Based on a recent remote worker study, 30% of the US workforce was working remotely on a full-time basis in 2019. This was almost double the amount of 2018 and it was before the rapid spread of COVID-19. Even after the crisis period of the pandemic, we can expect the number of remote workers to remain elevated. That creates challenges for direct managers and IT teams. Here are a few things to make sure you’re doing to manage the expanding remote workforce.
- Communicate appropriately: Not all communication channels are created equal. Identify the most appropriate platforms for email, chatting, and teleconferencing. Security is always a concern and you want to be sure that you use the right platforms at the right time. For example, not all video conferencing is created equal. Know when to use highly secure platforms like MS Teams and Cisco WebEx and know when it’s ok to use more community based platforms like Zoom and Houseparty.
- Backup everything: Remote workers are likely storing files on local hard drives. This could mean having important information or confidential files compromise, lost or stolen. All files should be stored to a secure cloud server as part of a daily routine to ensure that you have a copy of everything.
- Control document sharing: Like teleconferencing and chatting platforms, make sure you have a policy, process, and approved platform for document sharing that is aligned with the sensitivity of your documents and the appropriate level of security. Open source solutions may seem easier to implement but that doesn’t make the right for all situations. Make sure workers know what to share and where.
- Stay secure: As more people access your servers and share information from a variety of devices and from an increased volume of remote locations, be sure you have a clear process in place for identifying users, controlling access, and monitoring all threats at all times.
- Stay connected: Schedule online social time, using video conferencing and webcams. How about a Zoom happy hour with your team?
- Manage expectations and communicate: Set clear priorities among your team and determine how you will track progress. How and when will you discuss status? Will you communicate with slack or email? Set standing times for video conference calls to check in and share progress.
- Get your technology in order: Make sure you’re following all company security protocols for accessing their networks and servers. If you’re video conferencing or chatting online, be sure to use the approved channels and software. Security is always a concern. You don’t want to find out months from now that you were responsible for enabling a malware attack.