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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect individuals and businesses across the globe, many governments and health organisations have advised working from home as a means to slow the spread of the virus. Indeed, many Australian businesses have already implemented mandatory work from home practices for their employees. Globally, we’re undergoing the world’s largest work-from-home experiment and, so far, it hasn’t been easy for many organisations to manage.
That’s because not all organisations have the resources, software, infrastructure, bandwidth or even the culture to support remote working – especially small and medium-sized companies. In what are unprecedented times, businesses are facing a variety of new challenges, including training employees in the best remote work practices, maintaining productivity and encouraging collaboration amongst team members. To achieve an efficient remote work operation, businesses must provide comprehensive, integrated software and seamless processes for their employees. So if you and your team are currently looking to refine and perfect a productive and collaborative remote work routine, we’ve put together some information to help you.
Broadband is your saviour. Use it.
Many internet providers in Australia are offering additional broadband and mobile internet services to assist those who are working from home. A stable broadband connection is the lifeline of a remote office and is perhaps the single biggest reason that working remotely is a very viable way for many businesses to operate. With a stable connection, you can collaborate through video conferencing, instant messaging, client presentations, and editing and sharing documents just as if you were working from the same office.
Use collaborative tools
Remote communication isn’t always easy, especially for those who haven’t done it often. With the right set of integrated apps, businesses can maintain a close-knit and productive working environment, no matter where they’re based and what is required of them. Apps like Zoho Remotely, for example, enable businesses to work remotely by offering a complete suite of web and mobile apps that boost communication, collaboration and productivity through one centralised cloud-based technology. Considering the gravity of the current situation, we are offering Remotely – and the 11 apps it contains – free for everyone, until at least July 2020.
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To contextualise the need for remote working software, since launching Remotely two weeks ago, we’ve already seen a 500% growth in the daily use of our collaboration apps, 1,000% growth in the number of virtual meetings and over 4,000 new companies, globally, benefiting from the platform.
Create flexible policies for your employees to show that you care about them and their families. A healthy balance between work-life and personal-life is imperative to create not only a productive team but a motivated one. This is the time to show your human side and demonstrate how much you value your employees. At Zoho, we have adopted Work From Home as the default policy for all our offices worldwide. Our employees are advised to come to our offices, only when it is absolutely necessary. We will continue to retain this policy until the threat of the virus has passed, or has reduced substantially. So while your employees might be frustrated by the prospect of a period of working from home, try to make the transition easy for them – flexible hours is a good place to start.
Maximise your time
It’s abundantly clear – working from home saves you a substantial amount of travel time. So why not use these extra hours to your advantage; perhaps by committing to a new work project or clearing your workload? Similarly, the time could be used to complete an online course to learn new skills that can benefit you and your company. Alternatively, just use the time to switch off or pursue a hobby so that, when it’s time to work, your mind is refreshed, stimulated and ready to work.
With a prolonged period of remote work likely, employees and business owners must find the right balance so that, individually and collectively, they can enjoy the benefits of remote work. Keep the communication lines open, be transparent with your team and rely on the skills you already have at your disposal to ensure that, as far as possible, it’s business as usual. And who knows, after this mandatory period of remote work eventually draws to a close, businesses might see value in re-addressing its longer-term remote working policies.
Zoho is the operating system for business—a single online platform capable of running an entire business. With 45+ apps in nearly every major business category, including sales, marketing, customer support, accounting, and Sueback-office operations, and an array of productivity and collaboration tools, Zoho is one of the world’s most prolific software companies.
Vijay Sundaram is the Chief Strategy Officer and leads the partner and channel programs at Zoho, engaging in all aspects of Zoho’s market strategy.