Prior to the pandemic, the use of remote workers was growing, but it was still a small portion of the total workforce. Before COVID-19 there were approximately 10% or fewer employees that worked remotely three or more days per week.
The expectation based on company surveys is that a year after the pandemic, 77% of companies will be using more remote workers, making up as much as 40% of their workforce.
This operational transition makes sense for many Charlotte area businesses for a number of reasons.
Many are working to reduce costs in the face of an uncertain year and remote workers lower operational costs. When employees are given the tools to work from home, they’re also often more productive, have higher morale, and take fewer days off, all benefits to employers.
But for a remote workforce to be properly optimized they have to have the right technology pillars. If they’re missing any of them, it can lead to problems with security and productivity, and companies not realizing the full benefits they could with at-home workers.
How to Properly Empower Your Remote Team
While several businesses were forced into having employees work from home due to the pandemic lockdowns, this gave them a glimpse into a potentially better option for certain positions and workflows.
77% of remote employees say they’re more productive than they were at the office. Reasons for this include less stress and fewer interruptions.
However, remote employees can also pose a security risk and feel cut off from the rest of their team if the right technology isn’t put into place.
There are four key pillars you need to have to ensure your remote team is empowered to be productive and stay secure.
Cloud Platform with Team Communications
Staying connected when not working in the same office is vital to ensuring there is no miscommunication or confusion about what to do. Cloud platforms connect employees to their work from anywhere, but you need to have tools that are designed to enable collaboration and communications as well.
Trying to rely on phone calls or text messages to communicate when working remotely is inefficient. Platforms like Microsoft 365 offer multiple ways to keep employees as engaged as if they were just a cubical away, using tools like Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive.
Some of the team communication tools you should have in place include:
- Real-time messaging with alerts
- Video & audio calls
- File sharing
- Co-authoring of files
- Central intranet and shared online knowledge base
Device Monitoring & Security
Whether remote employees are working from their home computer or from a company-owned laptop, device security can be a problem if companies don’t have those computers protected.
With a device-based managed IT services plan, you can ensure that computers stay properly maintained and updated with critical security patches. This can also include managed antivirus that keeps work PCs safe from any threats.
Device monitoring allows employers to monitor both productivity and data security for work files. It can also help ensure that employees aren’t using non-approved devices to access company data.
36% of businesses say that a remote employee has caused a data security incident.
One area of security risk with remote employees is that they are connecting through home routers, which don’t typically have the same security safeguards as business routers.
Additionally, if you need to have employees connect to in-office computers or servers, that remote connection could be exploited by a hacker.
It’s important to have strong network security in place that can protect remote connections. This includes the use of a virtual private network (VPN) by at-home employees and having precautions on your on-premises network to allow safe and secure connections by only those who are authorized.
The cloud has become vital to any business that wants to stay in operation and continue to connect to customers even when unexpected events cause them to have to leave their building.
But cloud accounts are easily compromised by hackers and credential theft is on the rise, making it even more challenging to ensure account security.
Companies should put cloud account safeguards in place, including tactics such as:
- Multi-factor Authentication: MFA can stop a majority of fraudulent account sign-in attempts.
- Cloud Access Security Broker: A CASB monitors device access to your cloud accounts and allows standard security protocols to be used across multiple apps.
- Data Loss Prevention: DLP policies help ensure that data isn’t lost accidentally or erased on purpose.
Make the Most of Your Remote Team with the Right Solutions!
Rocky Knoll Technologies can help your Charlotte area business put the right technology solutions in place to empower your remote team while also keeping your data and devices secure.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Call 704.594.7292 or reach us online.