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5 Mistakes Managers Make with Remote Employees

Despite the many benefits remote employees bring to a business, they can also bring about many challenges to traditional managerial methods. No longer is it possible to greet employees in person or see to it that they’re doing their work.

Supervising remote employees requires a new approach—one that is only possible through technology. But in order to understand how technology can best serve you in managing your employees, it’s important to know where you’re falling short. Here are five of the most common mistakes managers are making right now.

Forgetting About an Employee’s Role

Without the ability to see every employee in front of you, it’s hard to account for how each individual impacts your team. In addition, in a remote setting, communication outside of mandatory meetings is often left to a standstill.

This makes it easy for employees to become disengaged, both in the work that they do and in their relationships with others. To prevent this, try to hold regular meetings with your remote workers using whatever communication system your company typically employs for client meetings or consider overhauling your communication strategy by integrating affordable, internet-based tools like VoIP (voice over internet protocol).

Whether calls consist of conversations relating to their involvement on a project or if they serve as a brief call to shoot the breeze and establish greater camaraderie between teams, these types of check-ins can help your workers feel like they’re a part of something larger.

Giving an Employee Too Much or Too Little Work

When workers are remote, it’s difficult to know if they are able to handle the work they’re being assigned, or if they have room in their schedules for more. Maximizing the productivity of your remote workforce while distributing an achievable workload starts with consistent communication.

This accentuates the need to set up some form of regular meetings with teams or individuals, during which time teams can report on the status of projects and more or less work can be assigned accordingly. Managers should also note when parts of projects can be automated.

Although it’s no one-size-fits-all solution, tools like robotic process automation (RPA) can be programmed to work with just about any existing software your company is already using and automate tasks that don’t require a lot of variation. While it may require a few additional steps, taking measures to align your team will help make sure they’re able to function at full capacity, no matter where they are.

Not Using Webcams

Employees like to be recognized, not just for their accomplishments, but also as individuals. When meetings are limited to conference calls, it’s difficult to read expressions and emotions that we would normally pick up on if the meeting had been in person.

Although remote workers might think their working arrangement sounds like a great opportunity to work from the comfort of their beds, this lack of face-time among colleagues results in a loss of teamwide engagement and familiarity—potentially impacting the quality of their work and extent of communication.

For example, Nerds Support uses secure web conferencing to communicate with all of its team members. By insisting teams use webcams, you are not only helping to reduce the chances of this, but also making sure they are just as presentable and work-ready as they would be in the office.

Not Nurturing Their Professional Development

Just because workers are working comfortably remotely, doesn’t mean they don’t share the same aspirations as your other workers. In fact, 75 percent of remote workers say they need more work-related training to further their professional growth.

The good news? Most of the training remote workers need can be done online. Many video conferencing applications grant mentors and remote workers valuable face-to-face time as well as the ability to share screens that can make instructional meetings easier to follow along.

When “off of the air,” remote employees can continue working via any cloud-based applications. Their work can later be reviewed, shared, or presented from any location. When technologies like these are used conjointly, the result is a happy remote workforce that has a greater potential to remain at your company while climbing the corporate ladder.

Not Seeing Them as Human

Remote employees are living, breathing, and hardworking individuals who happen to be located somewhere else. What this means is that attention to their thoughts and feelings should not be ignored.

Forgetting to invite them to important meetings or let their voices be heard is no different than it would be in any other setting. However, since emotions aren’t as easily felt over the phone or during video conferences, managers need to make more of a conscious effort to ensure every individual is given a chance to speak or provide input.

Even a brief pause every now and then to ask a group if they have any questions or matters they’d like to discuss can be the difference remote workers need to be and feel impactful.

 

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Employee working remotely at home on his laptop securely connected to the cloud.

Top Practices for Businesses Working Remotely

Working remotely, as we have seen in recent times, has become increasingly necessary to maintain a productive and profitable business. It is also an invaluable asset for any business continuity plan. If an unforeseen natural disaster or power outage takes place, organizations need to be prepared to continue operations.

A good example was in spring 2020 when the Securities and Exchange Commission became the first federal agency to encourage remote work for employees.

Although remote work is ideal for some, it can be an adjustment for others. And if you run a business or work for a businesses with sensitive data, how do you ensure your information is safe outside of the office?

Working remotely does not provide the same level of security that an office would. Furthermore, the environment in which you find yourself working might have present challenges to data security.

Here are some rules and policies we suggest when working remotely. Even when working on a cloud  environment, you must practice caution and communicate regularly to maximize the remote experience.

Communications

Periodic Check-ins

Working remotely requires daily and frequent calls with one another. A manager especially must take actions to establish calls with remote workers. Whether they are in the form of on-on-one calls or team call, if they are collaborating on a project.

There is no such thing as over-communication

Periodically notify your superiors of any information you might consider important. If there’s a doubt about the relevance of some information, share that also. In the case of remote work, nothing is too insignificant.

