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By Kristen Hateley • March 17, 2020

Coronavirus and the Cloud: How to Succeed at Remote Working

Our top tips to keep your users productive and engaged while working from home.

In the wake of COVID-19,  companies worldwide are faced with the challenge of implementing remote work capabilities. Some workplaces which have previously been reticent to allow widespread remote work for fear of decreased productivity and collaboration, are now forced to react quickly and prepare a plan.

While there is a period of adaptation, with the right guidelines and habits, this transition can go smoothly.

In this article, we’ll explain how best to use the cloud to maintain high productivity, collaboration and employee morale while keeping your employees safe at home.

What tools do you need?

If you take the average office, there might be a few people who can work independently, without constant collaboration and interaction for colleagues. For most, however, workers need to have appropriate devices, internet access and access to the business applications required for daily work.

For workers with company laptops and phones, it is easy to start working from home. Even in the absence of home internet, the phone plan should contain data which can be shared. In many companies, a portion of workers use desktop computers and may not have a personal computer at home. Others may not have a computer adequately powered for their work, or may lack the necessary software. 

In a pinch devices such as phones and tablets can be used. A cheap Bluetooth keyboard will help with the ergonomics. Both have cameras to assist with video conferencing. For anyone without home internet or reliable access to a 4G connection, it is possible to buy Wi-Fi passes which provide access throughout urban areas. 

If you rely on cloud applications, you’re in luck, as you can access them from any device (and if two-factor authentication is not yet mandatory, it could be a good time to start).

In some cases, you might have already introduced G Suite, Office 365, or other cloud tools, but not everyone has fully adopted the new ways of working. If people have persisted in saving files on the desktop or company server, now can be a good time to encourage embracing cloud storage and getting comfortable joining video calls. 

These tools are available on all devices, either from the browser or by installing applications, which means people can collaborate and communicate smoothly, even without access to a company laptop. 

If Wi-Fi is unreliable or the connection is slow, your employees can use offline features, such as OneDrive Sync and Drive and Gmail offline. Not sure your users are aware of these features? Send out a company-wide communication to explain the necessary steps. This will keep their experience fluid and stress down. 

Keep the whole company up-to-date with developments

When employees don’t get the chance to see each other in person everyday, it is more important than ever to ensure everybody has easy access to company updates. While you can send a company-wide email, it is a stressful moment and a time where it is better not to rely solely on top-down communication. This is when company networks like Workplace by Facebook shine. 

By using these networks, employees can check in around the world, ensure colleagues far and wide are okay and show solidarity. 

Workplace feed screen shot

In case of an important announcement regarding new policies in light of COVID-19, a live stream can be organized. The video is then available for anyone unable to connect, due to time zone differences. 

Not only can people share real time updates company wide and react to others, but a strong feeling of connection and unity is maintained.

Creating a virtual team space

While some employees will be excited to work from home, others will be far less enthusiastic. Some employees prefer to be in an office setting, with all the equipment provided and colleagues by their sides. 

For people who are afraid of isolation when working from home, or with difficulties focusing with the various distractions of home, you can create a virtual team space where each employee’s goals are clearly outlined.

One solution is to have a daily check in team video call to share what you’re working on. This helps both with the sense of connection and to give everyone the opportunity to reflect on their tasks for the day. 

Another good option is to create a team chat in Hangouts or a group conversation in Teams. You can also use the Posts tab in Teams for this. This way, your employees can exchange messages throughout the day, getting quick answers to any queries and sharing important updates. 

People should be careful to update their availability in the chat apps so colleagues know they are available. Any cancelled meetings should be deleted from the calendar to show updated availability. 

If your employees are not used to video meetings, set up a few check-ins to get your users accustomed to the tools. Practice screen sharing to show you can not only see each other but you can also see the same screen at the same time. Employees should feel comfortable jumping on a video call to maintain the benefits of live collaboration even at a distance. 

Best practices:

  • Update your status so people can see you are available even when working remotely
  • Turn cameras on for meetings both to ensure engagement, feel connected and resist the urge to multi-task
  • Chat with colleagues so you don’t feel isolated
  • Share updates with colleagues as you normally would when in the office
  • Resist the urge to work later than usual or switch up your office hours too much, both to be in sync with colleagues and avoid burnout
  • Turn off notifications when not working so you’re not tempted to keep working after hours

 

Does your company use Office 365 or Microsoft Teams? Check out our article on top Teams features to make your remote working experience as smooth as possible. 

If your company uses G Suite, here our our top tips to keep your employees productive while working from home.

Need help getting started with some of these tools or having trouble with user adoption? Contact our experts today and see how Revevol can help you optimize these key cloud tools.