As many companies move back to the office, it has quickly become apparent that to maintain social distancing, a hybrid workforce (some on-site and some remote) will be necessary for the near term. Those who can work from home should help reduce the risk of infection spreading through the office. Just as companies needed to adjust to workers being offsite full time, the hybrid approach will also change to ensure that priorities are being met and business goals are still front and center.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when testing the waters with a hybrid workforce.
Prioritize Who Goes On-Site
While many roles have been proven successful while employees are remote, that’s not the case for every job. When planning what the hybrid workforce will look like, consider what roles are required to be in the office or on the job site to be successful. Make sure you are considering the functionality and requirements of those roles and prioritize those roles first to return to work.
Continue to Enable Remote Workers
For those workers who can continue working remotely, make sure they have the tools and resources (as much as possible) to do so successfully. Consider providing a small stipend to help them invest in good office furniture and technology (stand up tables, a good office chair, headphones, a webcam) because these small additions can make the work from home environment much more productive. Emphasize the importance of staying connected as a team, even when everyone is in different locations. The tools and technologies available today make this very doable. Video conferencing and team connectivity tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack have already proven their accessibility and impact for remote teams. Commit to regular check-ins with individuals as well as with groups. Those watercooler connection moments are lost, but bonding and team building can still take place in alternate formats. You just need to take the time and create the space for it.
Increase Digital Security with VPN
One of the reasons that many businesses had made the switch to a remote workforce early on is because there is actually a marked increase in the productivity of remote hires. For those professionals able to set their own schedule, work from their preferred locations, the time that is spent getting the job done is more focused and productive. There are fewer distractions, and workers remain more engaged. But if those remote workers don’t have access to the network, they might very well struggle to do their best when their resources are restricted. Also, there is an increased risk of data loss or vulnerability to hacking by relying on remote team members.
But investment in a reliable VPN is the answer. It provides secure access to the internal network that remote employees need to be a productive day in and day out. It furthermore limits risk by ensuring a secure connection while giving your remote workers access to the resources they need. Ensuring that remote workers have access to the right information and resources via your internal network is critical. Still, it must be provided with the data security to ensure your sensitive information is kept safe. But with VPN, data security is protected while your workforce can stay in touch just like any other employee.
With these adjustments and others, you might be surprised how easy the transition to a hybrid approach might be.