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With Covid-19 remaining relevant, the need for individuals and businesses to make remote working effective continues to grow. While there can be many obstacles or challenges, current technological solutions can make remote working more manageable for everyone. We've collated some of the most important aspects of remote working for any business that will be operating this way in 2022.
The different types of remote working
There are several types of remote working, each with its own benefits and challenges, but ultimately all of them work on the premise that the workforce will be completing some of their duties away from the office, at locations such as their home or shared working spaces.
Hybrid working explained
Hybrid working is when team members work between the company office and other remote locations, such as their home. It's usually flexible, meaning that individuals can change when and where they work as needed. Businesses may need to introduce processes to confirm where employees will be working in advance. This can help to reduce some of the risks associated with remote working, such as having too few or too many people in the office at any given time.
What is full remote working?
Full remote working is when the workforce only works away from an office location. This means that businesses no longer need an office, and remote or shared working environments may be utilised when face-to-face meetings are required. This type of remote working can help save on costs, but it also offers additional challenges as, in theory, your employees may never meet in person again.
Remote working risks & how to handle them
Many of the risks associated with all remote working models are that employees are no longer spending as much time together, meaning that the communication between them can hinder productivity. These risks can all be managed through effective processes, tools, and understanding where a business would be most affected by this change. When properly managed, remote working can be effective without posing much of a threat to the runnings of a business.
Contingency planning and remote working
Most businesses will have a contingency plan for events that could affect them, and remote working should also be considered as part of this process. This helps to highlight where the greatest risks are and formulate plans to reduce them. One factor to consider is how a remote workforce will communicate between themselves and with customers using physical mail. With team members being away from the office for potentially extended periods, distributing mail to them and their subsequent responses can disrupt how a business operates. We've considered this and written a dedicated page to help companies understand this in more detail, which you can learn about by visiting contingency planning for business mail.
GDPR and safe online practices
Managing data security with a remote workforce requires a different approach to standard policies. With staff located in their home environments or sometimes in public spaces, the networks they connect to, the equipment they use and the physical location they're in may not offer a level of security that's fit for purpose. To learn more about this topic, visit our blog about handling GDPR with a remote workforce.
Consider these processes when remote working
One of the greatest risks with remote working is transitioning away from your workforce's existing processes. There will be new challenges in areas that previously did not need much consideration, such as team collaboration, communication and cohesion. Some of the most common processes that may require a new solution are:
- Meetings between team members
- Receiving physical mail and distributing it across the workforce
- Staff training and performance reviews
- Sharing information across the organisation
- Receiving and diverting phone calls
- Signing and returning paperwork
Many of these processes can be transitioned into a digital way of working. From remote working software to organising in-person meetings as and when required. The solutions exist; it's just about choosing the right ones for your team.
Equipment and software for remote working
Remote working has unique equipment and software requirements, and existing company setups may not be effective. Employees will need to have the right tools available so they're able to complete their work just as efficiently as if they were in the office. From having a laptop that's powerful enough to run the programs they use to software that makes file sharing seamless, the productivity of your workforce can be easily limited or enhanced by the equipment and software they use.
Software solutions can help solve many of the communication problems that come with remote working. Whether it's a way to instantly communicate, software that allows multiple team members to work on a project simultaneously, or a platform that digitises your post for it to be read online, there are many options for businesses to utilise. We've covered the topic of remote working software in more detail, which you can read by visiting our blog best software for remote working.
Similarly to software, physical equipment can either hinder or enhance employee productivity and wellbeing while working. Offices are well equipped with items such as printers, scanners and ergonomic furnishing to reduce the likelihood of employee injury. With remote working, businesses have less control over the types of equipment being used, which can risk employees' health and their ability to work. Understanding what equipment the workforce needs is the first step, and from there, companies can decide whether they'd like to invest in this area to help their employees effectively work from home. Visit the equipment section of our home working guide to learn more about this topic: Equipment needs for remote working.
Bring your own device (BYOD) policy
A bring your own device policy can help to alleviate some of the investment needed for equipment, but it also poses additional security risks. The policy offers employees the chance to use their own equipment when working, subject to it being used as per the policy guidelines. To understand whether this would work for your business, read our topic on bring your own device policies.
How remote working should be approached
Depending on whether you're an employee, business owner, sole trader or director, your approach to remote working will be different. For example, employees may be more interested in how to keep in touch with their colleagues, whereas a company director may have additional legal obligations and productivity concerns to consider. We’ve explored what remote working can mean to the different types of people within an organisation in our remote working blog:
- Home working tips for employees
- Remote working for sole traders and the self-employed
- How to approach remote working as an SME or corporation
Remote office mail management
Every remote workforce needs equipment, software and access to platforms that enable them to communicate. While there are many choices for instant messaging, video calls and file sharing, there are limited options available for managing post.
Managing business mail is a physical process, and it will always demand physical intervention due to the very nature of the type of communication. Some businesses rely on mail more than others, but almost everyone will receive and send it in some form. We’ve developed a platform that’s trusted by tens of thousands of people worldwide to provide a remote mail management solution that works as follows:
- Businesses are provided with a unique virtual address. This is used as the delivery address for business post (It also has other benefits, which you can learn about by visiting our business address page).
- All business post is delivered to our mail sorting facility. We assign a barcode to each item and then upload it into our system.
- When you receive a new letter or parcel you’ll receive a notification so you can log into our online platform or mobile app to manage your post online. Alternatively you can set up automated workflows using our integrations with Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive to instantly distribute your mail to the relevant departments.
- It’s then easy to take actions, such as asking us to scan a letter for you to read online or forwarding it to another location.
- We also offer features such as posting letters on your behalf and integrations with cloud solutions that allow you to operate a fully remote mailroom.
We’ve been helping companies of various sizes to transform how they handle post. We offer flexible mail plans from small volumes to large processing amounts. To learn more about our solution, visit our remote mail management page or contact us to find out how we can help.