We don’t know about you, but it feels like it’s been a decade since many of us had to drop our daily routines and turn our bedrooms into offices overnight – the Millennium Group team included. Having to balance homeschooling, figuring out Zoom and Teams, sharing WiFi bandwidth – it’s been a significant change for everyone, not least the IT departments who had to cope with the initial rush to get everyone online at home as well as keeping organizations secure.
Technology has provided a means to maintain (and in some instances extend) business during the pandemic. Most were able to switch to remote working swiftly and smoothly thanks to internet-based phone systems and video conferencing. One of the most powerful lessons of the past year was the proof that digital engagement is capable of delivering efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity during demanding times.
One year on, we feel much more confident working from home, but what has a year of remote work thought us? Here is what we have learned:
The right tools are important. Employees are much more likely to quit if a company lags in tech. If someone is expected to be joining video calls, they need a good microphone and a webcam they can put in front of them at an eye level. Every team member should be able to hear and be heard.
Upgrading the WiFi can make all the difference in reducing the daily frustration. There is simply no way one can be productive without a reliable internet connection.
Data and device security must become a priority, primarily if remote workers use their personal WiFi or equipment for work.
Reliable go-to technical support is invaluable. Even for those with a home office consisting of a laptop and a printer, the comfort of a trusted resource for troubleshooting and advice changes everything.
Remote workspaces require the same attention as office desks.
Collaboration is key. Effective communication is a critical performance driver and having a set of good team collaboration tools is important for any remote team.
Video Conferencing Training
Every new remote employee should receive standard video conferencing and etiquette training. This should cover everything from equipment positioning and lighting to audio and video controls, mute, screen share, turning off the video, hand raising and virtual backgrounds.
Boundaries and Balance
Balancing professionalism, privacy and connection is an ongoing challenge. While pets and children walking in during video calls enable us to get to know each other better, there is also a danger of oversharing and overstepping professional boundaries.
If you are tempted to use filters, always test the video before joining a meeting, unless, of course, you really are a cat.
Virtual backgrounds are a great way for remote teams to share their faces without sharing their laundry baskets.
Having a ‘sign off’ time for the day is critical. The rise of home working has led to an increase of already long working hours. Ironically, avoiding overwork requires a lot of work.
We Can Do It
It turns out that we can actually do it – we can work from home. Before the pandemic, we weren’t so sure.
As we approach the end of a year of adaptation, we are all still on a steep learning curve. Even as the vaccinations offer a hope of returning to ways of life as we knew it, the nature of work has changed forever.
If you or your team needs any assistance with remote work setup or tech support, we are just a phone call away – (970) 663-1200