The ability to work from anywhere is no longer a luxury reserved for top executives – remote working is now an essential capability to enable business continuity. But developing a remote worker strategy is easier said than done, with teams being able to collaborate from home making up just a small piece of the puzzle.
Try these 25 tips from Avaya for remote working to boost your company's work-from-home (WFH) productivity and safeguard business continuity.
A written policy should already be in place that governs remote workers with clear and uniform rules. Focus on job responsibilities, organizational and departmental goals and objectives, customer impact, and employee's work performance.
Reinforce your policies and practices regarding protection of customer sensitive information. This is especially important for employees in customer-facing and customer support roles who may have access to sensitive data.
Protecting customers' sensitive data is and (always will be) the first priority. Support this by enabling automated software updates into the applications your remote workers use, without requiring any human intervention.
Some good workers may not be best suited to work-at-home, so be prepared to work around any inabilities to fill a certain role remotely. Be open to organizational changes, monitor performance, and promote the people who thrive in the new remote environment.
Ensure that your remote workers have sufficient internet access to connect to corporate resources. Many employees, but certainly not all, have internet connectivity that could be available for work use. For those who do not, you may need to provide connectivity for work use.
Based on your own experience, a written policy should tell employees what works, and spell out what you expect of their workspace. These guidelines should be carefully discussed with every remote worker. Almost any room can serve as an office but selecting the right work area is essential to success.
Remote workers generally need a hard phone or headset (noise canceling headset is best) and a computer. If your company provides the PC or otherwise enforces system requirements up front, your Help Desk will thank you later.
Remote workers need the same access to applications, tools, and peers as they do when in the office. For contact center agents, the same access to supervisors as in-office agents. And supervisors working remotely need access to their contact center management tools for their agents.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) eliminates the costs associated with analogue telephony — as well as toll charges for remote workers – but may require voice connectivity via or virtual-private network (VPN) support. Provide employees with easy-to-use documentation and job aids regarding how to log into remote network services like VPN, telephone services, etc., including password procedures.
Remote workers need access to the same subject matter experts and support as if in the office. "Presence" is a technology that is familiar to users of instant messaging, where a list of names is accompanied by icons indicating whether each person is logged in. Finding an expert for support should be just as easy for the remote worker as for the in-office worker.
Remote workers need to meet the same productivity goals as in-office workers. Predictable management check-in times are reassuring to remote workers. Remember to keep training and mentoring remote workers, and reward good performance.
With everyone working remotely, accountability becomes more important than ever. Recording meetings (and transcribing minutes in a timely fashion) is one way to ensure this – helping everyone work towards the same objectives.
Most organizations have access to huge amounts of cloud storage – whether it's through Avaya Spaces (which offers unlimited data storage space), or another provider. Put that online storage to good use and encourage your workers to keep everything stored on the cloud to make collaboration easier.
Cloud-based productivity solutions can solve business challenges quickly and at scale when used correctly. Enable your teams to trial solutions for their specific problem-sets – and support them if and when they need to roll them out more widely.
Colleagues may not come across in the same way through text or email as they do in person, so regular contact through audio and video helps keep a friendly tone of voice.
When speaking to colleagues over video, you can pick up on crucial body language that you won't see during a phone call. Video keeps your teams engaged and stops them slipping into bad habits.
When you have a team collaboration chat room, such as a Space hosted on Avaya Spaces, you can quickly flag issues and spot priority incidents, and respond to them quickly before they become big business problems.
For video-conferencing every now and then, built-in laptop cameras do the job just fine. But when video-collaboration becomes a daily and important part of working life, it's worth investing in a high-quality camera. The better your camera, the better you'll look to colleagues.
When working from home, you'll likely have to jump on a lot more conference calls. Keep your lines of communication clear with a high-quality microphone headset that carries your voice crisply over the line.
Stay professional and productive with a high-quality lighting set-up in your home office. You'll not only look better on video calls, but you'll also be more motivated and alert for completing work.
No longer working at the office doesn't mean your office no longer works for you. Enable remote access to your network and IT environment to ensure you're still getting the most out of on-premise technology.
With so many now working from home, demand will shift for the offerings in your product mix. Deploy resources accordingly, and work out how to streamline the processes in getting your in-demand offerings to market.
Some workers thrive in a remote environment, but others may struggle, so consider how you apply policies and procedures. Regular training and guidance is a key part of successfully introducing and managing homeworking or other forms of remote work.
Safety and security can be key issues for remote workers. Consider whether homes offer adequate security for both the employee and any equipment or other valuables, and have procedures in place, ensuring that remote workers know what to do in case of an emergency.
To keep video conference calls productive, have your teams follow simple rules that benefit everyone on the call. Actions like muting when not speaking, being on time, wearing work-appropriate clothing, framing the camera correctly, and paying attention to speakers can go a long way towards a successful video call.