The massive transition to remote work within the COVID 19 pandemic is one of the most important challenges facing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Jacksonville and around the world today. This is especially true for SMB’s who lack the resources of larger organizations, A productive business needs the right tools to seamlessly manage remote workers. As businesses are going remote these days, they are using remote employees and freelancers to have the competitive advantage. But what are the best practices on managing remote employees? What tools can be used? and how remote employee management is different from traditional management? Here are five major solutions available from Managed IT Service Providers (MSPs).
1. Enabling of “Employee Monitoring software”
If your employees are working remotely, you need to provide them with the monitoring, training, and support they need to succeed in their new environment. Employee monitoring software is an important part of this because it is installed on employee devices to track computer activity in real time and monitor metrics such as
- Application Usage- monitors whether employees are using enterprise software safely and efficiently.
- Check-in and Check-out times- check employee attendance to see how much you can achieve on a particular day.
- Web Activity and Social Media During Business Hours – determines whether employees access harmful online content or time-consuming online content
- Idle times- find out which parts of the day employees are most productive and not.
Monitoring these metrics can be of great benefit to your business. First, you can identify poor-performing remote workers and provide customized training on how to use your applications and the Internet safely and efficiently. Finally, by tracking attendance and idle time, you can better consider the cause of disconnection from work and set up employee engagement initiatives. For example, booking a fun team video chat or cooperative game time frame can turn idle / unproductive time into a great team building activity. Appropriate strategies backed by data from employee monitoring software can dramatically improve productivity, employee morale, and cost savings.
2. Application of UEM (Unified Endpoint Management)
UEM is a platform that can monitor devices (or endpoints) that connect to corporate networks, applications, and data. The device is registered with the UEM platform by installing and activating the software client. The software client basically transfers device information and data to the central console. From there, system administrators can remotely manage devices, troubleshoot IT issues, and enforce company-wide security policies in one place without confusing users.
The UEM core features are:
- Single-Pane Device Monitoring- view important information about endpoints/ System processes/ Users / Software Patch Versions/ CPU and memory usage, etc.
- Role-based access control- give users the minimum level of access they need to run their jobs.
- Endpoint Repair- blocks vulnerable devices that are out of date, jailbroken, or connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots
- Remote Troubleshooting- allows technicians to access devices for troubleshooting purposes and wipe devices that may be at risk.
- Centralized authentication settings- Mandates strong passwords and multi-factor authentications.
- Application and patch management- can transfer files and deploy patches from a single console
3. Setting up of VPN (Virtual Private Network)
The biggest concern with remote work is that employees access corporate files over public and personal networks. These networks are not as strongly protected as corporate networks. This gives hackers the opportunity to sit between the employee’s device and the system and intercept the data flowing between the two points.
VPN’s are so important to remote workers, becuase they sit on the employee’s device and create a secure tunnel to the organization’s internal network and the Internet.
All data sent through this tunnel is fully encrypted so that hackers do not steal sensitive company information or track employee web activity. The VPN also routes connections to remote servers that access websites on your behalf, making it appear as if you are elsewhere. This is especially useful when remote workers cannot access business data or regional websites due to geographical restrictions.
4. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Hosted VoIP phone systems are ideal for communicating and managing distributed employees. These systems convert the caller’s voice into a digital signal and send it over an internet connection instead of a traditional telephone line.This allows remote workers to make and receive calls from virtually anywhere as long as they have an internet-enabled computer, smartphone, or other mobile device. And because VoIP uses the Internet, employees don’t have to pay large long-distance or international calling charges.
VoIP also increases flexibility. It has a call transfer function that redirects incoming calls to the recipient’s landline or mobile number so that they do not miss an incoming call. If the recipient’s status is set to busy or unavailable, the VoIP app can be pre-programmed to save voice mail or forward the call to the next available agent.
There is also a built-in call monitoring tool that you can use to guide customer service personnel and ensure that everyone follows the correct communication protocol. Finally, the VoIP solution records call statistics and provides valuable insights into call volume, agent response time, and call resolution, allowing you to assess the overall performance of your remote team.
5. Cloud collaboration tools
The best way to organize a remote team is to use a feature-rich cloud collaboration solution. For example, Microsoft 365 provides users and teams with a centralized platform for storing and sharing company files and collaborating on web-based versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Google Suite also provides similar capabilities and features in Google Drive, Sheets and Docs.
The Cloud Productivity Suite also provides a shared calendar and group inbox so you can sync your work schedule and leave important announcements to your team. If you need to host meetings, webins, and one-on-one, business messaging tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams are essential. They provide powerful HD audio / video calling capabilities that allow you to integrate work documents, surveys and reminders into your conversations. You can also create channels specifically for a particular department or group so that HR conversations aren’t confused with marketing announcements.
Finally, project management tools such as Asana and Trello allow you to visualize project flows, tasks, and deadlines in an easy-to-use dashboard. This makes it easy to assign work, track progress, and prioritize projects without having to assign people individually. With the right solution, it’s very easy to lead a remote team.
CSG Technologies is a leading provider of managed IT services, providing best-in-class services and solutions optimized for remote workers. From cloud collaboration tools to UEM software, you have everything you need to succeed. Contact us today.