How to Mobilize and Manage a Productive Remote Workforce

Working remotely is no longer just for entrepreneurs and freelancers. With the sudden and global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses all around the world are now being compelled to mobilize their remote workforce so they can continue to operate – and many simply aren’t prepared for it.

Fortunately, it’s possible to set up a fully-equipped and efficient remote workforce within days, not months. We’ll show you how to empower your team to work productively and securely from home while ensuring they stay engaged with their work and connected to their colleagues.

Why your business needs a remote workforce in 2020 (and beyond)

The last few years have seen a gradual shift towards more flexible, mobile work environments as people spend less time in the office and more time working at home, on the road, or otherwise away from their desks. But with the unexpected coronavirus outbreak, this has been significantly fast-tracked as many businesses have been forced to shut their doors and strict social distancing measures introduced.

Now more than ever, as people are adapting to a new way of life and work, having a remote workforce is essential if you want to keep your business running. And as time goes on, even though the world will return to normal, the traditional workplace will not. The ability to do your job from anywhere will only become more crucial as employees set their sights on flexible, stimulating remote work environments that improve their work/life balance and job satisfaction.

Enabling your team to work from home is future-proofing your business today. But simply making it possible isn’t enough – you must also continually manage your remote workforce to ensure it’s effective, efficient and secure. Your team needs to have the ability to do their jobs well, to collaborate with each other, and to keep pushing your business forward, no matter where they are.

These four simple steps will help you set up and manage your remote workforce for the long term:

Step 1: Migrate to the cloud

If you’re still running your network and IT infrastructure from traditional local servers in your building, then the first step is to move all your key business applications and data to the cloud so that they’re accessible from anywhere. Reliable cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure are designed for growing businesses, with no upfront costs and unlimited cloud resources on a flexible pay-as-you-go billing structure so you only have to pay for what you use each month.

Migrating to the cloud means you can retire your local servers and save on electricity and maintenance costs while knowing your data is secure, backed up and always available. Simply give your team access to your cloud network and they’ll be able to use work programs and applications, create their own virtual desktops, and share essential files and resources – all from home.

Step 2: Equip your workers with the right tools

A remote workforce is only as effective as the technology and tools they have at their disposal. Your team must have the ability to do their jobs just as well as they would in the office, and that starts with ensuring everyone has a working computer, webcam, microphone and reliable internet connection.

Digital collaboration also becomes critical, as one of the most challenging parts of managing a remote workforce is keeping everyone engaged, motivated and connected when no one is in the same room. You can use Microsoft Teams and other collaboration tools to bring your team together with regular virtual meetings and video conferences, maintain open lines of communication between departments, and even meet with clients and other third-party vendors without ever leaving your house.

Step 3: Secure your network and data

Data security takes on a new level of importance with a remote workforce because you have less control over how your team accesses your network. With increased cybersecurity threats from potentially unsecured home networks and public Wi-Fi, it’s crucial to add extra layers of protection to your business data.

At a minimum, you should implement:

  • VPNs to create a separate and secure private network;
  • Multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized users from logging in to your network;
  • Antivirus and malware protection on each user’s computer, tablet and smartphone; and,
  • A managed IT provider to remotely monitor your team’s PCs and handle any security threats if they arise.

Step 4: Get regular feedback

Lastly, make sure you’re checking in with your team frequently to get feedback on their remote working environments and find out what can be improved. What are they finding difficult or challenging? What would make their job easier?

There’s a wide range of additional remote workforce solutions that you can implement to help your staff work more productively from home, from secure wireless networks, virtual servers and VoIP systems to cloud-based email storage and business continuity plans. PCG provides world-class IT services and live technical support to make managing your remote workforce so much easier – let us handle the technology so you can focus on running your business.

Put your remote workforce in the hands of the experts at PCG. Our managed IT and remote workforce solutions will cover all of these steps (and more) to ensure your team is working better than ever, from further away.

Contact us today to get your free network assessment and mobilize your remote workforce now.