10 Things You Can Do to Help Employees Set Up Remote Offices

Remote officesThe benefits of allowing employees to work remotely is already widely recognized. Companies now even take the initiative to assist aspiring remote workers with setting up remote offices that not only help get the job done, but also kick productivity into high gear. Here are some of the things you can do to boost remote office functionality.

Aside from the first suggestion being the most important, the items below aren’t arranged in order of priority.

1. Start with a plan

As with any endeavor, lay out a plan. Before proceeding, step back and assess whether what you want to achieve can really be achieved best through remote work. Define your objectives and expectations. Let your employees know what outputs you expect from them and what support they can expect from you. The idea is to set up remote offices strategically in order to minimize waste and risk.

2. Ensure fast, reliable internet access

In a remote working arrangement, you and your employees will rely heavily on the internet for communication, collaboration, and job completion. It’s therefore very important for your employees’ internet connections to be fast and reliable. Pick an ISP (or ISPs) who not only offers fast internet speed on paper but also has the track record (and especially customer feedback) to back that up.

3. Provide the right tools and equipment

Just because your employees are going to operate from a remote office doesn’t mean you can leave them to their own devices (no pun intended). In fact, it’s even more important that you make sure they’ll be able to do their tasks efficiently and securely. This would entail providing them the right software and hardware—e.g., applications and desktops delivered by virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), a second monitor, a suitable laptop and so on. You can work closely with your IT team to determine what’s needed.

4. Ensure favorable working conditions

In almost all cases, employees will be working from home. That means, in some cases, their workspace might have a lot of distractions and perhaps even inconveniences. Your role is to help transform their home office into a place where they can actually focus on work. If it’s too hot, maybe you can provide an A/C. If it’s too noisy (and a noise-canceling headphone won’t do), maybe you can help them acquire sound-absorbing materials like thick drapes or carpets.

5. Establish communication lines

As long as it’s within “office hours”, you should be able to contact remote employees (and they, you) anytime—just as if they’re in a regular office. To do that, be sure to equip remote workers with all the needed communications tools (Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.) and devices (a phone is a must-have). Just be sure you’re not invading their privacy too much by calling at ungodly hours or on weekends, even for non-business-critical concerns.

6. Instill a spirit of teamwork

While it helps to give employees enough autonomy to accomplish a set of tasks, all those tasks are part of a bigger goal. Help your employees understand and appreciate the big picture and how important it is to work cohesively as a team. Of course, they can only work as a team if you equip remote offices with the right tools. Cloud-based solutions that have built-in collaborative functionality will help.

7. Institute regular virtual team meetings

Number 5 was all about one-on-one communications. One way to foster teamwork is by conducting virtual team meetings regularly. This helps all team members become familiar and at ease with one another, even if they spend most of their time working separately in their own remote offices. It will also provide the opportunity to brainstorm new ideas together or solve problems that require input from different departments or people.

8. Take charge of securing corporate data

Take charge of cybersecurity. Unlike in a regular office, where digital assets are protected by a corporate firewall and an in-house IT team, remote offices won’t have that level of protection. In addition, not only will employees lack the technical know-how, many of them won’t be motivated to secure corporate data.

So, provide remote workers with inherently secure solutions (meaning, they won’t have to do much to keep data secure) or solutions that allow you to secure data yourself. Hosting applications and data in a central location where IT staff can easily install patches, apply security policies, and harden them is a step in the right direction.

9. Establish a progress tracking mechanism

Whether you employ a software solution or just good, old-fashioned reporting, having a way to track your remote workers’ progress is a key to success. You’ll want to know who’s slacking, so you can apply remedial action before things get out of hand. You’ll also want to know who’s doing well, so you can give praise.

10. Infuse company culture

Common company culture goes hand in hand with teamwork. One way of cultivating teamwork is by infusing a common company culture into each and every remote worker. That way, you all share the same values, goals and aspirations for your organization. This is more challenging in a remote workplace, so you’ll need to work closely with HR to figure out the right methods to implement this.

Shift your remote offices into high gear with Parallels RAS

Many companies who have adopted remote work are using Parallels® Remote Access Server (RAS) to improve the efficiency, productivity and security of their remote offices. Parallels RAS is a powerful all-in-one VDI solution that delivers applications and virtual desktops to any device, anytime, anywhere.

With Parallels RAS, all your digital assets (both applications and data) are hosted safely in your on-premises data center, hybrid environment or highly-secure public cloud. From there, they can be delivered securely and easily to all your remote offices. If any of your applications or operating systems require patching or re-configuration, your IT administrators can do it from that same central location through a single pane of glass.

Parallels RAS-delivered applications function as if they’re installed locally even if they’re actually running off of a server several miles away. And because Parallels RAS clients are so easy to use, your remote workers won’t have difficulty launching and using applications.

Also, because your digital assets are stored in a central location instead of in your remote workers’ devices, they’ll remain safe if a remote office gets compromised, e.g., if the device is stolen or that location gets flooded or hit by a hurricane.

Start shifting your remote offices into high gear. Try Parallels RAS now!