When equipping the office space, consider your entire team. Think about what equipment and resources your employees will require, provide, and/or pay for themselves. Regardless of how many days they work from home, it’s essential that their home office is set up similarly to the office. Having an ergonomically friendly desk and chair arrangement is as crucial at home as it is in the office. The same goes for having quality microphones, speakers, and webcams. All these pieces of equipment are critical to ensure employees can seamlessly join virtual meetings and experiences. Without the proper investment in these resources and reasonable support from employers, remote employees are unable to share the same opportunities and experiences as their in-office colleagues. Moreover, it detracts from your organization’s ability to have an optimized remote or hybrid workforce.
When considering how to be intentional with your remote workforce, equipping your teams should be at the top of the list.
Who’s footing the bill?
It’s easy to forget about your employees’ home offices when looking at equipment. Out of sight, out of mind, right? But taking that approach can be detrimental to your team’s productivity and cause confusion among staff. According to the State of Association Workplaces Post-Pandemic, expense coverage varied depending on the tool/equipment at hand, regardless of whether the employer required it. For example, while a quarter of respondents indicated that employees’ personal cell phones will be the primary tool for outgoing communication, only 60% plan to cover, and 13% are considering covering the expense. This illustrates a slight misalignment between job requirements, employers, and the employer’s responsibility to provide the equipment necessary to perform. When people were in the office full time, would you have covered their desk phones?
Gaps like these in policy and execution highlight the need to be more intentional and aware of how you are asking remote employees to equip themselves for required job-related duties. You also need to be intentional in disseminating supplies, stipends, or equipment. This ensures that your policies and procedures are equitable. It also reinforces the need to consider what security measures can be requested/required on tools the organization is not financially supporting, such as a personal cell phone.
Reduce your security risks
As you implement your hybrid workplace, you should also review and update policies around file storage and security practices. We know that Associations, specifically, are facing a significant risk–only 46% have trained staff on security practices and policies related to files, systems, and data. While it is nearly impossible to avoid all risks, you can effectively prevent and mitigate many risks by going beyond basic compliance and weaving a security mindset into the fabric of your organization. To build this mindset, begin by paying closer attention to your team’s cyber hygiene – the practices and steps users of computers/devices take to maintain system health and improve online security. These practices are often part of a routine to ensure the safety of identity and other details that can be stolen or corrupted. Often it includes practices such as:
- Regularly back up files
- Update passwords consistently
- Locking equipment every time you step away or not sharing any work devices
- Plan and prepare your team by taking inventory of all equipment
- Document who has access to all devices and platforms
To reinforce these practices, train, retrain, and train again. Assuming a “one and done” in training your employees will not yield results that optimize your cybersecurity. This shift to a security mindset will result in greater cooperative efforts to better guard your organization’s processes, equipment, members/clients, and data.
Hybrid-remote work teams need to change their workflows around projects and create or amend operating protocols. Leaders need to look at their Operations, one of the 5 Essential Elements of an Optimized Distributed Workforce™. Generally, we believe that operations in a remote environment requires leaders to reimagine, not replicate, work processes and the workforce structure. But when it comes to equipping staff and enforcing security protocols, it’s okay to replicate the office. In fact, it’s encouraged! Employees working from home should feel just as supported as they did in the office.
If you wonder if there are any gaps in your policies, procedures, protocols, and communications, consider taking a pulse assessment of your team. The results and targeted recommendations you receive will help you understand what is working well, what presents a risk, and what short- and long-term steps will get you to an optimized distributed workforce. Check out our assessment page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.