If you come to a point where you can’t come to the office for a period of time, you should prepare yourself in advance. Put in place a structure that will enable you and your team to stay connected, and continue working from home or any other place. Luckily enough, existing technologies like collaboration software and remote access software allow efficient remote work.
Now more than ever, with the coronavirus gone pandemic, more and more companies are introducing remote work for their employees. That’s why now is a good time to start planning work-from-home guidelines and rules.
We’re all in the same boat here, so at ISL Online we have recently prepared an action plan. In fact, we have years of experience with remote work and work from home, as a part of our team is regularly working from afar. So, we were able to update and extend our already existing policies. We’re happy to share our experience.
Put remote work in practice
First of all, if you’re like ISL Online and already have a telework policy, you’d want to take that as a basis and update it. If you have never practiced work from home, you may start now by allowing some of your team to work remotely. This way you’ll be able to learn the pain-points and work them out on time.
Specify guidelines and rules
Establish clear rules and processes that must be followed when working from home, and communicate them with your employees. Define reasons and situations which demand work from home, set expectations about working hours, determine how employees will report on their work progress and decide the day and time of obligatory follow-up meetings to hold remote employees accountable for their goals and deadlines.
Provide equipment and internet connection
Make sure you and your team all have appropriate equipment at home, computers, headphones, appropriate internet access and so forth.
If you’ll be working remotely for a limited amount of time in response to the coronavirus emergency, then you don’t need a top-notch computer. An ordinary or even secondhand computer will serve you well. You’ll only need it to connect to your office computer using remote access software (we explain how below). You will need a reliable and fast internet connection. We would recommend avoiding working on a plain laptop and get yourself a monitor, keyboard and mouse.
Arrange unattended access to your office computers
Install remote access software on your office computer(s) to make it accessible from anywhere in the world. Choose a reliable and secure remote access provider, which won’t charge you based on the number of users or workstation installations. Go for cloud-based technology and mobile-friendly software.
Secure access through RDP connection without using a VPN
You don’t have to set up the VPN to be able to use your RDP access. ISL Online allows you to easily route Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol or Secure Shell (SSH) sessions through a secure tunnel and connect to unattended computers running in the remote network without using a VPN or making any firewall changes. The best thing is you can set this up in minutes.
Encourage team collaboration and communication
By nature, people are social beings. So, it is important to keep the team connected and stay in touch. Plan to get everyone together on a conference call once a week. Provide communication and collaboration tools to your team so they can continue to work together on their projects, and organize one-on-one or group meetings to brainstorm when necessary. If you’re using ISL Online software, you might be interested to know that beside its main feature, secure remote access, it also allows you to start a video call, web conference or live chat conversation.
Maintain the trust
Being physically distant, remote work brings in a different dynamic than the office work. Inevitably, management loses a certain measure of control. That’s why it is very important to stick to existing rhythms and rituals that you were used to in the office through regular meetings, chats and phone calls. Report your progress, so you all know what each of you is working on. Use the same messaging channels to share an occasional joke and relax for a few minutes. It’s important to overcome the initial anxiety and build a sense of reciprocal trust with the team.
Talk to your HR
If telework lasts for a longer period of time, discuss with your human resources department whether specific terms should be added into the existing contract of employment.
One last piece of advice, when working from home, find the most appropriate place in your house or apartment to work in. You have to feel comfortable and you have to be able to maintain the focus. So make sure you keep all the things (and beings) that distract you outside of that place. In fact, once you get used to working from home, you will most likely become more productive than at the office. Higher productivity is indeed one of the top benefits researches studying remote work have proven.