Given the current situation with COVID-19, many people have had to make the move to working remotely from home. Making the transition to a work-from-home environment can be jarring, especially if it comes out of the blue.
But while this shift comes with a long list of pros and cons, many of the cons can be mitigated by using the right tools. In particular, the right technology can make a world of difference, so here are a few tips to help you become more efficient working remotely.
Know your way around video conferencing
With everyone out of the office, video conferencing has become a hot topic. Almost every company is using some form of video conferencing technology, so knowing how it works is key.
There are several options for video conferencing apps, the most talked-about being Zoom. However, there are several other free video conferencing options should you not want to splash the cash. Regardless of which platform you use, it’s important to be able to have those face-to-face conversations with your co-workers.
When using any video conferencing tool, it’s best practice to implement a cybersecurity policy. A few simple security measures will ensure you don’t have any uninvited guests in your video conferencing room. Make sure that you “lock” the room after everyone joins, as this prevents others from joining your call. In addition, you should use new passwords for each room, so that you don’t create trends that people can catch onto.
Try to have some “fun” video conferencing calls, just to keep things interesting. During meetings, maybe try out some of the different backgrounds the video conferencing platform offers, or have a virtual happy hour on Fridays after work. Your employees will welcome anything that helps to break up the monotony of constant work-related videoconferences!
Make sure you’re keeping your data secure
Having a secure connection is something that employees don’t have to worry about when they’re working in the office. When working from home, however, making sure that you’re connected securely is crucial. Many companies are offering their employees some kind of security, often a “next-generation firewall”, or NGFW. This is an all-encompassing network security option, to make sure that your information stays private while working online.
In addition, try not to work from public Wi-Fi networks, as those are typically less secure for several reasons:
- Most public networks have a distinct lack of security measures in place
- Many people will be using the same network, making you more vulnerable to hackers
- It exposes your IP address to everyone on the network who knows how to find it
Consider using technology for capturing and storing ideas
Unexpectedly moving your entire workforce to their home offices means a lot of things have to change and new processes have to be implemented, and, as with any new system, problems are likely to arise. There’s a risk that you, as a manager, will be overwhelmed by emails, messages and video conferencing calls from employees with ideas on how to solve problems or improve processes.
Having dedicated technology to enable your organisation to capture, store and review all these ideas can prove invaluable, since it makes “ideation” and problem solving straightforward and scalable even when working remotely. A tool like Idea Drop, for example, gives employees a platform to submit their ideas at any time directly from their browser or mobile device. Every employee can see all the ideas that have been submitted and can follow the progress of those ideas from conception to implementation.
Get the most out of cloud networking
The cloud is a very versatile option for employees who are working remotely, enabling them to access the data they’d normally obtain in the office. There are a plethora of options for cloud storage; Google Drive is a free and very popular choice.
Using the cloud is a great way to share documents and files with other employees regardless of their location. Many tools offer built-in ways to collaborate effectively as a team on specific projects and documents. Files are easy to share with anyone who needs access, and it’s just as easy to revoke access from someone once they’ve finished their task. Take advantage of the flexibility of cloud networking to access your files from anywhere.
Watch out for phishing attempts
Phishing involves the act of posing as a person of authority in an attempt to gain personal information, and can be very harmful. If successful, hackers can gain access to things like bank accounts, personal emails, and other data, work-related or private.
It’s vital to recognise the telltale signs of a phishing attempt. They typically:
- Come from an unofficial “from” address
- Involve an urgent situation or request
- Include a link to an obscure or spam website
If you receive a phishing email, make sure that you report the email internally within your company so that nobody is caught off guard by the same scam. You can report the email directly through Gmail if you use this service, or online through the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Back up your data regularly
Backing up your data frequently is very important, as data loss can often be caused by elements out of our control, such as:
- Corrupted files, software or hardware
- Hackers gaining access to your data
- Accidental damage, such as spilling a drink or dropping a computer
Having additional copies of your information can save you from a world of stress should anything unexpected occur.
If you back up your data in the cloud, you can access it from any location. However, this potentially puts you at a higher risk of having it accessed by someone else. If you back up your data physically, only you or someone you give it to can access it, but only from wherever it’s stored.
Making sure that you’re aware of the abundance of technology available can help your transition to working from home much smoother. Know your video conferencing options and how to make sure you’re keeping the meeting room secure. Keep your data safe with a secure connection, and limit your exposure to potentially harmful situations. Put the cloud to use to help keep you agile and ready for anything. Know what a phishing attempt looks like and how to deal with it. Backup your data, so that, whatever happens, you have everything you need right where you need it. Working from home is certainly a different way of working from being with your colleagues in the office, but having the right technology can make the experience significantly better.