Although many industries have been forced to quickly pivot to a remote workforce due to COVID-19, the shift is not a new one. Over the last five years remote work has seen a 44% growth, over the last decade that number is 91%.
Whether recent circumstances forced your business to transition to a remote workforce or it was already in the works, it’s vital that you fully embrace the change if you want to be successful. Here’s how.
From Zoom to Slack to Office 365, there is no shortage of applications available for facilitating remote work and maintaining normal levels of productivity. The software stack that we recommend to our clients is the Microsoft Office 365 platform. Not only is it more secure than some of the other free options (no more Zoombombing) but it fully integrates every aspect of the work day, from email to document storage.
A common misconception of Office 365 is that all you’re getting is Outlook and Word. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Within the O365 platform you have access to entire portfolio of Microsoft applications.
Teams combines the instant messaging and rooms feature of Slack with the video conferencing of Zoom. On top of this, document storage is baked in via SharePoint – no more searching through your email inbox for that one document from last month.
Collaboration functionalities are baked into Office 365 (here are some examples), but it goes beyond just the software being used. The modern conference room must be outfitted with proper technology for conducting meetings in-person and virtually.
Imagine a scenario where a law firm wants to hold a 20-person meeting but only has a ten-person conference room available. By investing in video conference-enabled meeting spaces, ten employees could be physically present in the room, while the other ten meet from their office or from home.
The other piece of this is ensuring that employees are provided with the proper audio-visual equipment to conduct business from home. That means that if they have an external monitor at the office, they need one at home. It’s also important to provide USB camera that allows for a visually pleasing camera angle. Nothing is worse than a camera pointed right up someone’s nose.
One of the more overlooked aspects of office life that remote employees miss out on is the informality and culture building that being physically present allows. It’s vital to maintain the human element of having coworkers, even if you work full-time from home.
Here some ideas:
- If you do a happy hour at the office, include a virtual option so everyone can join if they please.
- Be very intentional about asking people how they are doing – try to replicate causal water cooler chat.
- Don’t start every single meeting by jumping directly to the agenda, start by going around with some lighthearted conversation.
- If lunch is being catered for an office meeting that remote workers are attending, order food for them as well – whether that means ordering them GrubHub or providing a gift card to a local restaurant.
The current emphasis on enabling a remote workforce may feel new, but it is a trend that has been growing over the last decade. By embracing it now, you will be setting your business up for success down the road.
If you have any additional questions about further enabling your remote workforce or would like to learn more setting up Office 365, please let us know here or by emailing us at email@example.com.