2020 has been insane.

In 3 months, Australia has seen devastating bushfires, floods and a global pandemic.

With rice, pasta, toilet paper and many other essential items missing from the shelves it feels like we are participating in an episode of Doomsday Preppers.

With recommendations to self-isolate, the idea of working remotely has never been so popular. However, there are many other uses and benefits that remote work holds other than living in an apocalyptic society.

Why having the ability to work remotely is so essential for businesses

It is hard to estimate how a natural disaster or global crisis will affect your business, or its longevity and severity. Working remotely protects your business from shutting down in the case of unexpected circumstances.

For most larger companies, they already have these protocols in place. It is easy for them to send select teams or their entire workforce home to work remotely.

What about everyone else?

Many small to medium-sized businesses are left wondering how they can afford to implement the technology needed to enable their staff to work from home.

How long will it take to implement a remote working solution?

Cloud-based solutions make it simpler and more cost-effective than ever to enable your staff to work from home.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to how businesses should deploy a remote working solution. For the team at Velocity Host, we work remotely 100% of the time. However, you may choose to offer the choice of working remotely when people have family commitments, get sick or need to wait for the delivery man to arrive at the apartment sometime between 8 am and 5 pm.

Enabling employee freedom results in less downtime and more productivity for your business. If you are interested in learning how you can implement a remote working solution fast, contact our team today to get started.

Benefits

Having a remote work solution hosted in Australia gives you a competitive advantage when it comes to hiring and retaining new staff.

In a 2019 survey conducted by Buffer, 99% of people said they would like to work at least some of the time remotely for the rest of their careers.

Have you ever come into work sick?

Sometimes it's unavoidable. If you work in high-pressure environments where you feel reluctant to take sick days, maybe it's a fear of falling behind on your work or receiving a negative perception from upper management and co-workers.

Here is our list of benefits:

Stop the spread of viruses and flu

Sometimes we feel a little under the weather, but not sick enough to stop working altogether. By allowing unwell staff to work from home, it will enable them to keep working and reduce the chances of other members of the team coming down with the same illness.

Flexible schedule

Annual leave is precious. Emergencies pop up from time to time. Nobody wants to have 3 hours annual leave used up to run errands.

Non-traditional working schedules allows your employees to work the hours that suit them.

Less time commuting

It used to take me over an hour to get to work. Each-way. I was losing over 2 hours of precious time every day.

It all adds up.

Sitting in traffic is exhausting and often frustrating. I'm more than happy to put in extra hours and respond to emails late at night - anything to avoid the peak hour panic.

Improved employee retention

Companies that enable remote work reduce their employee turnover by 25%.

Studies show that working from home leads to increased job satisfaction and work-life balance while adding a full days' worth of work to productivity levels. It's a win-win for your business and staff.

Technology for working remotely

Rather than mention the usual suspects like Microsoft and Google. We decided to get personal and share our favourite technology that enables our team to work from home.

NextCloud

NextCloud is a remote collaberation suite that is an alternative to the major cloud platforms. It allows you to back up and store files in the cloud.

It boasts the broadest range of add-on capabilities and integrations with other business applications such as Outlook and SharePoint (to name a few). In addition to cloud storage, there is also NextCloud Talk which is a chat and a web collaboration tool, and NextCloud Groupware which offers webmail, calendaring and contacts.

NextCloud is:

  • Cost-effective
  • Scalable
  • Convenient
  • Easy to set up and use

Libre Office

LibreOffice is the best alternative to Office 365 available right now.

LibreOffice is an open-source suite that receives constant updates to ensure stability and the delivery of new features. Not only does LibreOffice give Microsoft Office a run for its money with an expanded feature set, but it's also completely free for businesses to use as well.

Project management tools

NextCloud covers an extensive range of project management tools. You can create Kanban boards in Deck, to-do lists that you can assign to people in tasks and file sharing to name a few.

Video conferencing

Video conferencing has seen a sudden increase in popularity, making it the perfect target for hackers. Over 500,000 Zoom credentials were obtained and sold on the dark web.

With NextCloud being a privately hosted solution, it ensures your data is secure and better protected from an attack. NextCloud Talk works perfectly with up to 3 people on a video call. As this feature is relatively new, it will only get better with time.

Remote Desktops

Windows has seen a rising trend with Linux and opensource technologies. You can run elementary OS as a hosted VM for a fraction of the cost of a Windows solution for individuals.

If you would like to learn more about these solutions and how you can implement them into your business, contact one of our experts today to get started.

Challenges

Isolation & loneliness There may be concerns that working from home could cause isolation and loneliness. However, it has the potential to result in a better work-life balance with more time to spend with family and friends.

During our time under COVID-19 house arrest, we started remote sessions for Friday night drinks using NextCloud Talk. It has been a fun way to socialise and maintain our sanity.

Remote workers can struggle with unplugging Remote workers are responsible for planning their own time, and their schedule might have them working ad-hock hours. Having 24/7 access is not necessarily a bad thing as it can increase freedom resulting in more productivity for the employee.

Decreased employee visibility As mentioned previously, technology can overcome this, with Video Conferencing and Instant Messaging services, we are more visible and connected than ever.

Lack of relationship among co-workers By having your whole team reachable at your fingertips through Instant Messaging platforms. People respond quicker and more often, saving staff a long and tedious trip around the office to ask a simple question. It is also easy to get distracted and start talking about upcoming holidays and events.

These platforms encourage multitasking. You can maintain relationships with multiple teammates at once while switching between documents and emails all at the same time.

Increased distractions I like to think of distractions as productivity breaks. I've come up with some of my best ideas while taking a mid-afternoon walk. With a remote working setup, I was able to quickly login to NextCloud on my phone and brainstorm my thoughts for when I returned home.

Different people work in different ways.

An employee might spend the early morning surfing at the beach, spending time with their kids or going to the gym. These "distractions" could motivate them to become more focused, work longer hours and be more productive as a result.

Being present in the office gives the illusion of efficiency. Just because someone is in the office doesn't mean they are productive.

Why will staff ever want to come into the office again?

By making employee attendance compulsory, it has the potential to create job-dissatisfaction and a clock-watching mentality. Adults don't want to feel like they are back in high school. As soon as 5 pm hits, it's like a fire drill evacuation.

Company culture and working environment are crucial to harnessing the most potential from employees.

If people love coming into work and interacting with their co-worker, it will increase their motivation, work ethic and loyalty to the company. It will give them a reason to be excited to come into work every day and potentially stay back after hours.

A few examples to improve your staff's working experience:

  • Beer on tap
  • Ping pong table
  • Free drinks
  • Free breakfast/lunch
  • Team lunches
  • Company events
  • Mentoring programs
  • Team training

Combining this with the ability to work from home is a strong incentive to work harder and deliver beyond expectations. You have given them the responsibility to manage their own time and work the way they want.

If you would like to learn more about implementing a remote working solution hosted in Australia for your business, contact us today. We've got IT solved.

Kendall King

With over 10+ years experiance Kendall is Velocity Hosts marketing and sales stratagist.

Degrees in Writing and a Masters of Research Kendall brings a vital edge to the (vh) team in 2020. With fresh ideas across a broad spectrum of businesses personas. Kendall has your business covered.