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Remote working is here to stay: Our checklist to update your setup

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Many businesses had to start working from home due to COVID-19, with no time to put proper remote working processes in place. In many industries, remote working will be here to stay in at least some capacity. If you adopted Band-Aid solutions just to get by, it’s essential you update these to keep up with the evolving business landscape.

Woman working from home

Our checklist looks at how you can review your technology, connectivity and online security to equip your team for success in the age of remote work.  First, we'll assess your location model, then we’ll explore how you can finesse your remote working setup and processes, so even when you and your team aren’t working in the same place, your technology, connectivity and online security is on point.

Assess your work location model

It’s important to be aware of your business’s work location model, especially if your ways of working have changed since the pandemic. Assessing which type of location model to use in the future will help you understand where your setup and processes need to be revised. Updating your guidelines and policies to reflect your work location model can also help manage expectations around workplace culture and attitudes.

The three different work location models are:

Everyone works in an office or premise at least most of the time.

Partially distributed or hybrid
There is a central workplace, but some people may work remotely sometimes or regularly.

Fully distributed
People work from a range of places and only come together rarely, if at all.

work location models

Remote working checklist:

Support your team’s tech

It’s important that your team are empowered to work from anywhere, no matter who owns the devices they need to perform their job. Many businesses use a mix of company-owned and employee-owned devices and connections, like laptops and mobile phones. Before the pandemic, employees using their own devices was more likely to be occasional, like using their mobile phone when they were working on the go. Now teams are equipped with laptops, routers, computer monitors, keyboards and much more as they work remotely. Tech needs will be different for every business, so work with your team to find a solution that works for them and that’s feasible for you.

What to do: You could try giving your employees a ‘tech allowance’ to spend on devices and connections that would help them work most effectively. Alternatively, you could help your team make their personal tech appropriate for work, with things like secure remote access document sharing and multi-factor authentication security. If you’re unsure how to do this, consider speaking to a tech expert for help.

Set an IT support strategy

Tech issues can arise at any time, from anywhere. It’s critical that you have a plan in place to manage tech challenges when working remotely – and to help prevent them from happening in the first place.

In the Telstra Business Intelligence report on Managing Risks Online, small to medium businesses said the top five IT-related issues that impact their business’s productivity are:

  1. reliability or speed of network connection
  2. cyber security issues
  3. issues with syncing (e.g. emails) across multiple devices
  4. complexity of the business software/systems
  5. introduction of new technology without adequate training or support.

What to do: As a starting point, consider these common IT-related issues and detail how your business can prevent these issues in the first place. Then, create a back-up plan, or flesh out the steps an employee would take to resolve any of these issues. Again, speaking to an expert could help if you’re not sure how to manage this yourself.

Consider your connectivity options

Your team need a reliable internet connection, no matter where they’re working from. Like 5G, which offers ultra-fast and reliable mobile networking, allowing team members to access faster speeds on the go than they would generally be able to get in a traditional fixed-office environment. The nature of your business activities, the size of your team and the applications you use should all be considered when selecting a connection type that’s right for you.

What to do: Speak to your service provider and ask them to help you find a connection solution and any additional tools that will help meet your team’s remote access needs. When you do, it can help to come equipped with the following information:

  • The number of people connecting to your network at any one time.
  • Your business location and whether any employees connect from other locations.
  • The kinds of files you share and their size.
  • The kinds of communication tools you use over the internet (like video and voice calls).
  • The specific apps and software your business uses.
  • Your technology solutions to support remote working (if applicable).

Shore up your cyber security

With more people working remotely and using their own devices, it can be easier for cyber criminals to take advantage of individuals’ online security gaps. And an employee breach can be the first step to a larger, business-level breach. It’s more important than ever to audit, monitor, maintain and update your online security measures – and make sure your team know how to work securely online.

What to do: Start by checking how your online security practices fare with our free Cyber Security Quiz. It can help you identify any gaps (with a personalised report) and equip you with advice to improve. If you’re still unsure, get in touch with Telstra’s Cyber Security experts to help you get your online security up to scratch.

Invest in helping your team thrive

Helping your team build capabilities and access digital skills they need to work effectively from anywhere is essential. Not only can it help them perform better, but it can help improve confidence and workplace satisfaction.

What to do: Consider what skills are needed to operate new technologies – as this can help get your team up to speed and feel fulfilled and capable in their roles. Ask yourself: what can you do to improve everyone’s digital literacy, including your own? Explore online training options and team building exercises that can help improve wellbeing.

Even if your team only work remotely on occasion, it’s worth auditing your setup sooner rather than later. By getting your tech, connections, processes and online security in order, you could save time and free yourself from stress in the long run.

Need help protecting your business online?

Telstra Business Cyber Security Services offers 24/7 support and more.

Find out moreNeed help protecting your business online?
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