Preparing your organisation for remote working can feel like a big challenge. And this challenge is only amplified if remote working has become critical due to unusual circumstances or if many employees are new to working from home.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to some of the important areas to cover off when setting up a remote workforce:

Communication. Good communication and transparency are crucial to the ongoing success of any remote-work scenario. In initially setting up staff for remote work, email is probably the best tool. But you could also establish communication via the company’s intranet or through collaborative platforms such as Slack.

Assessment. Encourage your employees to fill out individual assessments on how prepared they are to work remotely. You should include a question about whether they have a suitable workspace at home. This information will allow your organisation to plan for and assign who should work remotely. In some cases, it may be more appropriate for staff to take staggered days in the office rather than to have everyone working remotely at once.

Induction. Introducing employees to remote-working setup and conditions can be similar to “onboarding” new employees. Create a set of guidelines including expectations and FAQs. If the remote-working situation is likely to be temporary, even if you don’t know for how long, plan regular updates and communicate these too.

Hardware. Depending on the nature of your organisation, you may either need to equip workers with laptops, mobile phones and printers, or assess the suitability of those already in place – whether they belong to the company or the employee. Other hardware considerations include headsets, microphones, noise-cancelling headphones and cameras (for videoconferencing).

Software. You’ll need collaboration and file-sharing tools to manage jobs and workflow. Again, communication is key, so everyone knows which systems to use and for what purpose. Provide robust guidelines around file-sharing covering issues such as version control, file-naming conventions and where to save shared files. The IT department plays a central role in this aspect of procedural planning.

Passwords, security and backups. All remote workers will need to know their passwords, especially if they need to switch between computers and other devices. Remote workers will also need to have any required software installed on their devices and have access to internal systems, such as the company’s HR platform. Most cloud-based work-sharing programs offer some capacity but if backups are crucial to your business, bring it to the attention of your IT team. Remote working presents corporate security issues, so check that your IT team has safeguards in place.

Workflow. Once your remote workers are established, ongoing challenges will revolve around workflow and inclusion. It’s easy for remote workers to feel out of the loop. They also need clear guidelines as to what they should be working on and when. Depending on your team structure and the nature of your business, useful touchpoints include regular check-ins, sticking to scheduled team meetings, daily “scrums”, phone calls and video conferencing.

Flexibility. It helps to keep an open mind and build a bit of flexibility into your remote working ethos. If the situation is temporary, teams may have to be more versatile than usual; for example, flexible working hours may be necessary if your team is juggling childcare, illness or time-zone differences.

Contact your Telstra Client Executive today to discover how we can help you with business continuity planning.