In the remote work environment, conflicting sets of data seem to pop up from time to time. Some say remote workers are more productive, others say remote workers are less productive. Oftentimes these small-sample statistics can serve to reinforce managerial confirmation bias, especially if one is predisposed to believe workers are naturally lazy, but there are deeper stories involved.
While most companies switched to remote work out of necessity, the suddenness of it caught many unprepared, and not knowing how to effectively manage remote workers, or utilize the best available software for remote work coordination, meeting planning, and data organization. In this article, we’re going to focus on data organization and why it’s a critical asset for remote working arrangements.
How does automation and data organization improve productivity?
In those studies of whether remote workers are more or less “productive”, they tend to focus on the black-and-white measurements of productivity such as the number of tasks accomplished per day. What isn’t usually considered is the difficulties faced by remote workers (and management) that can impede productivity.
Some companies seem to think that setting up a few VPNs, and providing everyone with a dedicated mini-PC with company software, will enable people to just continue working normally from home. Sadly, there is an enormous range of technical and security issues to consider.
An unstable, sluggish work VPN for example can significantly slow down worker productivity, as they wait for the screen to register keyboard entries. And of course, data management and making sure files are properly stored and organized, instead of depending on direct sending files through Slack. If your employees have to search through team meeting chat logs to find documents, you’re going to have problems.
At the very least, you need to consider a web file server solution, and consult with your IT department on the best ways to implement secure file sharing and data organization practices for remote workers.
Create policies for document security
When many files are being shared across workspaces, you need to make sure only those with proper authorization to access those files are given privilege. This is where it becomes beneficial to follow the rule of “least privilege” for document security. In the least privilege principle, workers are granted only the bare minimum of workspace privileges required to do their tasks.
This is very important as organizations need to create hierarchy structures in remote teamwork apps and make sure workers don’t have access to documents, data, and chat rooms above their role. I’ve worked for entirely digital companies where things like this go under the radar, so you can imagine how difficult it is for office management to adapt to new remote protocols as well.
Backup cloud data and employee devices
While cloud platforms provide an amazing solution to storing and sharing a lot of files remotely between groups of people, they are not without flaws. In fact, most cloud companies actually recommend having backups of your cloud data, because in the event a cloud server is compromised, the copies of your data will be untouched in another location.
You also need to consider that when a team is working remotely, there may be instances where employees move files to personal devices. If you don’t explicitly prohibit this, it’s wise to implement a policy where work-related documents on an employee’s personal device are stored in a location accessible by your cloud backup plan.
This way, if ever your employee’s personal laptop suddenly stops working, at least the work documents stored on their personal device will be available in the company’s cloud storage.
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