Best practices for managing a remote workforce

With the dawn of the coronavirus, millions of workers were sent home to work. Some managers and some employees had experience working remotely. Some did not. Certain practices can help ensure success. Here’s list to get you started.

Safe working environment

From working smoke detectors to locked doors and routine maintenance, there are steps you and your staff can take to help create a safer home environment so you can focus on the business of the day. Explore our healthy home habits for more information.

Management best practices

  • Establish bonds of friendship and empathy.
  • Review and make temporary updates to human resources policies as it relates to COVID-19, sick leave, or any extended absences – communicate these changes to your remote team.
  • Pair employees up on projects – this has been proven to foster increased ease of communication and frequency.
  • Foster an atmosphere with a shared purpose via regular recognition and inclusion. This is particularly important for remote workers who may miss out on routine reinforcement in an office-setting.
  • Empower your team with freedom, accountability, and trust to work independently – avoid micro-managing or requiring excessive escalation of tasks and/or responsibilities.
  • Establish regular “check-in” times with your team.
  • Encourage communication; but maintain simple and natural forms of it.
  • Carve out some time for casual conversation – show them you care.
  • Allow teams to control the work at their respective levels.
  • Find the appropriate workflow management system for individual teams.
  • Foster a positive workplace culture for remote workers – set a clear vision and positive tone.
  • Leverage file-sharing platforms (e.g. OneDrive or Drop Box) to effectively collaborate on shared documents.
  • Promote flexible working hours.
  • Offer flexibility and understanding as respects unforeseen interruptions in daily business (e.g. dogs barking, children playing, etc).
  • Ask for input from your remote team on how things are going.

Individual best practices

  • Maintain a set schedule – go to “work” and leave the office as you normally would.
  • Keep your online calendars up-to-date.
  • Hold yourself accountable with daily or weekly “to-do” lists, and don’t lose sight of deadlines or individual productivity.
  • Ask for help – just because you’re working remotely, doesn’t mean you’re alone. Reach out and ask for assistance when you’re struggling with a project or task.
  • Maintain a dedicated work space, that’s as separate from your living area as your home allows.
  • Disconnect! It’s important to disconnect and recharge your mental batteries. Break for healthy meals, exercise, or just spend quality time with loved ones.

Ergonomics is for everyone:

Take the time to set up a proper workstation; even if your set-up is a temporary one, it’s important to ensure you’ve set yourself up in a position that’s comfortable and maintains a neutral body posture. Refer these tools for sitting and alternative workstation scenarios. Don’t forget to arrange equipment cords to prevent tripping hazards for you and your family.

Tools and equipment

  • Invest in quality headsets
  • Increase your teleconference capacity
  • Increase your VPN capacity
  • Provide necessary office computer and furniture equipment as budgets permit.

Data security

  • Ensure that your remote-in connections are safe and secured. Work with your IT team and ensure everything is up-to-date.
  • Deploy multi-factor authentication and/or encryption (if you have not done so already).
  • Discourage printing of materials that may contain sensitive information; additionally, if you have a home printer remember that this is an unsecured device, and a potential entry point for hackers. Avoid using personal computer or related equipment for work purposes.
  • Remind employees to lock laptops and devices when not in use, particularly when working in shared or public spaces.
  • Encourage increased vigilance for data or wire-transfer fraud scams. Professional scammers prey on people at their most vulnerable. Set up protocols around the release of any employee information and/or financial funds and raise awareness.
  • Keep your devices’ operating system up-to-date.
  • Beware of public/open networks.
  • When in doubt, rely on your mobile carrier’s cellular service (Note: 3G/LTE is generally more secure than 2G) Use a VPN if accessing an unsecured wi-fi network.
  • Avoid logging into critical websites on open networks.

The Muse
Fluent Stream

This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any coverage or guarantee loss prevention. The examples in this material are provided as hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations contained herein will make any premises, or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.