As the pandemic continues, many businesses face difficult choices in terms of whether to open up or stick to a remote strategy. The good news is that remote work has been tested on an unprecedented scale in recent months. Now, businesses that want to leverage this model already have a variety of best practices for maximizing remote team productivity.
Whether you commit to a fully remote workforce or opt for a flexible office/work-from-home hybrid, you can use the following four strategies to boost remote team productivity:
- Deploy Collaboration Technologies: From videoconferencing tools to instant messaging platforms to project management software, you can use a variety of collaboration technologies to boost remote team productivity. If you’re still using the technologies you used to quickly shift to remote work at the start of the pandemic, you might benefit from reviewing different platforms and solutions. Investing in easy to deploy, streamlined technologies across your organization can increase your team’s long-term productivity, especially when they currently use multiple tools with overlapping capabilities.
- Ensure Employees Have the Right Hardware: In addition to having the right tools like collaboration software, remote team productivity also depends on employees having the right hardware to work from home efficiently. For example, you may want to check that employees have reliable, secure routers at home, or give them ethernet cables to ensure they have a consistently fast internet connection.
- Clarify Work Styles: Beyond ensuring you have the right hardware and software in place, you should also spend time clarifying the types of work styles that deliver optimal remote team productivity. For example, some companies use synchronous communication styles, which include expecting employees to respond to messages in real time and be online at the same time as one another. Other companies with more disparate workforces or employees who prefer working independently could benefit from using asynchronous communication, where employees get their work done on their own schedule. Still, you should set expectations, for example, that emails will be responded to within one business day, rather than leaving the day-to-day workflows completely open-ended.
- Make Security a Priority, Not a Hindrance: Without employees being in the office every day, your security risks could increase if you do not take proper protections. However, you don’t want to use technologies or policies that are so restrictive that they end up significantly hurting remote team productivity. Instead, using tools like Cisco Umbrella and Duo provides an easy way for companies to extend security protections to both on- and off-network devices. Cisco Umbrella uses DNS-level defenses, among others, so an employee could work relatively unencumbered. Yet if they accidentally visited a malicious site, for example, Umbrella could block the threat before an attack takes hold. Cisco Duo makes multi-factor authentication quick and seamless for users.
Prepare for the Future of Remote Work
Although the shift to remote work has been sudden, the number of companies that have been able to enjoy remote team productivity has been encouraging. By following these four strategies, you can help your own team stay productive too.
Going forward, even after the pandemic ends, more companies will likely use remote work strategies, at least in a partial capacity. Learn more about what the future workplace could look like with a hybrid remote workforce.