If, like many businesses these days, you employ a cadre of remote workers, it’s imperative to do all you can to support their offsite efforts. That means providing the best technology available so they can achieve maximum output and productivity.
For example, tools like group chat and management software “help keep team members accountable and ensure deadlines are being met,” says Phil Spensieri, TAB Facilitator, adding: “Production often comes down to the tools you give your employees.”
Some obstacles occasionally crop up around a remote workforce. Key IT challenges include keeping technology secure and up to date, and the ease or difficulty of resolving offsite IT issues that occur from time to time. But making a full-fledged commitment to technology support is key to generating greater productivity in an offsite setting.
Here are tips for offering the right tech support to your remote team:
Provide the tools best suited for your business.
A vast array of tools are available to assist remote workers. From messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp to conference apps like Zoom, Slack, and Skype for Business, there’s really no excuse for a lack of communication between a company’s formal workplace and a remote employee’s more informal setting.
It’s safer and more effective to supply company-owned equipment (phone, tablet, etc.) to all employees, regardless of their physical setting. This approach guarantees better control of mobile devices, as well as unvarying access for all involved.
Have a dedicated IT support team available.
For remote employees, tech issues can crop up at all hours of the day or night. That’s why having a dedicated IT support team available 24/7 is crucial to ongoing productivity.
Many “simpler” tech issues can be resolved by individuals if they possess the knowledge to resolve those issues on their own. Of course, thornier problems may still arise.
“Employees who aren’t accustomed to working remotely may encounter more IT issues at home than they did at the office,” Helixstorm notes. Scheduling remote sessions and/or real-time monitoring are efficient solutions, so permitting “your IT staff to ‘take over’ a remote device to diagnose and fix a problem can be a huge timesaver.”
Always prioritize security.
With a remote team in place, it’s crucial that everyone involved understand the importance of security protocols. Both on- and off-site employees should be trained in the use of strong passwords, anti-virus and malware protection, two-factor authentication, and the correct way to regularly back up data.
Many businesses opt for the use of a secure virtual private network (VPN). With a VPN, data is encrypted, offering greater protection against cyberattacks or other malicious entities.
Consider outsourcing options.
If maintaining a full-time IT staff isn’t economically feasible, you can always outsource tech support for your remote team. “Whether your employee is working within your city or across the country, remote IT support employees should be able to deliver the same level of service,” notes Outsource Workers. This helps “ensure that IT emergencies will be handled even if your staff is working away from your physical office.”
Offer a remote support guidebook/FAQs page.
Consider putting together an IT guidebook or FAQs page on your website, designed to assist all employees with IT concerns. A comprehensive guide can include “instructions, diagrams, and even links to video demonstrations,” suggests TechSpective, adding that this approach “may also save your company time and effort, as employees will have all the necessary instructions to fix problems themselves.”
To learn more about managing and supporting your remote workforce, read “5 Tips to Help Remote Workers Feel Part of the Team.”