Adapting to a more digital world – Top tips to ensure you are set up to take your work home
Businesses around the world have been working remotely in a more permanent way for over 6 months now. To put that into perspective…that’s half of 2020. Now, in light of the Prime Minister’s recent announcement, it looks like working from home will continue long into 2020. We are over the initial shock to the system, but we need to keep on top of keeping our employees happy and motivated and start putting into place measures that are more permanent.
Netpremacy was born in the cloud, and working remotely is what we teach to other businesses across the country. Which is why we wanted to share our experience and best practices with businesses that were not traditionally used to remote working. Office culture has changed dramatically, however, employees’ mental health and wellbeing is important, as is keeping business running as usual.
Working from home has benefits and struggles you should consider:
- Increased productivity
- Reduced travel costs
- Reduced office maintenance costs
- Good for the environment
- Increased flexibility
- Good for the environment
- Difficult to unplug from work
- Different working environments
- Distractions at home
- Affects mental health
- Hard to stay motivated
Do you have the correct setup?
When the UK was sent home to work, it was done overnight in a panic. Businesses didn’t have a choice and had to ensure their employees were sent home to keep them, and the rest of the country safe.
Now we have started to adapt, more businesses have decided that working from home benefits them in several ways. Businesses are making the decision to keep this a more permanent solution, and we need to ensure that our employees have the correct setup and working environment. This can have a major impact on a person’s physical, and mental health. There are some simple steps that should help you and your employees to work comfortably and effectively.
Ensure that when working from home you have somewhere comfortable to sit, that supports your back and neck. Yes, it’s a novelty working from your bed, but how much goodwill that do your back in the long run? The answer is not a lot!
Working from a clean, and clutter-free environment is another way to ensure employee happiness. Make sure the area you are working in is free from distractions such as the TV, and is a clean space, to keep your mind clutter-free, and to create a productive environment in which to work.
Having a consistent spot that you “go to” every day to work helps your brain associate that spot with getting work done. Choose the same spot for a few days and your brain will learn that when you’re in that spot, you’re focused.
Customise your working environment, so that you feel comfortable and at home- make it a place you WANT to go to – just like you would at your desk at work!
Ensure that your MDM is set up correctly
Mobile Device Management is essential when working remotely, which is exactly why employers need to make sure that this is set up correctly so that company devices can be managed no matter where your employees are working. Through Google’s single console, your company is able to manage the entire enterprise mobility. This provides comprehensive protection whilst being easy to manage.
G Suite admins can now define custom rules that trigger on device events and have associated actions. When an event specified in a rule occurs on a device within your organisation with a G Suite Enterprise license, the corresponding action you have set will automatically be executed by Mobile Management.
• Easy for admins to enroll all company owned devices for MDM
• Easily enforce device-owner mode on multiple Android company-owned devices
• Not be dependent on the end-user to enable device-owner mode
• Gather info on each and every Android device/app accessing G Suite
Read more on how to ensure your MDM is set up correctly, or contact a member of our team who will be happy to help you get set up.
Keep your teams secure
Security is important, no matter where you are located. Luckily, much of the Google technology we use has many security features already built-in (learn more here). But it’s always a good idea to have multiple security procedures in place to keep your employees, and data, extra secure.
The challenge of remote working, when it comes to security, is that if something does go wrong, your IT team is not there to fix any issues. However, by utilising the Google Admin Control allows you to manage devices remotely, which is useful in a time where everyone has been sent home to work. Another suggestion would be to allow only company approved apps to be installed in the work profile, so your employees are not using apps on the work profile that your business has not approved. It is also recommended to set up dedicated work profiles that are isolated from personal apps, and you should make sure data sharing is restricted. These simple steps can help to keep your employees and your company data secure.
Setting up employee devices correctly is a fool-proof way of making sure data cannot be accessed by people outside your company. The data is encrypted, and in case the device is lost or stolen, it can be wiped remotely. The new Advanced Protection Programme is an added level of protection for users who are more likely to undergo security challenges. This uses security keys which prevents unauthorised access to your Google account and protects the user from harmful downloads. New updates and security features are automatically added, so it’s one less thing to think about.
