The COVID-19 pandemic has incited Australia’s biggest remote work trial run in history. Social distancing measures have forced many employees out of their offices and required them to work from home. A second wave of outbreaks is also affecting Victoria and parts of New South Wales. As a result, people may have to continue working remotely for several months to come. Large corporations like Facebook and Twitter, for instance, have already announced permanent remote work arrangements for their employees.
However, it’s not just the big guys that can make these arrangements work. Permanent work from home strategies may be an option for your Australian business, and here are five reasons why.
Businesses are increasingly tech-centric
The current global health crisis has shown that many businesses are actually well-suited for remote work. Production, accounting, and business administration are much more flexible roles, thanks to high-speed internet and cloud computing.
We’d even argue that permanent remote work is viable for your business if it relies on digital technologies in any capacity. For example, many marketing companies now utilise cloud-based customer relationship management software, while professional services use project management tools. Even trades businesses use mobile devices and job management apps to plan and schedule jobs.
With cloud computing, employees have the freedom to work from any location at any time. That means employees can work in an environment that’s free from distractions and conducive to their productivity. They can access shared company files on personal devices and easily coordinate with colleagues. It also means employees can set their hours to fit their lifestyle, which increases job satisfaction levels in the long run. The point is, implementing a permanent remote work strategy can work for your business as long as you have flexible workflows and IT systems.
Powerful communication and collaboration platforms
In a remote working environment, it can be difficult to explain complex ideas and collaborate on projects. Emails alone won’t be sufficient when employees have questions or if they need direct feedback on a document. Fortunately, businesses today have access to a myriad of tools that connect distributed workforces and make them feel as if they were in the office.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems, for starters, offer robust communication features to remote workers. These allow users to make and receive calls through internet-enabled devices, and come with voicemail, call routing, and auto-attendant capabilities.
To increase collaboration among your remote team, cloud platforms are essential. Microsoft 365, for instance, has web versions of popular productivity software like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and enables collaboration on the same document. Microsoft’s business messaging app, Microsoft Teams, is also included in the package, making it easy to send instant messages, conduct video conferences, and share files. What’s more, Microsoft 365 provides centralised storage, calendars, and task management dashboards to help you coordinate your team regardless of where they are.
By incorporating all these tools into your workflow, employees can seamlessly transition to a permanent remote work setup.
Significant cost savings
Switching to a fully remote team makes sense for any company that wants to save money. First of all, it significantly reduces travel expenses for employees because they can just work from home. In fact, recent reports found that metro-based Australian business owners can save $10.50 every day by not commuting.
Permanent remote work can also cut the operating costs of managing an office space. Plus, since a majority of Australian households have access to fast internet and computing devices, staff can use personal devices for work and decrease hardware costs.
More advanced cybersecurity systems
Many businesses have reservations about permanent remote work arrangements because of the potential cybersecurity risks. More specifically, employee devices that access company data are not protected by the corporate network when they’re used outside the office. There’s no guarantee employees will use their devices safely, patch these regularly, and proactively keep malware at bay.
The best way to overcome these challenges is to deploy a cybersecurity framework designed for remote teams. This entails registering employee devices to an endpoint management platform like Microsoft Intune, so you can oversee security on a company-wide scale.
Microsoft Intune lets you set access restrictions to company apps and data based on job roles, locations, and the overall security of a device. You can enforce strict password policies, make multifactor authentication mandatory, and roll out the latest updates to company devices. It even allows you to wipe lost or stolen devices to minimise the risk of a full-scale security breach. This unprecedented level of control gives you peace of mind knowing that you can keep a constant eye on your remote team.
Expert IT support at your beck and call
Another reason why permanent remote work can fit your business is the availability of top-quality IT support. Instead of hiring IT technicians to constantly watch over your systems, you can outsource the task to a managed IT services provider (MSP).
Unlike internal IT departments, experienced MSPs like Empower IT have the infrastructure to support your workers and systems remotely. Our technicians, in particular, can proactively monitor company devices, applications, and overall security. They can take service calls round the clock and formulate IT strategies to optimise your remote team’s performance. All in all, working with an MSP will help you successfully sustain a permanent remote work strategy.
If you need solutions, strategies, and support tailored to a remote team, call Empower IT today. We’re one of Australia’s leading MSPs, and we can help your business adapt to new trends and drive its success.