As the current pandemic disrupts nearly every aspect of the way companies and government organizations function, “business as usual” has become, well … anything but.
Before COVID-19, 5.2% of U.S. employees reported working remotely most of the time; of course, that number has skyrocketed over the past months. With most nonessential employees working remotely, businesses have been facing new challenges that affect daily operations and employee productivity.
For example, current information protocols may not function properly. Some workers have been cut off from their data because it’s not available in the cloud, or physical records are no longer accessible. And remote connections to company databases can introduce security threats that put organizations and their sensitive data at risk.
So—how can you empower your teams and strengthen information management practices during these uncertain times? Now, more than ever, your organization must focus on equipping remote workers to do their jobs efficiently, work collaboratively, and drive innovation in the face of adversity.
Here are a few practical initiatives you can take to ensure data security, effective collaboration, information intelligence, and employee productivity in this “new normal.” Even better, these initiatives can be implemented immediately with your current IT setup—so you don’t have to spend a dime to get started.
How are your employees accessing, sharing, and storing files? Be sure to communicate with your teams to make sure everyone is on the same page—and that they understand how to manage files securely in the cloud.
- Choose an official file-sharing platform. Working within an office helps IT enforce uniform data and file-sharing practices. Now that employees are remote, file management can get tricky. Like with communications platforms, many people take a “choose your own adventure” approach to file-sharing platforms—which means that important data isn’t all in one place. Without a consistent file-sharing program, information can easily get misplaced, duplicated, lost, or overlooked—and it can also make version control especially challenging.
How can you combat this? Implement a centralized, cloud-based information management system. This means that employees can use their preferred platform (if it’s company approved), while the centralized information management system operates in the background, connecting to platforms and safely and securely managing information.
- Improve taxonomies. Today, people are uploading more files and data than ever. This was a challenge before COVID-19, and now it’s even more difficult. That’s why it’s important to create file and folder structures that are easily navigable and promote uniformity across teams, departments, and your entire enterprise. This is a great opportunity to establish and enforce taxonomic consistency that your employees will come to appreciate.
A centralized information aggregation system collects and protects information while still giving employees flexibility to work the way they want, on their preferred platforms.
How can you help distributed teams stay connected and keep data secure? Setting up efficient communication channels is key.
- Choose an official communications platform—and make sure your teams are equipped to work effectively. In an office setting, IT departments can easily control the apps that employees use for work. However, when everyone works remotely (and possibly on their own devices), your employees might elect to use the apps that they personally prefer—which can result in siloed, lost, duplicated, or outdated information, and can leave your organization open to security risks.
A recent Box study found that digital collaboration has grown by 19% during this pandemic, so it’s critical to provide your teams with a consistent way to stay in touch, share files, and work together.
To enable successful collaboration, determine the best platform for your business—preferably one with high security and accessibility to consolidate communications and data transfer and storage.
Then, make sure that all employees know how to use it. Consider hosting a virtual tutorial or demo to walk them through it. For the platform to be successful, everyone needs to understand how it works and how your company expects them to use it for collaboration.
- Hold regular remote standup meetings. Remember when your teams used to gather in physical rooms to catch up and discuss work? Being in the same space makes working together in real time easy. But when in-person meetings are no longer an option, communication may lapse, which can hinder productivity and make workers feel isolated.
Don’t let that happen. Use a videoconferencing platform to host regular standup meetings (at whatever cadence makes sense—but remember that too many meetings can hurt productivity). These meetings should help establish a sense of community and give people the chance to share important work developments and support each other. Right now, interpersonal communication is more important than ever.
Increasing efficiency and employee satisfaction
Information intelligence and data security are critical in today’s business climate, but employee happiness is also important. Empowering your employees to work smarter can also boost their satisfaction.
In these unprecedented times, it’s important to keep in mind that your employees might be under a lot of pressure. They’re concerned about their own health and their family’s health. They might have concerns about job security or finances. You can’t control how they feel, but you can equip them to work with more efficiency, collaboration, and confidence. Increased employee satisfaction is good for everyone, including the health of your organization.
By centralizing team communications and information, you can improve your company operationally, and you’ll also help your employees as people. Taking these measures can help your workers to be more proactive and innovative, and also take care of themselves, which is particularly crucial when they’re dealing with extra stress.
Interested in learning more about how you can equip your remote workers for success? Contact us with your questions—we are ready to help.