The pandemic threw a curveball in the world of workplaces. People had to adapt to working from home using a variety of technologies to stay connected to their coworkers and their clients. Although many setbacks have occurred, the benefits of learning to live with working from home have allowed a more flexible workplace to arise.
This ‘new normal’ has the potential stick around long after the world is back to ‘normal’. With large companies such as Deloitte telling employees that they can ‘work from home forever’ and Slack announcing a permanent work from home move for employees, you may be questioning just how your company can maintain the work from home routine.
Regroove has taken a variety of measures to ensure employees can thrive whilst working from home or in the office. Here is a list of actions Regroove took to enhance accessibility for employees working from any location while maintaining strict security procedures.
Methods of Ensuring Employees Can Work Effectively at Home
Although most staff prefer to commute to the office most of the time or part-time, Regroove now offers fully remote roles to individuals where it meets their needs. Here are some ways Regroove helps keep everyone comfortable and effective when working from home:
Providing the right equipment means Regroove employees can work efficiently and effectively from home. Being comfortable is a key component to being able to complete work while out of the office. Employees are offered the following list of equipment to select from to work in a way that suits them best:
- Dual monitors
- Stand up desks
- Laptop, mouse, and keyboard
- Office chair
- Desk light
- Additional items as required or requested to accommodate staffs needs
Microsoft 365 Platform Coaching
It is important to ensure all users can work productively using the Microsoft 365 services platform and applications. To do so, all employees go through a two-week onboarding period. This allows all new hires to become knowledgeable with using the Microsoft and other technology tools that they will be working with. This not only supports them with client work and projects, but at working effectively on internal projects.
Communicating strategies for staff to manage personal tasks and collaborate on group project work is important. Regroove employees are coaching on how to use various task management applications, and are encouraged to share tips and tricks with colleagues at lunch-and-learn sessions.
Microsoft Planner is highly effective when working on group tasks remotely. A task can be updated with status report comments, then get passed to the next person responsible, without having a meeting. Using digital tasks allows you to delegate tasks easily when assigned work needs to be redistributed to accommodate changing schedules.
We appreciate that whether working remotely or in the office, effective communication is critical. Staff feel supported with multiple methods to communicate with coworkers including chats and posts with emojis and GIFs or video calls and screen-sharing, all within Microsoft Teams.
The office may be where social interaction occurred in-person, but it doesn’t need to be the only place staff socialize. Making time for non-work conversation in your remote workday will no doubt add some love and laughter to your workday.
Regroove understood that to keep team morale high, keeping social interaction in people’s lives was a must, especially for bolstering mental wellness. We booked a recurring weekly ‘Morning Coffee Chat’ sessions. The sessions are both effective and beloved by team members. The agenda allows everyone to chat about everything but work, gain insights into people’s homes and hobbies, and have a laugh together.
Methods of Ensuring Employees Can Work Effectively in the Office
Keeping staff that prefer to commute to the office most of the time or part-time is just as important as making sure the home workers are supported. Here are some ways Regroove helps keep everyone safe when working from the office:
Increased Sanitation and Hygiene
It is important to ensure all required safety protocols are in place regarding COVID-19 when returning to your office. Regroove ensured they were following the Worksafe BC criteria to help workers feel safe and comfortable returning to the office.
It is important to remind staff of the new hygiene measures, as it can quickly feel ‘back to normal’ when getting back in the office. Some actions Regroove took to empower employees feel comfortable included:
- Signage – to spread reminders around the space to follow the sanitation guidelines.
- Supplies – to make it easy to locate and pick up the correct cleaning supplies to sanitize.
- Literature – to ensure people understand the new rules and why they are in place.
- Info – to let people know what to do and when to do it.
- Seating plans and distancing designs – to maintain correct distance.
- Automation – to book seating ahead of time to maintain the number of users allowed in the Regroove office at any given time.
Regroove ensures that all necessary sanitation materials are available around the office and in plentiful supply. This includes:
- Hand sanitizers
Finally, employees are encouraged to suggest any additional processes that would make them feel more comfortable.
Employing Team Members Out of Region and Internationally
Regroove has successful brought on two members of staff out of the vicinity of Victoria, BC. Hiring out of region and internationally from the U.K. has been possible due to the cloud-based nature of Regroove. Here is how Regroove supports staff who physically can’t make it into the office due to their geographic location:
Equipment used by international employees will often need adjustments to settings, including VPNs and security settings employed by Regroove.
At the start of the pandemic, Regroove opted for a commonsense solution. As no-one was travelling, they limited the number of people and places that could access Regroove’s resources. Regroove used conditional access, meaning that only people in a certain location could access Regroove’s resources and Microsoft 365 platforms. This meant that only individuals in Canada could gain entry. Any attempt to access these from outside would be unsuccessful due to the limit attack surface to Canada only IP addresses.
The only objection to this rule is if a consultant joins Regroove from an external country. When Regroove took on its first international contractor, they simply asked for the device’s IP address and added this IP to Azure. This meant that access in the new country was restricted to a known employee and registered device, maintaining Regroove’s strict security protocols using Microsoft Azure.
Regroove helps incorporate their international crew into the team by scheduling their regular coffee chats and check-ins during times the worldwide members can attend. Feeling excluded from corporate team building and the corporate culture is common amongst contractors. It is the little gestures that make everyone, regardless of time zone, feel they are an important part of the team.
Considering Time Differences
It is important to consider time differences when employing workers from other countries. Assigning tasks in advance of overlapping work periods is key. This ensures time for face-to-face and video calls are available to answer questions or discuss challenges.
Sharing calendars via Outlook is important when working over a time difference. First, it allows people to assign tasks and book meetings when the individual is offline. Second, it allows people to check the working hours of an individual to see if they can offer assistance.
It is quite helpful to have someone ‘ahead of your time zone’, especially when last-minute tasks pop up at the end of your day. Need some last-minute changes made? Helping hands can be working to get everything organized before you even wake up!
Many companies think of where their corporate data is stored when they hear the term “hybrid environment”. Hybrid means it lives in two places – on premises and in the cloud. Now the term also applies to your team. Staff can come to work “on the premises” by commuting to the office or “in the cloud” by logging in from home.
Interested in setting up your employees to work effectively in the cloud? Contact Regroove today!