Clarify to your team all expectations moving forward

Communicate priorities and establish metrics for success. Remote work is more efficient when expectations and policies are clear and understood.

It’s also important to let employees know the best way to reach you and at what time. Nothing must be left to the imagination to successfully deploy a remote operation.

If you are off to lunch, notify for how long. When you return, notify your team. It’s crucial that all employees understand what the goals and directives are to avoid repeating efforts.

Track your progress

Keep track of your progress by documenting it and sharing it with relevant personnel. A work long with specific time slots for each task is particularly helpful in this case. It could be done in an excel sheet or a notebook. The medium is less important than the method. So long as it helps keep things organized.

Cloud computing keeps your remote business operations secured & accessible

Security

Stay away from public networks, encrypt your web connection, or use a personal hotpot

A public Wi-fi connection like the ones found in coffee houses and some restaurants create a risk for remote workers. In a public network, a threat actor or hacker can easily make their way into your device without a firewall in place. Moreover, anyone on a public network could easily monitor your traffic as well.

For these reasons it’s crucial that you keep your devices protected and secure.

Personal Hot-Spots

Using a hot spot eliminates the problem of a hacker jumping on the network you’re using. Although your web traffic remains unencrypted, your data stays safe. This will count against your cell phone data but it is worth the extra costs.

Most cell phone carriers there’s a minor fee for using hot spots but the alternative could cost you much more. And with the advent of 4G and 5G networks, hot spots are just as fast as home network connections.

VPN’s

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs can be used to access region-restricted websites, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, and more.

VPN’s are another solution if you find yourself working in a public network. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, enables you to create a secure connection with another network through the internet. These networks are often used to shield browsing activity from anyone snooping around on a public Wi-Fi network.

A VPN connects your device to a server that then connects it directly to the internet. But you must make sure the VPN you utilize is secure because hackers have been known to target unpatched VPN to access the user’s information. They usually do this via phishing scams that users interact with through a fake email.

This leads to the next point:

Encrypt your email and devices

If you have the proper safeguards in place, like email encryption and multifactor authentication then your data will remain secure no matter where you work from.

There are many software companies that provide encryption for email. Retruster, is one such example but there are others. This gives you added protection and peace of mind when working remotely.

Malicious actors often leverage current, events, personal information , or natural disasters to manipulate targets through phishing emails. An example of this was in spring 2020, when there were instances of hackers using the COVID-19 outbreak to send malicious emails to users.

Multi-Factor Authentication for Secure Devices

Multifactor authentication is a security system that requires multiple methods of authentication from independent credentials to verify user identity. In other words, it is a system that requires verification from a cellphone and a computer, for example, to then access data on your devices.

Having these measures in place creates a secure environment that facilitates remote work. None of these measures work in isolation. If communication is not up to par with data security or vice-versa, your operation will be compromised.

In Conclusion

What is most important is ensuring all members of your team are meeting your requirements, communicating effectively with one another and avoiding unnecessary risks like joining insecure networks or leaving devices unattended or unencrypted.

 

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Make your Digital Workspace Work Better—for Everyone

Now, more than ever, digital transformation is the fuel companies are using to boost productivity and engage consumers. It is spurring organizations of every size to reimagine how work gets done by creating secure digital workspaces that are designed to promote agility, enhance service and growth

No longer exclusive to desks on site, employees are working successfully in virtual teams—communicating and collaborating anytime, anywhere, on any device using the applications freely. And according to recent surveys, this trend shows no signs of slowing. 70% of workers are now working remotely at least one day per week.

150 IT Decision makers on what makes virtual desktops better

For IT, this on-demand, work from home environment is creating new challenges and security risks. In many cases, admins are lacking end-to-end visibility and control and they’re increasingly struggling to deliver the best experience for their employees and customers.

 IT teams find themselves purchasing disparate products for specific types of applications and device profiles. As a result, workers have to go to multiple gateways or access points to use different types of applications, creating a poor user experience.

As branch offices and remote workers become more pervasive, the need for an effective balance between usability and security has never been more important.

Fortunately, the next generation of remote access solutions, like Nerds Support’s cloud services,  offer many capabilities that can help overcome the infrastructure challenges and security risks that today’s distributed businesses and users are creating.

Here’s just a few things these new solutions can deliver:

•             A better overall user experience for remote and mobile workers – Next-gen remote access solutions provide users with one access point and single sign-on (SSO) to applications regardless of where they’re located or how they are deployed.

•             An effective way to consolidate infrastructure  –  These new solutions provide one URL and streamline your remote access infrastructure – helping to reduce IT costs and improve the ease of keeping with compliance and security policies.

•             The ability to view your entire infrastructure – Instead of seeing only what your point solutions could control, these next-gen solutions provide true visibility into your application traffic, ensuring higher uptime and reducing help-desk calls.

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