board.
When you work in an office, you have everything that you need. High-speed internet connection, wi-fi, stationery and other supplies are all taken care of. Working from home is no different. You need access to the same tools to effectively do the same job. To ensure that you have all the tools you need will probably require some extra planning and foresight on your part. You won’t have time to make a quick trip to the office or the store or wait for your ISP to provide a better connection speed.
Even if you are accustomed to a hot desk working environment, the plain truth is that you always need a space to work efficiently. Set up a designed workspace at home that is tidy, uncluttered and conducive to work. The area should also be appropriate for teleconferencing and make sure that the workspace is well-lit and free of distractions. Your home ‘office’ should not be located in an area in which you would normally relax.
When you work from home, set a routine and stick to it. A set routine will make you more efficient, creates structure, saves time and breaks bad habits. A structured and adhered to routine means that you will accomplish your daily tasks much more quickly. Without a routine, you’ll either be working much less because of home distractions or soon e burnt out from working 18-hour days.
Setting your boundaries is as important as sticking to your routine. Remember, you are working from home and this does not mean that you are at home, as such. Clearly set the ground rules with family members – you are not there to chat, run errands or help with the kids’ homework. Your family and friends need to respect the fact that you are actually in the office. That said, try to find a quiet and out of the way workspace.
HOME WORKING PRODUCTIVITY
Working from home can be just as productive as being in the office, if not more so. Here are some tips that will surely enhance your remote working productivity.
When you are working from home daily, it can’t be from the kitchen counter or being a couch potato. When remote working is your routine, then you need to go ergonomic. Your work environment and your workstation need to be on point. Use an external monitor that is conveniently placed at eye level. Use a keyboard and external mouse and keep your hands and wrists healthy. Ask your line manager to supply an ergonomic chair and no slouching – posture is important.
To be productive and efficient when you are working remotely, ensure that your calendar is always accurate and up to date. This will circumvent any issues of someone in the office wondering where you are or questioning what you are doing. If you are on a work call or taking a 5-minute breather, indicate a ‘busy’ status on your calendar.
When individuals initially work from home, they may feel under pressure to be available 247. Buying into this train of thought is counterproductive. Don’t be afraid to take a 10-minute break, go for a walk or have a bite to eat. Just be transparent about your actions. When you are working, go all in. But equally important is to remember to quit when the end of the day has come. A tired, weary mind is a drain on productivity.
Having a daily to-do list is critical for remote home working. Your list is intrinsic to structure and your daily routine. Without your annoying colleagues with whom to communicate, time can be expansive when you are home alone. Decide what you will do for the day and prioritize from most important downwards. Before you shut the lid on your laptop for the day, prepare your to-do list for the next day. You’ve won half the battle when you know where to start in the morning.
RAPID DEPLOYMENT IT SOLUTION
If your business is in the situation of remote home working being the only viable option for continuing operations, you need to be agile, proactive and responsive. You should be able to seamlessly move from the office to home. Here’s how to enable a rapid-deployment IT solution for remote home working.
Before moving too quickly from the office to home, assess all your IT needs – yes, all! Use these questions to assess your remote working IT needs.
- Can you use your own laptop, or do you need your work workstation?
- Do you need a docking station?
- Are you dependent on several monitors for optimum productivity?
- If yes, can you easily remove them from the office, and do you have space at home?
- Do you have a strong, stable internet connection?
- Do you have remote access to the company VPN?
- Do you have all the adapters, chargers and cables that you need?
Get IT right
If your IT doesn’t work or isn’t the right fit, then you won’t be able to work effectively. Once you have assessed your IT needs, plan how you will successfully relocate from the office environment to that of your home. Once you are settled in, it could be difficult to change or modify any hardware or software. Seek the support and advice of any in-house IT or your outsourced IT partner. Getting your IT right at home requires thought and rigorous planning.
While 247 365 might sound hackneyed, the expression still holds true for gainful home working. Just as in the office, at home you should have the ability to enable remote access to your workstation for troubleshooting purposes. You will need to have the same access to your company drive and intranet. All Microsoft apps such as Outlook and Teams must be fully functional. You could also invest in a hosted desktop solution in which your IT infrastructure is replicated as a cloud computing solution.
The integrity of any IT infrastructure is underpinned by tried and tested cybersecurity practices. And working from home means that you will need to apply additional measures to ensure that your company network is not compromised. If you are accessing the network via BYOD, make sure that your device is protected and patched with the latest cybersecurity software. If you are using company equipment, you need to be as vigilant at home as you are in the office. Don’t open email attachments, don’t click on links and use strong passwords – you know the story.
You and your employees should understand the implications of what it means to work from home. You could educate your staff on the importance of these factors while they are working remotely.
- time management
- effective communication
- adherence to office protocol
- reporting procedures
- work and location transparency
- proactive planning
- still being a team player
“Creating a secure and remote work culture is easier than you think.”
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