Want to work from anywhere? Here’s how to set yourself up for success
Working remotely from anywhere, not just from home, has become even more popular since the coronavirus pandemic.
As borders around the world reopen and people take annual leave, many businesses are adopting a hybrid work environment.
It's got to the point that working from anywhere (WFA) – even globally – is being considered by more people and made possible with the right technology.
While the "new normal" settles, many of us continue to search for a best practice in working remotely. This requires adopting new ways of working as well as factoring in security, practicality and potential impacts on the business.
While some employers are very open to WFA, others are reluctant or unsure of how it would work.
Technology companies, such as Dicker Data (where I work), are leading the way on flexible working and are reaping the benefits of what a diverse and inclusive workforce can bring.
For employees, it opens up a world of possibilities. If you want to make the case for working from anywhere, here are 5 of the most important tips and considerations to help you get there.
1. Set and agree on mutual expectations
Whether you work from home or at the office, trust should be a given between you and your colleagues. From a manager's perspective, it is important to give employees 100% trust from the start and empower them to deliver results within the required timeframes.
So if you are asking your manager about the possibility of working from anywhere, make sure you outline how it will practically work in relation to your core responsibilities. Keep in mind any different time zones and suggest ways to address them.
To avoid miscommunication, ensure mutual expectations are set, understood and signed off so everyone involved feels confident to achieve a common goal.
The key is to see outcomes delivered for the business fairly. Measure success by output and outcomes rather than hours. Ask how your work is being backed up so it's safe.
2. Get your tech up and running before you make the move
This step is vital for working effectively from wherever you are. When I am working remotely, my checklist is as follows:
- Have the most modern device to limit tech downtime
- Fast 5G connectivity built-in to your device, or a 4G or 5G portal hotspot
- A suitable collaboration platform such as Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex or Zoom
- A high-quality webcam to interact with your team
- An external monitor (or more than 1) keyboard and mouse
Headphones and built-in privacy screens are also handy when working on long flights or in public and remote environments to ensure confidentiality.
Wi-Fi bandwidth also needs to be able to cope with multiple users, whether it is kids streaming, partners on video calls or the other needs of your family members.
3. Consider security
Security is high on everyone's agenda especially as we become more technologically savvy and reliant on our devices, leaving us increasingly exposed to cyber risks.
Being cloud-based means you can log in from any device to access your applications and data. Having the latest hardware security built-in to protect you and the organisation from attackers is essential in hybrid and WFA environments.
In the remote world, use multi-factor authentication (MFA) and Zero Trust strategies to protect your identity and prevent security breaches.
You will also need antivirus and antiscam software to protect you if you're near to or accessing public networks and opening email attachments and links.
Talk to your tech provider to ensure they deliver a customised configuration so that your device is set up and connected before it's dispatched and delivered to your door.
For example, Dicker Data configures and stages devices with specific components and personalisation for the end-user or organisation. This can include verification and identity software, network configurations and policies – all of which are applied to the team members' devices, ready to connect from anywhere around the world.
4. Structure your day to stay focused
Collaboration across time zones is a fact of life now, so it is important to communicate priorities well.
Regulating hours to ensure adequate sleep, maintaining a healthy diet and taking regular breaks are important in an always-on and ever-connected world.
Setting barriers, taking time to move and sticking to a routine helps. Find what works for you. For example, some people work better in the morning, others in the evening.
Provided your role allows for it, maximise the benefit of remote work by aligning your schedule to your most productive times.
5. Foster a positive work relationship
Liaise with your teams and your boss to measure your outputs and ability to deliver against the objective of your role.
Crisis brings opportunity for change and some change is good. Companies are moving towards a new approach to drive productivity while fostering motivation and positive encouragement within teams.
Technology experts today have also become strategic personal and business partners. Outsourcing technology can help you access experts who fast-track the system set-up phase and help you transition to the most productive and secure WFA environment.
I am fascinated and excited with the current shift in the workplace and to see, firsthand, Australia's leading IT distributor Dicker Data prepare people and organisations of all sizes for sustainable and long-term remote work.
This is an exciting time where new behaviours and technology collide to improve user experience and customer service and ultimately bolster productivity and help companies grow. The power of technology is in constant change and evolution. At the end of the day, it has to make you faster and more productive.
Vladimir Mitnovetski is the chief operating officer and executive director at Dicker Data (ASX:DDR), an Australian-owned and operated, ASX-listed technology hardware, software, cloud, cybersecurity, access and surveillance distributor with over 44 years of experience.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article (which may be subject to change without notice) are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Finder and its employees. The information contained in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, investment advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort. Neither the author nor Finder has taken into account your personal circumstances. You should seek professional advice before making any further decisions based on this information.
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