How to make a remote business that works

Remote or hybrid working is becoming the new norm. Here’s how to ensure your business makes the most of it.

Even before the pandemic, remote working was on the rise, but COVID-19 turned things up a notch. Overnight, the way we work was transformed and all the signs suggest things will never go back to the way they were. Remote work may have been tough on some, but it showed employers firstly that it could be done and that it could be beneficial. A study by Mercer found that 70% of employers would be keeping flexible working as normal. Employees loved it too with most saying they want to continue to work at least part of the week from home even when things go back to normal.

All of which means that for a business to be attractive to employees, it has to get to grips with remote work.

  1. Plan ahead

The success of business in shifting their workforce offsite overnight is one of the most remarkable things about the pandemic. With little or no planning, businesses completely overhauled the way they worked. Some were further down this road than others, but even so it was a massive change of infrastructure, set up and mindset.

Even so, this was done on the hoof. Problems were addressed on the fly and everyone was making things up as they went along. It may have worked in the short term, but in the longer term businesses need to plan.

You should set clear guidelines and policies so employees know what’s expected of them and they have resources to use if they need more information. How you plan will vary from organisation to organisation. Whatever approach you take it’s important to assess your needs and put everything in place.

  1. Security

Remote working may have been a pleasant surprise for some employees and businesses. For cyber criminals it was Christmas come early. All of a sudden, tightly controlled security networks became more spread out. Data became more mobile with huge amounts of highly sensitive information being transferred online. For those who hadn’t taken necessary security precautions all that data was at risk. The suddenness of the move meant many businesses were sitting ducks. A 2020 report found that most businesses were unprepared for the cyber risks with remote working.

Many felt that a breach would be more or less inevitable. With staff working in different locations from various unsecured devices, protecting the network became incredibly difficult. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that most people use the same passwords for their home and work accounts.

Businesses are playing catch up. They must firstly establish secure protocols to ensure that this new spread out network is as secure as possible. That could involve ensuring any work is done using official devices which have been secured. In an ideal world, IT managers will want a clear understanding of all the devices which are connecting into their systems.

The biggest threat, though, will still be your employees. All it takes is one person to click on an infected link and you could be in trouble. You can minimise your risks by providing employees with education about the threats and establishing access controls to ensure that everyone only has access to those parts of the systems they need to do their job.

Office equipment

One of the biggest impacts of the pandemic has been the equipment people have been using. Indeed there have even been examples of employees pining for the state of the art, multi-screen set ups they have in the office. Compared to that a basic home PC or laptop might seem a little rustic.

The problem is that this technology – or lack thereof – can hinder productivity. With most of your staff working from home, you have no control over how fast or powerful their computers are or how quick their internet connections are.

Some companies have invested in equipment for their employees’ home office. This might include buying an office-use computer or upgrading their home broadband. Aside from the practical benefits of ensuring everyone is working on the same high quality equipment, it can also become a perk with people being given allowances to set up their home office. Employees like to work off the latest technology and will value those businesses which provide it.

Establish clear communication

One thing will be critical – communication. The good news is that, thanks to digital technology, there are more ways to connect and collaborate than ever before. Some IT providers have even spotted this gap in the market and provided specialist collaboration tools designed especially with COVID-19 in mind.

Video calls have become a regular part of life and cloud computing tools make it easier to collaborate on the same documents remotely. Some companies have even overhauled their meeting space technologies to make it easier for office based staff to hold meetings with home based employees such as larger screens to bring back an element of face to face interaction.

From the perspective of managers, they want to find ways to maintain the oversight and support they had in the office environment. In normal times this would be relatively easy. You can simply walk around the office and see where people are and if they need any support. The biggest fear for managers with remote work that it would be more difficult to check people were doing their work, and were at their desks on time.

There have been some companies which use monitoring devices to check screen time, but these can cause privacy issues and will also create friction with staff. A more effective approach is to establish a more qualitative framework in which you continue to monitor staff output.

Over all, remote work provides a huge number of opportunities for everyone involved. For employees it’s a chance to balance work around their social and family lives. For employers it can be a chance to be more flexible and perhaps cut down on expensive office space. By planning ahead, and ensuring you have the best equipment and measures in place you can ensure you get the most out of the new era of remote work.

Free business banking that’s simple, secure, and helps you focus on what you do best

Whether you’re on-the-go or working from home, you can easily access your bank in a way that suits you. Get started for free today.

Apply in Minutes From the App

Enter a uk mobile number and we will send you a link to get the app

What we offer

What we offer