Employees are generally kept safe from phishing attacks, as Gmail has in-built features that cleverly identifies and flags them; however, it is good practice to train employees, making them aware of what to look for and how to handle these types of cyberattacks.
Adhering to these suggestions will definitely help to keep your mind at ease, however, if you have any further queries or questions our support and security teams are available to help.
Regular communication & human interaction
It’s important to remember that everyone is in their own unique environment, which may make working from home more challenging. Some will have a dedicated office space, whilst others are working in a one-bedroom studio. Whatever your situation is, you need to make sure it works for you, whilst being able to communicate with your teammates.
Regular communication is important to stay motivated, and to keep up the morale too. Schedule catch-ups with your co-workers, so you are on top of your workload, but also socialising with the people who you usually spend most of your working week with.
Probably the most obvious, but it does get overlooked more often than not – take your lunch break! It can be quite difficult to cut off from work when you are in your own home, so step away from the computer, clear your head, and refresh. If you can spend your lunch break outside, that’s even better.
Keep things fun
Office culture differs with each organisation. Distractions in the office may make things difficult to get things done. Equally, you may find it easier to focus in the workplace more than anywhere else. No matter what you are used to, this is your opportunity to make things fun and make it work around you and your workload. Perhaps suggesting an online office quiz, or meeting up virtually on a Friday afternoon for a virtual drink will help keep things fresh!
Being successful in a digital environment is not just about getting the work done. Balancing health, both physical and mental, whilst having the right technology to communicate, collaborate, and keep your data secure is the key to allowing your business to excel.
Contact us and speak to one of our experts today about the technology we use in order to thrive in a digital world and remember to look after your mental health in times of uncertainty!
The key to delivering effective and engaging training
A brief introduction to myself: my name is Fraja Hodges and I am one of the Netpremacy Training and Change Coordinators. After nearly two years of being a trainer, I thought it about time I put our training practices down on ‘paper’ to give you an insight as to how we at Netpremacy engage our audiences in training so as to provide them with the best possible support during any form of change initiative.
Training is a critical part of the change management process so it is important that it be delivered to a high standard. If learners leave the session feeling frustrated or confused, this can encourage a negative look on the product and the project as a whole. Inadequate training can lead to “bad-mouthing” of the product from trained users to other employees causing resistance and complaints. For big projects like a G Suite deployment, we are often completely uprooting daily procedures and making a huge difference to their whole working life that relies on these IT systems and technologies. A trainer’s role, particularly for, in this case, is to be not only motivating to build up enthusiasm and project energy into the session, but also inspiring in order to boost credibility and encourage innovation. With all the above in mind, I aim to explain the methodologies and approaches we apply to training here at Netpremacy and reveal our best practices from basic etiquette to the structured rules we embed into any form of training session.
Our Training Methodologies and Approaches
At Netpremacy, we make use of a range of training methodologies and approaches to ensure our audiences are fully engaged throughout the whole training session. Firstly, we apply the “Intro” model to kickstart our training, which is an acronym for Introduction, Need, Test, Range and Objective. Each of these components help to set the scene for training and can be delivered in any ordered. An Introduction to yourself as the trainer as well as the company you work for and their role in the project is a given, providing transparency from the offset. It is also vital that you allow your audience to introduce themselves, not only so that you can gauge who you have in the room (for both levels of seniority and departments) and what their concerns may be, but also so that you give them chance to talk, making the communication two-way. The Need for change is the most essential component of the “Intro” structure as it emphasises why they are there and why the change is happening, providing them with both a clear purpose for the change and burning platform for the product. Test their knowledge of the products to help you further understand your audience and tailor the training to best suit them. It might be that you have someone in the room who has previous experience or is already an advocate, which you can use to your advantage during the session to facilitate learning. The Range serves to inform your audience of how long the session will take and roughly how it is split up. In this section, it is good to set expectations of what the session is (ie. in-depth/focused training on a specific topic, a certain level (advanced, intermediate or beginner), a practical or demonstration-based session) and what the training covers (ordered agenda). Lastly, telling your audience the Objective of the training gives them something to work towards in the session and ensure they are fully confident when they leave that they achieved this.
