With the global spread of the Covid-19, business leaders are encountering a common problem: How best to deploy, enable, and engage a remote workforce?
For over two decades, UST Global has been at the forefront of providing innovative solutions to common human challenges, including bridging physical distances to bring people together through virtual means. Indeed, our team members are dispersed all over the world, so remote workforce success is a business imperative.
Our experience has taught us that productive, motivated virtual teams lead to increased employee and client satisfaction.
Here are a few lessons that we have learned through the years, which may help you overcome the challenges of deploying your remote workforce.
Set clear communication protocols and channels to facilitate a clear and fluid exchange between team members when working remotely. From the beginning, foster a culture of collaboration and communication, as team members may have less opportunity for in-person knowledge sharing or social learning.
The additional focus on communication helps overcome the sense of isolation and offers opportunities for social and emotional interaction with coworkers.
Your workplace must adapt communication methods in order to ensure success. Invest in technology that promotes transparency and that also allows for face-to-face communication.
Reduce the threat of workforce isolation by deploying periodic virtual team meetings, as well as one-to-one check-ins. Face time is crucial in keeping the team actively engaged. To further bolster camaraderie, consider hosting informal, non-mandatory, virtual social gatherings, such as virtual book clubs.
Again, technology can come to the rescue in supporting collaboration. Email alone will not be sufficient for this. Collaboration tools should support instant, responsive, and flexible interactions.
Empower remote employees to make their own decisions, to connect and collaborate freely, and to test out new ideas.
Focus on cybersecurity
If your organization deals with sensitive data, remote work can be both risky and challenging. You might be concerned over the possibility of data leaks, or employees connecting to their home wireless networks or accessing their corporate accounts using unsecured public Wi-Fi.
Minimize potential cyber security risks by following specific guidelines. These include creating strong passwords for accounts, setting up two-factor authentication and firewalls, and using antivirus software and other secure methods of communication.
Invest in infrastructure
Having the right technology infrastructure in place is critical to the success of any remote working setup. Among other benefits, it will enable your employees to better communicate, promote collaboration, increase productivity, strengthen morale, and protect the company from threats, including those mentioned above.
Augment the business continuity plan
For any business, it is vital both to retain current customers while increasing your customer base. Remote work is a critical strategy to maintain business continuity. Since diminished productivity is a risk, establish clear policies and processes in place to ensure positive performance.
With remote work comes less control. It is next to impossible to manage and track everything that your remote employees do. On the other hand, your remote workers can also struggle with unplugging from their work, which may have a negative work-life balance and might result in burn-out.
These aspects can be tackled with the help of technology. They can help to prioritize your team’s tasks, providing frequent feedback to enable them to handle their workload.
Alexander Varghese is chief operating officer at UST Global. The views in this article are his own.