During an emergency situation, where employees can no longer work from your usual office location, being able to ‘get up and running’ from a remote location is critical. 

Remote working allows your people to remain safe at home, allows communication between the team and customers, and – crucially – allows you to continue running your business and creating revenue. But how do you set up your team to become remote workers? And what are the key considerations to think about when working remotely in the cloud?

We’ve highlighted 5 key considerations to plan for when setting up remote working.

Key considerations of remote working

61% of global companies currently have some sort of remote working policy for their staff, according to a 2019 survey. But for remote working to be effective, your business needs to put some serious thought into the infrastructure, security, and culture around home-working.

  1. Use the right cloud-based software tools and IT hardware

To make remote working effective for your business, you’re going to need the right hardware and software to get your team connected up and working productively.

To set the right foundations for remote working:

  • Update your team’s laptops/tablets – so they’re using hardware with a fast processor, the most up-to-date operating system and with the speed needed for online working.
  • Check they have fast broadband at home – if your staff are using a sluggish 2Mbps connection to work from, they won’t achieve the right levels of productivity.
  • Use cloud-based tools to access company information – making it easy for staff to log into the firm’s tools from home and get working as quickly as possible.
  1. Be highly conscious of online security

You’re likely to have sensitive customer and business data on your network, so it’s absolutely critical to get your security set-up completely watertight.

To keep your data secure:

  • Use a VPN (virtual private network) and encryption – so your staff can always access the internet remotely through the most secure gateway, and with two tier authentication.
  • Don’t save sensitive data to local hard drives – and store all financial records in cloud accounting software such as Xero – so data can’t be lost with stolen laptops etc. 
  • Don’t work on classified projects in public spaces where you could be hacked via an insecure public wifi connection, or your screen could potentially be seen, and sensitive information compromised.
  1. Track your time and manage workflow online

When your team is remote you can’t keep track of their workflow in person. So it’s important that you have visibility of the projects they’re working on and the time being spent. 

To manage your workflow effectively:

  • Use online workflow management software – and track the tasks, time and performance of remote workers, with tools such as WorkflowMax.
  • Record your time against custom cost codes – making it easy to see what time has been spent on specific projects, and where efficiencies could be made.
  • Have performance dashboards for staff – using data from your workflow tools to set targets, measure performance and create talking points for staff reviews.
  1. Ensure there’s real-time communication and messaging

A key element that many remote workers miss is face-to-face interaction with their colleagues. So, it’s important to have video and online messaging tools to promote good communication.

To keep your remote workers communicating well:

  • Use messaging apps to promote live chat – options like Google HangoutsSkype and Slack are all popular with remote teams who want to talk with each other in real time.
  • Keep remote staff in the loop with company news – and make sure you’re as inclusive as possible with all your company-wide communications.
  • Encourage office time (where appropriate) – so remote workers mix with the rest of your office-based team, helping to build team connections.
  1. Give clear guidance and retraining for staff

The motivation levels needed to stay efficient as a remote worker are very different to those of traditional office-based staff. Training will be needed to help your people acclimatise.

Put together a guide to remote working – and think about setting up training workshops for staff who are being offered the option of remote working.

  • Explain how to self-manage their workload – point staff to helpful blogs and online training that will help them become proactive and self-sufficient without a line manager. Sites such as remote.co and remotive.io have plenty of tips and hints.
  • Empower your team to do more – by trusting them to work productively, complete their key tasks and meet project deadlines: all without supervision or micro-management.

A more flexible and empowered workforce

Allowing your team to move outside of the office can be a truly transitional moment for a business. After centuries of employees being tied to their offices or workplace location, cloud technology and remote working give your company an incredibly flexible way for staff to work.

In an increasingly uncertain world, having the ability to run your business remotely is a huge benefit for any company. With cloud and digital technology evolving at amazing speed, keeping pace with the world of remote working gives your business a distinct competitive advantage – and that’s good news for you, your team and the future success of your business.

Embrace the remote working lifestyle and give your business that leading edge.