So, you’ve said goodbye to the office for the foreseeable future. This will definitely come as a shock to the system for a lot of people; but home working has been a growing trend for quite a few years now. Here at TechQuarters, we have a network of employees spread across three continents; and we’ve helped many organisations digitally transform and implemented home working tech to enable remote working, so we’re getting quite good at it!
We know you want to ensure everyone in your organisation has the right tools for success – the last thing anyone wants at the end of the week is to find out your team was limited by their technology. As well as this, it’s also how you use that technology to maintain culture and face to face interaction.
So, we thought we’d make a post on some of the things we’ve learned, and what we think are the top tips for home working tech and culture.
First of all, you need to have an up-to-date machine that can handle the work that you do. For most people this won’t be difficult, seeing as laptop computers, like Surfaces, these days are more than capable of undertaking most office tasks. Next, make sure that you have a reliable broadband connection. This is highly important for upholding communication across the company; you don’t want the embarrassment of arriving late to a video conference due to lag!
Another tech tip we’ve found to be very popular with customers is employing virtual desktop solutions. At TechQuarters we offer the Windows Virtual Desktop Solution – this basically means that your operating system and applications are stored and protected in the cloud. This type of service is incredibly quick and easy to deploy.
Once you have the necessities for work, the next most important thing about remote working is having a workspace. In the best-case scenario, you will have an office or private space away from the rest of your home. But if you do need to set up in your living room or kitchen, make sure that you have created a space that is optimised for work. Equipment like screen mounts and laptop stands, to keep your head up, and headsets to block out distractions are essential. Make space for all your stationary – i.e. your calendar, a pen and notebook, a tablet. With these simple measure, you’ll be good to go on both equipment and environment!
Social and Collaborations
So, now you’ve got the ideal workspace set up, your machine in perfect working order, and with internet you can work just as effectively as in the office – and there’s no commute, you’re probably thinking you should’ve done this, ages ago!
But the thing you’ll really start to notice is you’re no longer surrounded by co-workers which, if you secretly can’t stand them, may be another plus. But probably, you do like the people you work with and besides, you still need to work with them. What’s more, sociable interaction and being able to bounce ideas off colleague’s face to face is as important a part of the workplace as anything else.
Here at TechQuarters, for example, we are operating almost entirely through Microsoft Teams – Microsoft’s collaboration tool. We have instant and group chats, and regular video meetings; sometimes we have people from different departments join in on video conferences to make sure that everyone in the organisation is staying in contact.
We also have apps such as Planner plugged-in so we can set, assign and update tasks. We personally would advise adopting Microsoft Teams, as it really can give you that perfect balance of efficient collaboration, and much-needed social interaction within your organisation.
Check out some more great Teams and home working tips in the quick video below!
Get Up and Move
Now we talked about eliminating distractions, but when working from home, there is also a tendency for people to overcompensate for fear of losing productivity. This means they may work later, and not take a full hour’s lunch break. But in reality, you probably wouldn’t spend your entire day at the office in your seat on an average day – you’d have tea and coffee breaks, toilet breaks, you might take a stroll to the supermarket or a food stall for lunch. It’s not just about good home working tech – it’s also important to always have a full hour’s lunch break, and those couple minutes you spend making yourself a tea or coffee are great for giving your brain a quick break and refresh – so it really is necessary to take those little breaks now and then. Health professionals do recommend getting up once an hour, just for a minute or so, to keep your energy up.
One of the things you may feel uncertain about whilst working from home is what if you run into technical difficulties? We know it can be scary when technology fails – it’s bad enough when you’re in the office, but if you’re on your own, you really feel it. Luckily, Remote IT Support has already evolved to meet the needs of remote working. As we mentioned at the beginning, we’ve already had a global remote workforce for a while now, so we understand the needs of home workers (as we are them!). This how we ended up developing our own remote IT Support service based on the needs of our own tech dependant users.
For example, it’s possible to remote onto a device to fix it. At TechQuarters, we use technology like Microsoft’s Remote Assistance connection and Ninja RMM to remote onto user’s PCs and fix them wherever they are.
Remote IT Support also goes hand in hand with Windows Virtual Desktop; because all your desktop components are stored in a safe, secure data centre in the cloud, and backed up by what’s known as redundant maintenance systems, it is protected from hardware failures. This is a more robust and reliable solution than having most of your data stored in your computer’s hard disk.
We hope you have found this post useful. We know it can be difficult getting used to remote working. It’s not just about the technical and logistical issues of it; home working poses interesting challenges around social interaction that a lot of us took for granted. But we hope that our best practice tech tips have shown that these challenges are scalable.
If you’d like to see how we could help you with the home working tech side of remote working, please contact us with the details below and we will get right back to you.