As a result of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have had to move part or all of their office staff to remote work. But once the pandemic’s stay at home orders and other restrictions are reduced, does your staff want to continue working from home? If so, your business will need these five key tools.

1. Digital Document Storage

Most offices work with a lot of paperwork, which is one of the most challenging obstacles to moving office work to any remote location. If you created a remote system in a hurry, you likely still rely on a lot of physical paperwork shuffling. But becoming a truly remote team can be relatively easy with modern online and digital document storage systems.

You’ll need a good organization and archiving system for your particular documents. For most businesses, this would include both online forms and virtual documents as well as physical papers that have been scanned into digital form. The organization and filing system is key, so work with your entire team to agree on a good software or service.

2. Communication Methods

Communication is key for teams working in different spaces. Without good communication, efficiency and teamwork will suffer. Things will get messy, and you may end up having to move people back together again.

Look for a variety of reliable communication tools for different situations. While texting, for instance, is good for short and basic communication, the nuance can be lost. So you should provide video communication and longer emails as well. Be sure to regularly communicate individually with each person in ways they feel comfortable with along with group meetings.

3. Increased Cyber Security

Any time you move computers and information to people’s homes, the risk of losing control of it increases. With so many companies sending workers home at the same time in 2020, cyber risks are greater than normal. The more you send digital documents from one worker to another, keep documents in offsite storage, and access online portals, the more danger your information is in.

Work with an experienced information technology provider to ensure the right security measures. Many businesses use virtual private networks (VPNs) and vetted cloud storage services. Your IT service may also recommend establishing good procedures for home workers — things like secure password setup, security training, and equipment storage methods.

4. Coordinated Office Equipment

One downside to the sudden shift to working from home has been that many people use different tools. One of your staff might use a company laptop to attend video conferences while others might use a company phone, a personal phone, a tablet, or even a smart TV. Aside from distracting visual differences, it can be hard to coordinate people and work if everyone uses different tools.

Whenever possible, try to get all team members on the same equipment — such as computers, scanners, conferencing tools, and printers — so everyone has the same procedures. In addition, update all devices and software to the same versions. The more unified your team’s tools are, the easier you can troubleshoot, create instructions, design security, and set guidelines.

5. Company Guidelines

Everyone might be all hands on deck during the pandemic crisis, but they will need good guidance afterward to become a true remote working team. In the absence of clear guidelines and expectations, employees will often feel either overwhelmed or become less motivated.

Your home workers need to know such things as when they are expected to be available, how often to check communications, what hours everyone works, and how to incorporate things like sick time and vacation.

If you put these five tools into place as early as possible, your remote work team is sure to thrive in the long term. And the business may just find that the sudden need to use work-from-home technology is an unexpected modernization that benefits everyone. Want to learn more? Start with a call to the digital document pros at Indigital, Inc.