Communication in the modern age has reached unforeseen levels of ease. Between the simplicity of text messaging and the addictive nature of social media, news travels at unreal speeds between anybody that wants to know. However, digital communication has become an even greater concern due to the unpredictable nature of COVID-19 and continued isolation. With this in mind, it is important to view the remote workforce as permanent, if only to ease the pain of a temporary adjustment. The workforce may go back to normal eventually, but in the meantime, there are several key things to remember in order to maintain productivity.
Virtual Servers vs. On-Premises Servers
On-Premises servers, while expensive to get up and running, are as secure as their premises and allow a business complete control over its hardware and software. However, newfound isolation makes finding IT Support and Personnel for these servers a challenge. Virtual Servers are managed by the vendor, and will provide the same services with a lower initial cost. However, virtual servers may not be as secure as on-premises servers, although they do have efficient disaster recovey and see improvements in security as time goes on. Whether or not a business should use Virtual or On-Premises Servers or a combination of the two depends completely on the needs of the business, but remains an important thing to consider with the changing of the workplace.
Ensure Data is In the Cloud
Cloud computing provides a cost-effective and incredibly convenient method of storing data. Applications and data stored in the Cloud can be accessed from any device in any location as long as said device has reliable internet connection, offering a huge advantage to businesses that are working completely remote.
Integration between Collaboration and Productivity Apps
Encouraging collaboration between team members is one thing, but allowing people to collaborate on the appropriate platforms is the key to success. Email has always been a major tool, but applications specific to workplace communication, like Slack or Flowdock, provide a space separate from personal messages, while continuing to provide the means to send and receive any necessary documents or files. Even with the convenience of instant messaging, face-to-face communication has not lost its importance. Implementing the use of apps like Zoom and Google Meet for more bigger discussions restores the humanity lost with the sole use of texts and emails. Apps like Google Docs and Quip provide teams with the ability to work on the same files at the same time, bringing back the essential real-time collaboration that may have been lost by the transition to a remote workforce.
With so many tools readily available to improve communication and productivity, it is easy for a team to feel micro-managed by a leader. While there is nothing wrong with making sure people stay on task, having a set schedule for periodic check-ins can help reduce any unintentional pressure. Having a specified time with discussion in mind creates a place for an open dialogue and makes use of the communication apps mentioned earlier. Of course, check-ins don’t have to be weekly, they can be bi-weekly or monthly or however often needed in order to maintain productivity.
“Random Coffee” over Zoom
One of the most crucial aspects of the workplace that has been lost by the newly remote workforce is camaraderie. Humanity is often forgotten when communication is done from behind a screen, and taking a few minutes every once in a while to chat about the simple things in life with your colleagues will invigorate the sense of partnership within a team, and may also spice up a lackluster lunch.
At the end of the day, the productivity of a business relies on the willingness of the worker. If morals are down and people are feeling overworked or just overwhelmed at the state of the world, not much is going to get done. It will take time for people to adjust, but focusing on the “big picture” and taking everything one step at a time is a fair way to let people find the balance they need.