The working masses are facing many uncertain times over the coming weeks and months as a result of the restrictions enforced by the Covid-19 outbreak. Workers across the globe are being asked to work from home whilst in isolation or lockdown, many of whom do not have the experience or tools to work from home effectively.

Not only will this prove to be a huge challenge to employers who have to mobilise large parts of their workforce in a short space of time but it will also be foreign territory for many employees who have never worked remotely from their place of work.

At Advatek, we have many ways in which we can support secure remote access. We’re a Managed Security Services Provider and as such, the challenges faced by businesses as a result of the pandemic are the same as the challenges we solve every day for our clients. We are able to help, whatever the size of your business and we know a ‘one size fits all’ approach isn’t appropriate, so depending upon the size of your business and its priorities, a mix of different tools may be required. You can find details of some of our solutions for secure remote working here – https://www.advatek.co.uk/remote-working-solutions

So, as I said working from home will be foreign to a lot of employees around the globe and having both worked remotely myself and managed remote employees, I thought I would share some of my experience with you.

It’s important that both managers and employees understand factors that can make remote work demanding. Being distant from an office can send what would otherwise be high-performing employees into a decline in job performance and engagement. This can be down to a number of things;

Lack of face-to-face interaction

Both managers and their employees may express concerns about the lack of face-to-face interaction. My advice is to use the technology and be present even when you can’t be present! Both Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams are great for hosting one-to-one or one-to-many video calls and I’m not being mercenary here, both vendors have made their technology available as extended free trials as a result of Covid-19. Setting up regular daily check-ins with colleagues and teams will really help.

Lack of access to information

Newly remote workers are often surprised by the added time and effort needed to locate relevant information from co-workers. Not all line of business applications are cloud based so, remote access can be a challenge and frustration. There are tools out there that allow seamless secure connectivity back to corporate networks and we’d be happy to advise on what suits your business the best.

Don’t email, collaborate

In reality, email can become an overwhelming bombardment as, what would usually be a quick question at someone’s desk or across an office, becomes an long email chain. Collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and even messaging applications like WhatsApp can alleviate some of this bombardment!

Social isolation

Working remotely can be a lonely place and missing out on the interaction with co-workers will be an unpleasant side effect of being remote. I envisage this will be the biggest challenge for many staff so again, collaboration tools can alleviate this to a degree.

Distractions at home

We now know that many home working environments are going to be infiltrated by our children who won’t be attending school as of tomorrow. I’m lucky, I’m writing this from my converted shed or ‘shoffice’ as we like to call it. Having been a remote worker for many years I am firm believer that even when working at home, it is really important to ‘go to work’. I appreciate not everyone will be able to knock up a garden office over the weekend but by creating a home office area or room will not only help remote workers feel like they are at work but, it will potentially minimise the interruptions from others in the house if they can see you are ‘at work’.

There are undoubtedly, many strange and uncertain times ahead. I hope that some of what I’ve shared gives some insight into how a workforce can be mobilised and, some of the challenges that will be faced by new remote workers? Good luck and I’ll see you over a video chat!

Richard Leigh. Head of Sales, Advatek UK Ltd.

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