Category: Business

Remote Working: Will It Be The New Norm?

Flexible work setups have often been the subject of debate — employees want the option to work away from the office at least some of the time, but many businesses value well-founded methods and processes. Will the world’s largest work from home experiment change that?

Enforced Flexibility

A pandemic is one of the most socially, economically, and politically disruptive events that could ever happen. Infections and fatalities constantly increase, business operations are shut down, and scientists race against time to find a cure.

Companies lucky enough to remain operational still face a significant challenge: maintaining business continuity. For most, the simplest way to achieve this is by moving their business resources online and adopting an effective remote work strategy.

With resilience and careful decision-making — as well as the right tools and processes — you might just find your employees more productive, less stressed out by work, and expressive as ever.

A Wealth Of Benefits

Remote work offers several benefits for both employees and employers. In addition to saving time and eradicating commute-related stress, remote work can improve employee productivity. A number of studies reveal that the freedom to create a comfortable environment and schedule encourages employees to perform at their best.

At the same time, employers benefit from reduced overhead expenses while also having access to a wider pool of applicants. Because workplace flexibility is among the top considerations of many young job seekers, remote work arrangements would be right up their alley.

Employers can also hire outside of reasonable commuting distance, as employees won’t have to report to the office as frequently, if not at all. What’s more, mandatory daily attendance is going out of fashion — more businesses are now prioritizing performance over hours clocked in. Many prefer focusing on the quality of outputs rather than just keeping people in the office from 9 to 5.

Businesses reap great rewards for recognizing performance instead of just presence. This approach makes for more engaged, efficient, and satisfied employees, consequently creating a healthy and progressive company culture.

Encouraging Development

Many businesses believe that a traditional office setup helps bring about better relationships and collaborations. However, data actually points out that interpersonal behavior and communication — not solely proximity — are the key drivers of trust and teamwork.

Traditional work arrangements also make it easier for managers to look after their employees — it’s easy to see who is and isn’t at their workstation during office hours. However, mandating work hours and location makes sense only for time-sensitive and location-dependent jobs like retail, manual labor, and healthcare, where employees need to be physically present.

Meanwhile, for knowledge workers whose jobs involve non-routine problem solving, an office cube isn’t always the most conducive environment for devising solutions and innovations. Sometimes, the best and most unique ideas come from exposure to the surroundings, people, and events outside the confines of an office.

Embracing Change

Being forced to adopt a work from home policy in the face of a global crisis isn’t an ideal circumstance to test the waters. Full-time remote work doesn’t and won’t work for all businesses. But this shouldn’t stop you from accomplishing projects and sustaining productivity and efficiency. Leverage your resources to help you weather the storm and emerge stronger than before.

Though we have yet to see if remote work is here to stay, it’s currently a nonnegotiable aspect of the corporate setup, and we should learn how to make the most out of it.

Having a strong strategy in place and the right tools and equipment are crucial to ensure effective communication, collaboration, and management. Our experts can help you configure the perfect remote working setup for your business. Call us today.

Published with permission from Source.

What Office Equipment Should You Provide Your Remote Workers?

In spite of remote work being commonplace today, many business owners are still skeptical of it because of the considerable risks that come with minimal supervision and numerous distractions. They may be surprised to know that employees are actually more productive when working from home, according to a study by Airtasker.

On average, employees working remotely spend 1.4 more days working in a month (16.8 more days in a year) compared to those working in an office.

As a business owner, you can further boost your remote workforce’s productivity by providing them with the right equipment. Deciding what to provide remote workers with depends on several factors, including your budget, business goals, and staff’s tasks and responsibilities. Here are four options to consider when allocating office equipment to your staff:

#1 Provide All Necessary Equipment For A Home Office Setup

This entails recreating a conducive work environment by providing them with all the devices, including a computer, phone, printer, scanner, office furniture, and the like. You can even provide them with furniture, like a chair and desk, which they’d otherwise have in the office.

Many remote workers consider this the perfect option because they won’t have to worry about procuring their own equipment. All they’ll have to do is find a place to set all these up.

Choosing this approach offers several advantages. You’d have greater control over the tools and devices they use to work, and it’d be easier to ensure compatibility with the equipment in your office. This would also make information security and tech support simpler.

What’s more, this places your remote workers on an equal footing, which could boost morale and, ultimately, lead to higher productivity.

The downside of this option is that it’s costly. You’d have to shoulder the expenses associated with purchasing and delivering the equipment to an employee’s home. And in the event that they leave the company, you’d have to face the prospect of taking these back or selling it to them.

#2 Provide Only A Laptop And Peripherals

This is a popular choice among businesses, as this yields almost the same security and support benefits as the all-out approach, but at a lower cost. It’s a great solution for small businesses and startups that have limited resources and need to quickly expand their workforce.

A potential drawback is that your remote workers might feel like you’re skimping on their equipment, especially if the work they do requires better or more tools and devices. For instance, graphics tablets are necessary tools for digital artists and illustrators. If you can’t provide your employees with these, then you might lose some goodwill with them.

