With much of the world transitioning from office work to working from home, many small businesses are struggling to integrate virtual work platforms at the last second. If you’ve made the decision to send employees home, you can still keep your business running smoothly with a little technology magic.
Whether you’re a new business with a small team or an established company with a massive list of employees, these tips on working from home will help your company find a virtual routine.
(Pro tip: We included TONS of links to helpful resources in each of these tips! If you ever get stuck, give us a call at (904) 606-6011 or email email@example.com. We’ll be happy to help.)
- Ensure you’re using the best collaboration tools for remote work. We put this first because it’s the most important tip for small business owners transitioning to virtual environments. When working remotely, collaboration tools will be your best friend. Tools like Office 365 can be integrated with your email platform and cloud storage solutions, so that your entire team has access to every file, program, and password they need to work from home. (P.S. If you’re not sure about Office 365, ask us about trying a free demo. A demo works as a short-term solution for businesses that plan to get back into a physical office as soon as possible—but we bet you’ll love Office 365 so much you stick with the full program!)
- Set your priorities with project management platforms. How do you make sure your team is getting enough work done? A simple project management platform goes a long way toward improving efficiency while working from home. Tools like Asana, Smartsheet, and Monday.com allow team members to coordinate on projects, check progress, and share information with each other. Each day, identify your critical tasks. What must get done today? Get to those tasks first, and tackle the rest in order of priority.
- Update all your critical software. Dusty laptops run slower when they’re lacking critical updates. This is a quick fix for improving performance issues: before committing to a fully remote schedule, check your home computer for updates. (Most modern computers let you do this by running a software check or other system check. If you’re stuck, give us a call and we’ll walk you through the process.) While you’re at it, make sure to restart your computer at least once. Your computer needs the restart process to finish installing certain updates, and to refresh certain programs. The performance increase is astounding!
- Double-check your antivirus and antimalware. When switching to remote work, security is key. Like collaboration tools, your antivirus and antimalware programs need regular updates to keep running smoothly. If you can, set these programs to automatically update whenever new drivers or patches are available. Remember to restart your computer anytime you install these new updates.
- Keep up with RMM. Remote businesses need IT support, too! Working with a managed service provider like Grand Technology Solutions, you can keep up with updates, virus protection, and other technology solutions without ever meeting face to face. This is an especially helpful tip for business owners who have never worked from home before, or never managed a remote team. When you delegate your IT needs to a reliable RMM provider, you free up your workday for more important tasks (like running your business!).
- Remember: the cloud is your friend. Cloud storage is the best way to ensure remote teams have access to everything they need. Before leaving the office, make sure your team has remote access to any critical files, programs, and passwords. (If you’re short on cloud storage, give us a call. We offer cloud storage solutions like GTS Backup and the GTS Password Portal, which are both designed to ease the transition to a virtual work environment.)
- Install programs for remote audio and video conferencing. Did you know that many collaboration tools offer some sort of free conferencing system as part of their bundled services? For example, Office 365 offers something called Microsoft Teams which includes an instant messaging system, video/audio conferencing, and file sharing. If you’re looking for something more temporary, tools like Zoom and UberConference offer free or low-cost options. (However, it’s important to note that the “free” versions of these platforms often come with restrictions, like limiting the amount of time for a video conference or reducing the number of participants.)
- Find your routine—and stick to it! While working from home, it’s important to mimic your office routine as closely as possible. That means holding your regular meetings over video conference, taking lunch around the same time, and sticking to any critical tasks that you would normally complete from your office desk. There’s going to be an understandable transition period—recognize that everyone needs time to adjust, and set your expectations accordingly. With the right practices and tools, your team can find a workable home routine together.
- Minimize distractions. “My kids are home from school!” “My dog wants to play fetch!” “Someone’s mowing their lawn in the middle of my video conference!” Does this sound like you? Our homes offer plenty of distractions, which is why it’s important to minimize these as best as possible. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that you’re going to get distracted—and you’ll have to be nice to yourself about it. If you can, designate a space in your home as your “work area.” If you don’t have a home office space, this could be a table in the corner of your living room, or a portion of your kitchen table. Use this space for work and only work—that will help you get into the mindset of working from home anytime you take your new seat. If you live with a partner, discuss ways to make your individual routines work without interfering with the other. For people with kids, help them set a routine and stick to it. Create a “do not disturb” system that your kids will understand, so you can sequester yourself if you have an online meeting.
- And most importantly, take care of yourself. By now, we all know the important things: drink lots of water, wash your hands often, and cough into your elbow. However, wellness is just as important as health. If the work-from-home routine is stressing you out, set aside time to check in with yourself. Simple things like a quick walk around the house, fifteen minutes of stretching, or ten minutes of listening to music with your eyes closed can help shake off cabin fever and boost your productivity.
At Grand Technology Solutions, our motto is “We’re here to listen, and we’re here to help.” That doesn’t change when our clients switch to remote work. If you’re struggling with collaboration tools, software implementation, or anything and everything related to transitioning to remote work, WE’RE HERE TO HELP. Give us a call at (904) 606-6011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together, we can manage any situation and find the right solutions for your team!