Work from Home? A guide for managers!

“As a leader…your principal job is to create an operating environment where others can do great things.”

— Richard Teerlink

Being a manager has a whole lot of responsibilities! Do I mean the time cards and personal meetings? Not at all! Being a part of everyone’s growth, keeping the team motivated, and collaborating among the team. 

Training and leading them by example to become some of the best employees contribute to the company’s success. Efficiently scheduling tasks while harnessing each individual’s strengths and weaknesses makes one a great manager.

In an ideal office, a particular team member has a designated space for usage. This close seating area places the team members closer. When there are some work-related issues, they are readily available to each other. This helps develop empathy among people. 

However, in current times it isn’t easy to achieve this scenario. Covid-19 has affected our office culture as well. Teams have started to work on video-conferencing platforms, and companies are adopting flexible working schedules. A hybrid mode of office is adopted now at most workplaces. 

As someone who communicates to the team from higher authorities, a manager is responsible for a lot of criticisms from both ends. Changes in the work culture can become a little stressful in such a case. A manager has to adapt to the new norms quickly; an important change that comes with work-from-home is to be flexible with the timings. 

The company benefits when the employees at home are happy spending time with family while working. According to a report by Stanford University, companies have been more successful when employees adopt work-from-home technology.

Work-from home demands various practices from a manager:

Ensuring Security

The top fear of managers is Security when talking about work-from-home. It is not easy to trust the device, network, and in some cases, people too. Therefore, here we present some of the solutions for them:

Define policies to ensure security of cyberspace.

The policies define a set of procedures to follow for remote working. The manager should ensure that the employee uses company-allocated devices only. The IP address of not registered devices should be rejected. Moreover, always click on secured links with an SSL certificate and show HTTPS at the beginning of a domain name.

SSL certificates provide good Security for connecting with the company networks. It is recommended to buy SSL certificate from reputed brands as such certs do not show a warning while browsing the website. Managers should encourage higher authorities to invest in a good SSL certificate. SSL certificates confirm the user’s identity and are only approved to establish a connection. Thus, this ensures secure connectivity to the company’s network.

Remote Accesses

One of the most used software is VPN. A virtual private network enables employees to connect to the company’s network. Thus, all the protocols and security policies of the company network are applied to all the devices connecting to it.

Hide your network packets!

When data travels through the network, it can encounter a man-in-the-middle attack. This reroutes the network package to another host than its target. It is advisable to encrypt the network packages to ensure safety from this common attack. There are various encryption techniques like RSA, MD5, SHA, and AES. 

Are you an authentic user?

In an organization, there should be various levels of Security and authentication to be safe from identity theft. Remote working poses a severe threat as a digital identity can be easily mocked. Adding passwords and authentication tokens are helpful to ensure the person is genuine. Using captcha and robot tests, confirm if a human made the request. 

Denial of Service attacks can be easily trapped in these tests. One important recent innovation is the use of two-factor authentication. This authentication requires a password and an authentication code, which refreshes as early as a minute. This real-time OAuth 2.0 is a boon to the industry. It has made organizations more secure.

 Hierarchical Accesses

Access rights help protect data from theft. When employees have ill motives, securing networks, devices, and software may not be enough. A common error of clicking pictures of sensitive information may lead to major company losses. When employees are given access rights according to their positions, this can be resolved to a major extent, as senior employees understand the severity of their actions.

Learn to implement!

Employees should be given training on the importance of cybersecurity. Managers should note that this training is done regularly. Employees should be safe and keep the company safe while they work from home.

Support flexibility

Currently, the work timings of everyone are different. Similarly, workplaces differ too! One individual is on vacation, while the other is visiting family, or someone else is in hospital for a family member. However, instilling the value of providing services to the company as their responsibility is required for being a good manager.

Plan according to the availability

When working from home, people tend to cater to various responsibilities and might be unavailable for long hours. This should not hamper the amount of work they are assigned and the deadlines they are tagged with. When a manager plans for a particular set of tasks, they should be assigned according to the respective schedule of a person.

Daily updates

This is one of the ideas adopted by agile methodology. When the team members are asked for daily updates, they had better judge the progress of the task. In addition, daily updates can help an individual assign priority to a respective task and be more productive near deadlines.

Weekly meetings and Feedback

Weekly meetings with the manager are key for team members. This helps the manager understand the strengths and weaknesses of an individual. This also helps the manager understand areas where a team member wants to improve/grow. The managers can then provide specific members with their respective responsibilities keeping in mind their interests.

When the team members provide Feedback to the manager, it allows the manager to improve. This is also important for the individual, as it makes them feel heard and gives them a chance to be part of a change.

Upgrade your tools.

Before the pandemic, there were tools and technology were used. Many of them were native to the office or the office network. Due to the work-from-home policy, these tools need to be updated or replaced to ensure proper compatibility with the previous workflow.

Finally, it takes a lot of effort to provide good mentorship to the team members while supporting their ideas and making them contribute to the company’s projects and successes. Work-from-home has many benefits but comes with a massive responsibility as well. Security is one of the prime needs, and SSL certificates, VPN, and user authentication are must-haves, especially when a company is working hybrid/remotely.