#3 Provide A Technology Stipend

The key advantage of this option is flexibility. Your employees could acquire their own equipment using the allowance given to them. Just remember to specify clear tech requirements, and make sure that whatever they get is compatible with your equipment at the office.

Instead of procuring the equipment yourself, you could just set a reasonable stipend for devices (e.g., a laptop and monitors) and maybe even furniture (e.g., a computer table). You could let them spend more, out of their own pocket, if they prefer a different option.

One downside of this approach is that providing support could be challenging. If your employee has a computer problem and they’re the only one with that particular model or brand, they might have to get it fixed on their own. This could lead to downtime and frustration.

#4 Let Them Use Their Own Devices

This is the best option if you wish to avoid the hefty price tag and administrative burden. You could simply set minimum standards or tech requirements for the devices they’ll be using, and leave it up to them to come up with a system that works.

You could also provide a list of tools and applications to keep their devices secure, as well as to communicate and collaborate with other employees. But because you’ll have no control over the equipment your employees are using, you won’t be able to ensure compatibility nor timely security and support services.

Although you could explore solutions to overcome remote work security, another drawback of this approach is that you’re forfeiting a “loyalty” benefit. Because your employees are using their own equipment, it would be easy for them to leave the company should a better offer come along.

Whichever option you choose for your remote workers, it’s important that you formalize this policy and use it across the board. Don’t play favorites and offer every employee the same level of support.

To help maximize productivity wherever your employees may be, work with a managed IT services provider like Integrated Technology Services. Want to know what else we can do for your business? Call us now.

5 Tips To Keep Your Business Afloat During The COVID-19 Crisis

Businesses across the globe have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have been forced to close their doors, some only temporarily, but countless others for good. With experts saying there’s no guarantee of a rapid economic recovery, it’s important that you reassess and redefine your business strategy and buckle down for more storms ahead. Here are some tips to help your business survive this crisis and come out on top.

Reduce Expenses

This one is obvious but still bears mentioning: take out your books and find out where and how you can cut costs without affecting the quality of your service.

Putting off non-essential or discretionary expenses, such as repainting your offices or buying new equipment, is a no-brainer. Cutting out fixed expenses such as rent and loan payments is harder, if not impossible, to do. However, it is crucial if your production and revenue are at a standstill.

Try asking your landlord for a reduction or deferment of a portion of your rent. Also, ask your bank if you can put off or skip loan payments for a finite period, or if they can at least waive fees on late or missed payments. (Find out if your bank is one of those offering relief to borrowers amid the pandemic here.)

Learn From Your Competitors

Observe both your direct and indirect competitors, especially those that are faring better than others. Find out what they’re doing differently and see if this will work for your business. More than adopting these strategies, it’s important to adapt them to your own and your customers’ needs.

It’s also a good idea to look at larger organizations within your industry. SMBs like yours may not be able to compete with bigger players on a scale level, but you can learn a few things about customer service, marketing strategies, and the like from them.

Redefine Your Business Model

Even with coronavirus restrictions gradually being lifted across the United States, it would take a while before things return to normal. It’s crucial to ask yourself if traditional business models would still make sense in a post-COVID-19 world and adjust accordingly.

Determine any changes you need to make to your current business model. This involves identifying who your customers are and what they need, your staff’s capabilities, and any uncertainties and their impacts. Such changes may include finding a way to deliver your products or services to your customers, just like what groceries and restaurants did in the face of lockdowns and shelter-in-place directives.

Connect With Your Customers

Understand that many of your customers may have been affected in some way by the pandemic — they might have been laid off, for instance, or are caring for a family member who tested positive for COVID-19. They may reach out to you to pause or cancel your services, or to ask for a discount or payment deferral. When speaking to them, demonstrate empathy, whatever their concerns may be. When things get back to normal, it’s likely that those who had a positive experience with you during the pandemic will stick around and keep doing business with you.

Keeping your customers informed throughout these trying times is important. Make sure, though, that what you’re saying is relevant to them. For example, if you run an eCommerce business, let your customers know through email or social media about any shortages in supply and when you expect to be able to fulfill their orders. Doing so reassures customers that you’re doing your best to provide them with the same quality of service pre-COVID-19.

Upskill Your Staffz

Upskilling your employees may be the best way to spend your resources during the current situation. Equipping your team with new knowledge and skills will help them adapt to the changing business environment.

Sharpening your team’s digital skills is especially important now that the COVID-19 crisis is spurring digital transformation. Other areas to focus on are project management, communication, data analytics, and digital marketing. And if you find yourself short-staffed, it might pay to train employees to handle other aspects of your business, ensuring that everything runs smoothly throughout the pandemic and beyond.

The current situation requires swift and decisive action from business leaders. Making smart and proactive decisions now will ensure that you’ll mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on your business, and that you’ll emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. For more tips on how to run your business effectively in times of crisis, drop our experts a line today.

Published with permission from Source.