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I’ll Be [Working From] Home for Christmas: Tackling Remote Workforce Challenges this Holiday Season

The holidays are right around the corner, which means we can expect more than 75% of employees to work from home, based on a study last year. While working from home during the holiday season offers flexibility for employees to enjoy time with their families, it has the potential to severely hinder productivity, especially if the right technology, as well as checks-and-balances, are not in place.

From security protocols to policies that lay out expectations for employees who are using the work-from-home benefits, there are a number of factors that must be considered to ensure a smooth holiday season. Collaboration is already one of the biggest challenges facing organizations, remote working aside. Thirty-two percent of employees have avoided sharing a document with a colleague because it would “take too long to find,” Igloo found. These struggles are amplified when employees are using personal devices that may not have full, IT-sanctioned, access to all corporate document stores, which remote workers are more likely to do.

In order to avoid the holiday chaos brought on by the increase of work-from-homers, there are steps organizations can take to avoid the top issues that stem from remote work.

Better Collaboration Between Teams Begins with a Policy

Without the option to walk over to a co-worker’s desk or turn your chair around, collaborating isn’t as simple - especially during the holidays when time between client calls and emails might be spent baking cookies or wrapping presents.

First and foremost, it’s imperative companies have policies around expectations for working-from-home. Is it enough for employees to log on to check emails every hour or so, or are they expected to be working as they would in the office? Once a clear guideline is set, employees can establish best practices within their departments and teams for navigating collaboration. For example, co-workers expected to check emails every few hours might set a schedule with their manager and teammates so communications aren’t missed. With a clear schedule, coworkers can touch base directly every few hours and provide updates regarding ongoing projects and other work items.

Employees also need to establish the most effective means of communication for remote collaboration. While one co-worker might operate best via video chat or phone calls, another might prefer instant messaging, and another, email. Implementing a digital workplace solution that can integrate your business’ variety of tech stacks and communication tools provides employees with a one-stop-shop for their communication preferences.

Improved Document Security

According to a study by SpringCM, 34% of organizations share contracts over email. A separate study by Swichfast found 20% of SMB leaders have fallen victim to a phishing scam. With email being one of the most misused tools for collaboration, a digital workplace offers employees with a more protected, centralized platform for sharing documents. With a single, non-email solution for communication and collaboration, employees are less at risk for falling victim to phishing scams and other email attacks. Documents and communication shared through a purpose-built digital destination designed to facilitate communication and collaboration are more secure, maintain complete audit trails, and can easily be accessed regardless of an employee’s location.

Increased Productivity

There are an abundance of applications available to today’s workforce that are geared toward productivity, however, studies have shown that app fatigue is slowing workers down. Productivity is especially hindered during the holiday season when coworkers are out of the office and the distractions of last-minute holiday shopping and activities are at an all-time high.

Tech solutions that provide task lists and notifications when a project is assigned can keep employees organized and accountable for their work, which improves productivity. Between days out of the office, these tools help ensure employees stay on top of their work by easily tracking and managing their assignment and resources all from a central digital location.

As businesses work to navigate the ins-and-outs of the chaotic holiday season, ensuring simple collaboration and communication are key to maintaining optimal productivity. By establishing policies and creating a central digital destination for communication and knowledge sharing, organizations can mitigate the common challenges of a remote workforce. Opportunities to work from home are important for employee morale, and ultimately retention, so by improving the WFH process, businesses and their employees alike can have a happy holiday season.

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