It’s been predicted that by 2020, as much as 50% of the UK workforce will be working remotely. Outside of boosting employee health and wellbeing, and helping the environment by cutting down on commuting, there are also real potential benefits to your business. Research by CanadaLife found that remote workers rated their productivity 7.7 out of 10, compared to office-based workers with an average of 6.5 out of 10. So in 2019, as a growing business, it’s vital that you consider remote working as part of your strategy. How are you going to enable and empower remote workers?
Remote working in your organisation will be successful with the right approach and the right management – but it’s also incredibly important to ensure that your remote workers have the right tools they need to succeed. This, inevitably, comes down mostly to technology.
With that in mind, here are 4 technology tools that are absolutely essential for remote workers.
The right device
Getting the right device for the right employee is a vital part of any business’ technology strategy – you have to make sure they have the power and versatility they need to complete the tasks involved with their role. For your remote workers, their roles may differ, and therefore the spec of the device they need may similarly differ from that of their peers. Whether it’s a mobile device allowing them the flexibility to truly work from anywhere, or they require a more powerful desktop device to carry out their role, you need to identify what will help them be most productive.
The right infrastructure
Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to be able to send your remote worker off with a laptop under their arm and that’ll be the end of it. You need to ensure that they’re going to be able to access the applications they need to do their role – and that might include applications that have previously only been available on-premise. Similarly, it may mean making upgrades to your internal infrastructure to better support devices remoting in, which might include moving to more of a hybrid approach which utilises both on-premise and the cloud to better enable remote access.
Another important consideration is network security – your remote workers are accessing your network from their home, or even public places. As vigilant as they may be, there’s still a risk to your organisation. You can use mobile device management (MDM) software to mitigate some of this risk, which enables you to keep tabs on all the device you deploy as part of your network, lock down applications, enforce security policies, and more. It’s also important to consider the risks should an employee misplace their device. Locking down using MDM is a start, but you’ll also want to ensure that critical data can be recovered, which means putting in place a secure data backup solution.
Collaboration and communication tools
The overall goal of a remote working policy should be to allow participants to slot in seamlessly, and be treated as equals to those who are office-based, having the same amount of input and engagement on a day-to-day basis. To be able to support this, they need access to the tools which will allow them to communicate and collaborate in this way. While email is undoubtedly one of the most popular platforms for communication in business, it doesn’t lend itself particularly well to true collaboration – there’s the time delay, and they can be easily missed (or ignored!). When it comes to remote working, you should consider how, or whether, you will provide access to things like video conferencing, instant messaging and other collaboration tools. If you’re using a platform like Office 365 or G Suite these often come part and parcel of the overall solution, but there are other solutions to consider too.
If you’d like to find out more about how you could upgrade your technology to better support remote workers in your organisation – get in touch. Freedom Tech provide flexible technology finance programmes that can help you upgrade on any budget – including FlexIT, where you could get up to 20% off the latest HP, Lenovo and Dell laptops and pay for them in manageable monthly instalments.