The need for job satisfaction is human. And if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that unexpected changes and emergencies are inevitable. So, how do you navigate a world that is seemingly borderless, with unknown future disruptions, all while attracting top talent and aiming to be one of the best places to work? The answer: technology.
Here are three ways you can leverage technology to give your team the right tools to connect regardless of their location.
Empower your team to be learners in control, giving them the ability to take in and digest information however they see fit. Training should be available while they’re passing time at their kid’s soccer practice or on their commute in to work. When it comes to e-learning, there are a variety of options; however, one of the easiest to implement is podcasts, which provide an alternative to large pieces of written content.
For a relatively low cost, your team can have access to an almost unlimited amount of content tailored almost specifically for you. To get started, pick a podcast, and assign it to your team. Encourage them to share their thoughts on a digital platform, such as Microsoft Teams. Ask them to share what they learned and how it can be applied immediately to your organization.
Teams must also stay up to date on security awareness training. Hackers too are adapting to the times and have moved away from complicated, technical exploits to concentrate more on end users. Why? Because research shows that 91% of successful data breaches start with a spear phishing attack. Using interactive models, videos and even games, you can train your users to spot a phishing attempt and defend against it. By conducting simulated phishing attempts, you can see the results and determine your exposure risk. Ongoing security awareness training is integral to developing a successful, people-centric approach to cybersecurity.
As the borderless workforce becomes more common, leaders still struggle with one key aspect: employee recognition. No matter your employees’ location, they need to be motivated and engaged and know that their work matters. Without the opportunity for the spontaneous “you rock” remarks, as a manager, you may be worried about how to recognize the achievements of remote employees. Here are two ways:
1. Provide team members with recognition tools. Empower your team to continue the traditional watercooler high-fives virtually. Use your communication platform to set up a #HighFive channel to allow team members to send praise virtually and in real time.
2. Go beyond email and set up weekly meetings with each team member. During these meetings, turn the camera on and virtually connect. These can be quick and informal, but they open a line of communication and allow you to have a pulse on your team’s well-being. During this time, be specific in your feedback. Your team wants to hear that their efforts are valued and recognized.
Empowering teams to be productive in a remote environment starts with the right technology. IDG Communications recently released its cloud computing research stating that 92% of organizations say their IT environment (infrastructure, applications, data analytics, etc.) is in the cloud to some extent. This is expected to grow to 95% 18 months from now. Its research also predicts that 32% of an organization’s IT budget will be allocated to cloud computing within the next year.
With the ability to access work from anywhere and edit documents in real time, cloud-based collaboration tools allow your team to stay connected to each other no matter their location. SMBs that decide to fully migrate to the cloud will need a plan to get the most out of cloud usage for years to come.
Microsoft research shows that up to 80% of company time is spent on collaborative projects. It’s no secret that when teams are not on the same page, quality of work suffers. So how do you keep projects moving with team members spread out? Incorporate project management software into your strategy. This software can provide your team with a central location for important information related to the project and allow teams to complete projects more efficiently and quickly.
Project management software isn’t the only tech tool you’ll need during this time. To avoid unneeded stress on your team — and disruptive downtime — you may choose to bring in an IT team to provide additional support. Here are four IT needs created by remote work:
1. Availability: A real, live person who answers the phone when your team calls for help.
2. Support hours: Find an IT team that is available during your business hours, especially if they are 24/7/365.
3. Consultation and vendor management: In addition to the help desk, you may need answers to general questions for working with other technical vendors. Having a trusted advisor helps keep things up and running.
4. Periodic projects: Be prepared for the unexpected. If you have an employee who decides or needs to go remote, make sure you have the team in place to provide the support. This is especially necessary if an entire department suddenly needs to go remote.
In the modern workplace, leaders should recognize that remote work is the future. This trend is something we should all be working to adopt. Leveraging these tips for empowering your remote team members should be a priority for leaders in this growing workforce.
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