How to ensure you have the right set-up for productive remote working

How to ensure you have the right set-up for productive remote working

IT support and technology specialists, Netstar, share their advice for getting the right set-up when working from home.

Amid lockdown #2, it seems that many Hatton Garden offices won’t be reopening in the next few weeks; some not until the new year. With that in mind, local IT company Netstar are here to share their advice on getting the right home working set-up to ensure you and your team are happy and productive.

1. Ensure your team have the tools to stay connected
With entire workforces working from home, communication and collaboration is key – not just for productive working but also to maintain a sense of company culture and contribute towards positive employee wellbeing.
At Netstar, we recommend using Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams enables employees to communicate via audio calls, video calls and instant chat messaging. As such, there’s a variety of different ways to communicate for different purposes; you can pop a colleague a chat message to ask a quick question or suggest a video call to discuss a project you’re working on in depth.
Teams also automatically integrates with other Microsoft 365 products (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint). This enables real-time collaboration on documents within Teams without overwriting information or creating revised versions of the same document.
What’s more, Microsoft are in the process of introducing new features, specifically designed to enhance remote working and employee wellbeing. This includes a virtual commutes feature, whereby employees can schedule in time at the beginning or end of the day (when they would have otherwise been commuting) to engage in something more mindful, such as yoga or a walk.

2. Continue to host social activities
It’s important to try and maintain company culture as much as possible when working remotely for extended periods of time; you don’t want employees to feel isolated or disconnected from team members. Which is why we advise you to use tools like Teams to continue to host social activities. For example, at Netstar, we’ve had a team lunch together (where everyone received a JustEat voucher and enjoyed tucking into a takeaway), we’ve partaken in virtual escape rooms as teams and enjoy regular Friday drinks socials. We’ve found that this has helped us to maintain the company culture that we’re so proud of and give us all time to catch up outside of work.

3. Take steps to protect your business from security risks
The rise in remote working brings with it a number of increased security risks. Cyber criminals have had more time to innovate and are creating more convincing, targeted scams. We’ve written about how to recognise and avoid specific coronavirus scams, here. Additionally, if you’d like to know more about the risks of remote working you can download our eBook here.
To maximise the security of your business when working remotely, you need to be confident that your staff have the skills and knowledge to be able to recognise and avoid potential threats (did you know, most breaches occur because of human error?). As such, we recommend enrolling employees in cyber security awareness training. This would require them to complete regular video-based learning and assessments to ensure their cyber security awareness is up to scratch. They’d also be sent simulated scam emails and tested on whether they recognise the scam or click on a potentially harmful link. Those that click will then be automatically enrolled into further training to refresh their knowledge.

4. Ensure your employees have the right technology to communicate with customers

If your team need to communicate with customers or clients over the phone, we recommend a cloud-based phone system. Cloud-based phone systems enable users to make and receive calls over the internet, meaning you can manage phone calls from anywhere, using any device (as long as you have a stable internet connection).
They also offer additional features, such as call recordings, call transfers, and call transcription which can be used to evaluate performance and improve customer experience.

5. Give employees access to wellbeing tips and advice

Encourage employees to embrace the positive outcomes of remote working and lockdown, whether that’s taking up a new hobby or spending commuting time cooking or going on walks. Continuing social activities is a great way to maintain momentum with this; employees can discuss what they’ve been doing and motivate each other to try new things.
At Netstar, we’ve enjoyed several wellbeing webinars that have helped us stay focused and given us new inspiration for keeping positive during such a challenging time. You can find out more about this here.

6. Ensure all employees have strong, stable internet access
These days, all office-based jobs require access to the internet. Unfortunately, home WiFi connections tend to be slower and less secure than office-based connections, making them less suited to remote working. This could leave you with buffering video calls or slow internet browsers, hindering productivity. However, there are ways around this. For example, managed 4G/5G routers can be installed or devices can be plugged directly into WiFi routers using an ethernet cable. If you’re having WiFi issues, we’d recommend seeking advice from your IT partner to determine which solution is best for you.

7. Ensure all employees can access the data they need
With everyone working in different locations, and perhaps using different devices, you need one space you can turn to for all your important data and files. Which is why we recommend cloud computing to all of our clients. Storing data on the cloud allows you to access it securely from anywhere, at any time – providing you’re connected to the internet. As such, it wouldn’t matter where you or your team were working from, they’d all be able to access the documents they need to continue to function effectively.
We hope the tips in this article have been useful; inspiring you and your team to optimise your remote working set-ups for boosted productivity and wellbeing. For more information on how technology can facilitate effective remote working, please get in touch today.

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