Keeping your Team Safe and your Data Secure
We recently shared information and tips for transitioning your workforce from the office to home. By now, many of you may have your team set up online and established processes for good communication and workflow. What you don’t want to overlook is the security of your data.
Here is a helpful checklist to follow to ensure the safety and security of your assets, data and proprietary information:
- Don't connect your workstations to an unknown or open network.
- If possible, always choose to connect to a wired internet connection over wireless.
- If you or your staff don't have an internet connection from an internet service provider and need to use a mobile hotspot to connect, keep in mind that data usage will drastically increase. If your wireless plan does not have unlimited data, bandwidth will be limited. If you get a phone call, your connection could be interrupted.
- Once the connection is set up, ALWAYS USE A VPN (Virtual Private Network) to connect to company data and tools used within the company.
- If most of your workforce tries to access the same data and be logged into the same corporate VPN, an overall bandwidth of data transmission will be affected and will take an extended amount of time so please be patient.
- Being connected to corporate VPN means most of the time all network traffic is going through the company network, so don't try to visit restricted and questionable websites.
- When in doubt, always reach out to an IT specialist or industry professional.
Cyber Criminals Welcome a Crisis
As if you don’t already have enough to think about, cybercrime is another factor you want to protect yourself from. As many more companies are working remotely, this is the time cyber criminals will be lurking. Awareness and protection are key when it comes to minimizing your risks.
Tips to Safeguard Your Systems
- Always work on secure, password-protected internet connections.
- Be on the lookout for phishing emails. Just one click and you could open the door for hackers to download malware onto your device and your company’s system.
- Double check that all devices are up to date on their anti-virus protection.
- Apply multi-factor authentication on any accounts necessary.
- Using Bluetooth in public spaces makes it easy for hackers to connect to your device.
Keeping Remote Staff Engaged
For many professionals, working from home occasionally, is a luxury that many companies have afforded us. However, considering recent events, many employees across the globe have found themselves being required to make the transition from office-life to working from home. More so, employers are now faced with the learning curve of protecting their staff, setting up remote IT access, and keeping their staff engaged and productive throughout the work week.
As home-offices become the new normal for the foreseeable future, D3 wants to help you - help your team - work from home.
Tips on Engaging Your Staff
- Set Them Up for Success
If you work from home all the time, chances are you have a space set up for work. If you’re in a government mandated quarantine, you might not. Allow your employees to take some of their equipment home from the office so they are as comfortable as possible. Consider that it might be hard for them to have a workspace, they might have a significant other, or roommate who is also working from home during this time or find themselves home with their kids. Help set up your employees so they can be an asset to your company and feel more comfortable during this time.
- Pick up the Phone
Picking up the phone is essential when adopting a remote workplace. This rings especially true for situations that may be stressful or emotionally charged. Your tone of voice is a much better communicator of emotion than an email or instant message. Video calls and virtual meetings are also helpful in this regard, these newer technologies make telecommuting easy. As a bonus, this can also help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness during this time.
- Assign Clear Tasks & Measures of Performance
It’s crucial that employees feel a clear sense of direction on a daily basis. Motivating staff members with straightforward tasks sets them up for success. Being sure that your team members are also clear on what is expected from them in terms of performance during this time also removes any gray-areas when converting to a remote work environment. Each employee should have a clear picture for the week ahead, and a system for how they will deliver what is expected from them. If tweaks need to be made, casual performance reviews can be a helpful way to redirect them.
- Ask Questions
Engaging with your team during this time is invaluable. Asking open-ended questions gives your staff the opportunity to engage. A simple “How are you today?” or “How is everything going?” gives you the opportunity to understand your team members state of mind, state of work, and overall level of satisfaction. As a manager or team-leader, this also gives you the information that you need to assist your staff in any way possible, to ease concerns, and to alleviate stress.
- Make Time to Socialize
It’s easy to become isolated while working remotely. Reach out to your team members and talk about non-work-related things. Ask them how they’re passing their time while not working and how their families or kids are doing. It’s also important to encourage your team to collaborate and engage with each other just like they would if they were in the office. Let them know that it’s okay to socialize, and assign collaborative tasks if necessary, to keep the conversation going!
You want to be responsible and accommodating to potential challenges your team members are facing, working from home. The better you understand the needs and challenges of your remote employees, the better your team and company will handle this transition in uncertain times.
Maintaining Your Mental Health While Working from Home
Working from home is not always as glamorous as it sounds, especially if you have other people who are also trying to work in your space. In many cases, people are now confined to homes with other members of their family, children, or roommates who also have their own work or school demands.
Settling down to focus on work is challenging for many people who are afraid or stressed. The demands of work and home life are even greater, which is taking a toll on the mental health of thousands. Here are some steps that can help you protect your mental health, and ease the transition to working from home:
Acknowledge the Impact of Changes
Adjusting to a new work-from-home life can be more challenging than expected. Your home is filled with distractions, especially if you have children who can no longer go to daycare or school, or a roommate or partner who is also faced with working from home. It’s essential to be patient with yourself and with others. Allow yourself the grace to adjust to your new normal. Adjust your schedule accordingly and learn what habits work best for you and the people you live with during this time.
Manage Your Intake
The distractions of social media and news outlets are difficult to ignore. However, the constant intake of news will only elevate your stress and anxiety levels. Stay informed, but not at the risk of your mental health. If you do feel compelled to stay up to date, limit yourself to half an hour of news in the morning, then check up again later in the afternoon. Putting limits on your news intake can help keep you from being overwhelmed.
Create a Routine
If you’re used to going into the office every day, chances are you already have a morning routine, stick with it! Get up at a reasonable time, get dressed, and have a plan. However, don’t be too rigid or strict on yourself. Take breaks when you can and don’t overschedule yourself. A relaxed version of your typical routine can help your work-life balance during this time. Especially if you’re now responsible for your children who are normally in school or day-care, or other family members.
Streamline Your Workload
It’s important to remain productive and meet deadlines, however, it’s okay to acknowledge that this is not a normal time. Keep an open communication with your managers and other team members and identify essential areas of focus and save your energy for those priorities and tasks. Identify which meetings aren’t essential during this time. Focus on the important tasks and give flexibility to yourself and other team members who are facing difficulties during this time.
Keep Up Good Practices
It’s more important than ever to keep up your healthy habits! Stay hydrated, get some exercise and even some fresh air if possible. Taking care of yourself during this time is going to have a positive impact on your mental health. In addition, now is a good time to add some practices into your routine that may bolster your mental health. Think starting your day with a gratitude list, take a free yoga class on YouTube, or practice meditation.
Working from home has its advantages, it’s true, but significant disruption can take its toll on your mental health. If you find yourself struggling, reach out to someone you trust, speak with a doctor, or mental health professional.