Secondly, we like to follow the “Pose, Pause, Pounce” approach when delivering training. This relates to testing your audience: pose the question, pause for while, and if no-one voluntarily answers, pounce (it’s a good idea to remember at least three names from introductions). The attention span of a typical audience lasts about 7 minutes before you run the risk of losing them, therefore, it is important to make your session as interactive as possible. By asking questions, you are giving them a reason to listen and absorb the knowledge you are providing them, so that they can apply this when responding. Instead of making statements such as “This is what it does”, we try to convert these into questions: “Does anyone know what it does or can anyone guess?”. Don’t be afraid to pause long enough for someone to pluck up the courage to answer; people have a tendency to relate silence to awkwardness and will usually try to fill it, but if that fails, you can always follow by pouncing.
A trainer’s best practices
There are two stages to our best practices: the first is trainer etiquette and the second is a set of high-level rules to remember. Starting with etiquette, although not part of the training, this can directly impact your audience’s mindset and mood from the offset. If you give off a bad impression before you’ve even started your session, they will have that at the forefront of their minds throughout the training. This stems from looking unprepared or unprofessional, contributing to your credibility (or lack of). To get the audience on your side, from when they step in the room to when they leave, we have adopted this simple routine: (1) arrive early. This gives you time to properly meet your hosts, get ready for training (ie. log onto the WiFi and distribute handouts) and greet people as they walk in. (2) bring all the necessary equipment. You will most likely need to charge your laptop at some point during the day and you may even need to bring adaptors to connect to their resources. Making sure you are prepared for the day, gives your audience a sense of relief knowing that they are in safe and capable hands. (3) dress smartly. The key is familiarity, so understanding the organisation’s culture helps with finding that happy medium between professional and approachable – we have found that ‘smart, but not overly imposing or formal’ tends to tick all boxes. (4) leave the room the way you found it. The audience will be pleased to see you respecting their working environment, so if you’ve moved any furniture for training purposes, be sure to reposition these and take any rubbish away with you. These points may seem obvious, but I think they are greatly underestimated considering just how much of an impact they can have on your audience. They are an important aspect of a trainer’s best practices and are the epitome of the saying “minimum effort, maximum effect”.
In terms of the actual training, there are few rules of thumb that we deem essential to delivering a successful and engaging session. One of the most important to remember is that there are no “stupid” questions. A lot of people won’t speak up and ask for help through fear of looking a fool in front of their colleagues. It is, therefore, our job as a trainer to create a comfortable environment (or safe zone) where the audience feels confident enough to participate and ask questions. With this in mind, trainers should liberally praise those brave enough to speak up. So, you want to ensure your audience feels at ease, but you don’t want them to relax too much; otherwise, you may end up losing them to the classic early-morning tiredness or post-lunch coma. To combat this, you should utilise your space; if you’re stood up and moving around, you keep their eyes and therefore, their attention on you at all times. Rather than use your mouse, get up and point to the screen, or better yet, get them to.
To round up a training session, referring back to the objectives you outlined in the introduction helps provide your audience with a sense of satisfaction. They can clearly see that they have achieved what you wanted them to know by the end of the session, and if they haven’t, this gives them the chance to say so. Using a competency scale is a great way of ensuring that your audience feels confident enough to start applying their new-found knowledge as soon as they get back to their desks. On the flip side, it also allows you to identify anyone who is still struggling and may need one-to-one assistance. The closing of the session should then always be a recap of the next steps and the direction of immediate and long-term support.
There are lots of elements that can contribute to effective and engaging training from proven methodologies and preferred approaches to our best practices (built up and carried out by the Netpremacy Change Management team). In summary, a trainer needs to remove barriers to create a comfortable and informal environment for training, as well as leave space for interactivity to make the session as exciting and digestible as possible. These two main training streams, supported by the “Intro” model, the “Pose, pause, pounce” strategy, and various rules of thumb and etiquette as discussed in this blog post, are the key to an engaged audience and a successful training session.
If you would like to find out more about the training we offer here at Netpremacy, please check out our training page.