Almost 12 months on from when most of the nation initially began working remotely, many users are still doing business from the comfort of their own homes.
It’s looking like this could be the new normal for many businesses all across the UK, continuing even after workplace restrictions are lifted. This isn’t a bad thing though, in fact you may find your team works better remotely – for one they’re probably getting more sleep as they no longer have to wake up early for the drive in.
So how do you better accommodate a remote workforce? What tools or practices can you put in place to make sure your team are able to work efficiently when they’re miles apart?
For a start, establish communication
One thing that will be starkly different for your team is their ability to interact with one another. In the office they’d be able to talk amongst themselves at their desks, in meeting rooms, or a communal area – now, however you’ll need to find a new means for conversation and discussion.
This is where IM (instant messaging) services come in. Apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams are perfect ways to allow easy and efficient communication for your staff. This allows them to type messages to each other, as well as do both audio and video calls.
The next thing you’ll want to address here is phone calls. If you have an office-based phone system, then you’ll need your users to connect in to your office network via a VPN – while this solution works, it’s not great for the long-term as depending on the internet speed in your office and your users’ home internet speeds, you may encounter a variety of audio issues.
A cloud-based phone system, however, doesn’t require your users to VPN into the office & doesn’t put strain on the office & home networks of your users. Instead this kind of phone system can be run across handsets, laptops, mobile phones and tablets, giving your users greater freedom of how and where they take their calls.
Next, you’ll want to address comfort & ergonomics
Chances are, a lot of your users took their laptop and their phone home with them & nothing else. This means they’re likely not sat in an ergonomic chair, potentially hunched over a makeshift desk & using either the integrated screen of their laptop.
Posture and accessibility issues can lead to all sorts of ailments, including RSI, back pain, migraines, eye strain, stress and more. You can help to mitigate these by simply enabling a better home-working environment for your team.
This means ensuring that your team have access to the following:
- A comfortable chair with adjustable height and back support
- A mouse & keyboard combo that means the user doesn’t have to hunch over a laptop keyboard and trackpad.
- A method of either attaching external monitors to a stand that allows the monitors to sit at eye level, or a laptop stand that puts the laptop screen at eye level.
So, what next?
That’s it for this week, but keep an eye peeled on our newsfeed for next week’s continuation of this article where we look further into how you can enable your users to work from home.