Covid-19 also known as Coronavirus has played quite a number on the global economy in recent weeks. School districts, municipalities, and in some cases entire towns throughout the United States are closing for 2, 3, even 6 weeks to try and keep this tyrant at bay.
Business owners, particularly small business owners are finding themselves in a bit of a pinch. In general, this demographic historically has been a late adopter to embracing the remote workforce. There are typically a few key employees that are set up to work remotely but rarely are systems set up that easily allow this to scale for an entire organization.
The good news is that for many business types throughout the country with a few adjustments they can pivot and adapt their business to remain relevant and their staff working.
A New Day
One of the most important pieces with a remote workforce is communication and collaboration. These are things that can be taken for granted when working together day in and day out.
Hold Regular Staff Meetings
Make sure that each staff member is properly set up in their home office with a webcam and microphone. In a remote setting, it is imperative to have facetime with one another. This is non-negotiable to make sure that all staff members are regularly attending and participating in the meetings.
So much collaboration happens in everyday conversations around the office, the watercooler if you will. This personal connection can be the missing piece when creating a remote workforce. The key is to create a virtual watercooler. Applications such as Microsoft Teams or Slack are great ways to help facilitate this. You can create virtual channels or departments with different team members. It gives them a chance to kick around different ideas, have discussions, collaborate virtually. A great way to foster teamwork virtually.
The Nitty Gritty
Before Coronavirus became so engrained in our everyday conversations that topic for 2020 has been Cybersecurity. The truth is that cyber attacks on small businesses were at an all-time high before this occurred. We must always keep security in mind when creating an infrastructure that allows for a remote workforce.
VPN. Utilizing a Virtual Private Network for your staff to remote into the office needs to be one of the first things that your I.T. department or outsourced I.T. provider does for you. A virtual private network is a secured, encrypted network connection that allows your employees to safely access the network resources they need. Whenever performing tasks for the company, the VPN should be used to cloak confidential information from those that have no business to it.
Remote Work Devices. Will they be utilizing their own equipment, or will you be providing? If you are creating a BYOD environment there are additional issues to consider. As that computer is on the Internet you will want to up the security. Having the ability to manage the devices and anti-virus for all the employees working remotely will be key as well.
As an employer, you need the ability to monitor what is being accessed, uploaded, downloaded, by all your staff. Additionally, strong backup solutions need to be put into place to ensure that all data is safe. As an employer of a remote workforce, it is extremely important to have strong Cyber Security processes in place to protect this constantly moving and changing data that is your intellectual property.
Creating a remote workforce is something that many companies are having to figure out by necessity. Many companies may find a hybrid version of what is being created right now out of necessity will be what they choose to drive the business into the future.