How to Build the Remote Office Your Business Needs for Success

By: Kaylie Gyarmathy on May 8, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has already caused a profound shift in the way organizations manage their workplace. Many of them have responded by transitioning their employees out of the office and into work-from-home arrangements. While some organizations have been doing remote work for years, others are being forced to grapple with the challenges of the remote office in real-time.

What is a Remote Office?

Helping employees to set up their own remote office is critical to any successful remote work situation. Whether an organization is embracing remote work on a permanent basis or using it as a temporary solution, it’s important that employees have access to the same people and resources in their remote office that they would in a physical office. As the name suggests, a remote office can be located anywhere, so it may be helpful to think of any place an employee is working from as a remote office.

Essentially, a remote office need only consist of three things: the employee, the device they’re working on, and their internet connection. From a security standpoint, each one is equally important in protecting an organization’s network and critical data. If the device is compromised by malware, for instance, it could infect any network applications it connects to. Similarly, even if the device has the latest security software installed and the internet connection features enterprise-grade security, a data breach could still occur if the employee isn’t up to date on the latest cyber scams seeking to obtain their personal information and access credentials. Given the number of phishing scams that have emerged to exploit the COVID-19 crisis, it’s more important than ever for remote employees to maintain high levels of awareness.

The Effect Your Remote Office Has on Your Productivity

Security is understandably one of the top concerns facing the remote office, but there are also serious questions worth considering about how productive people are when they work from home. The debate over whether or not remote workers are more productive has produced multiple studies on the matter with mixed results. Context, it seems, is the most important factor in evaluating productivity, as most research demonstrates that it depends on the amount of time an employee spends working remotely and how much control they have over that work environment.

Nicolas Bloom, one of the most prominent researchers on the subject, recently commented on the COVID-19-induced push towards remote work: “We are home working alongside our kids, in unsuitable spaces, with no choice and no in-office days. This will create a productivity disaster for firms.”

Part of the challenge is that working in a remote office makes it difficult to distinguish where work ends and personal life begins. Without the right structure in place, people may have difficulty keeping focus, allowing tasks to drag out due to interruptions or distractions. Simply sending employees off to work from home without providing them with the necessary tools and guidelines to be productive and accountable will generally lead to frustrating results.

5 Tips for Building the Remote Office Your Business Needs for Success

Fortunately, there are many strategies companies can implement that will make it easier for employees to be effective when working from their remote office.

1. Embrace Cloud Platforms

Cloud platforms are an essential part of today’s remote workplace. Thanks to cloud-based software tools, employees can access the same applications and work on the same data and projects collaboratively. The old-fashioned practice of emailing individual documents or files back and forth between people who may not be using the same software version is no longer acceptable from a productivity or collaboration standpoint. Shared cloud platforms give everyone access to identical tools and data, ensuring that everyone in the organization is collaboratively working toward the same goal. For organizations that need to utilize multiple cloud platforms, data center multi-cloud deployments can give them the flexibility they need to meet the requirements of each department without compromising application performance or data security.

2. Use Video Conferencing

Advancements in telecommunications technology had already made video conferencing tools a standard feature of many businesses, but the rapid shift to remote work has made them even more important. People are more likely to pay attention to what’s being said in a meeting when it’s held over video rather than over the phone. More importantly, video allows participants to connect with one another more genuinely and build the relationships that are necessary for a successful team to perform at a high level.

3. Implement Time Tracking

While some employees will not need much help in establishing a remote office schedule, others may struggle to hold themselves accountable for tasks and responsibilities. Luckily, there are many software tools available that make it possible for organizations to track things like internet usage, when employees are actually at their desks, and what deadlines they’ve reached. While it may feel like micromanaging, many people will actually appreciate having a system in place to promote structure and accountability.

4. Reassess Your Remote Security

Remote offices face numerous security risks, especially if an organization doesn’t already have an infrastructure in place to facilitate remote work. Home offices generally lack the security capabilities of their enterprise counterparts, from firewall security on down to individual device management. Conducting a comprehensive vulnerability assessment can identify gaps in security controls and potential problem areas that need to be addressed to keep networks secure. Access policies should also be reevaluated, with new restrictions put in place to account for where and how people are logging into key applications and viewing data.

5. Hold a Remote Office Orientation

Employees often think that working from home will be much the same as working in the office. Simply assuming that they’ll know what to do or that they’re up to date on the latest security practices is an invitation to trouble. Holding a remote office orientation can get everyone on the same page and educate people about how working remotely requires a different approach to productivity and security. Walking people through the latest phishing scams or showing them how to set up multi-factor authentication on their accounts both eliminates confusion and ensures that everyone is taking the proper precautions to keep the network secure.

Build Your Remote Office with vXchnge

As a carrier-neutral colocation provider, vXchnge delivers easy access to the leading cloud platforms for building the hybrid IT environments that will empower your remote office. Every one of our secure data center locations also delivers an extra level of protection from crippling DDoS cyberattacks with the innovative vX\defend service. Engineered for protection and backed by 100% uptime SLAs, our data centers deliver the reliable and stable infrastructure your network needs to serve your clients and customers during difficult times. To learn more about how we can help your remote office stay secure and productive, contact one of our colocation experts today.

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