How to Support Remote Working in 2023

Though remote working is not new, it leapt into the global zeitgeist during the COVID years. In 2020 organisations were scrambling to find the right technologies or implement policies as workers were ordered to stay at home. Now that we’re in 2023, the policies and platforms that have been serving organisations for the past few years are now standard practice, which is why we’re seeing so many employers continuing to offer remote and hybrid working opportunities. 

The most successful organisations understand that amongst their top priorities should be ensuring employees feel connected to the company and each other. There are several ways to achieve this: improving communication and culture and implementing tools and apps that increase productivity and collaboration. Some organisations have even created specific roles for people to handle the management and improvement of remote working. 

As a completely remote workforce, Propelle is always looking for new ways to engage our team members, both within our company’s culture and by providing the right suite of tools to help them achieve our collective goals. Here’s a few ways we and other forward-thinking organisations are continuing to support remote working in 2023.

Three women sit around a timber table with their laptops. Co-working or working from cafes is a way of supporting remote working in 2023

Invest in practical tools and apps

The rise of remote work in the past decade has been accompanied by a global investment in cloud-based apps, functional and attractive intranets, and document management platforms like SharePoint Online. In fact, shifting to the cloud was one of the biggest priorities in 2020 when businesses were confronted with a newly remote workforce that could no longer access office-bound tools and information. Shifting everything to the cloud, as well as digitising and automating business processes across the entire organisation, means that remote and hybrid workers have no obstacles to getting their work done. 

Over the past few years, a new generation of tools was designed and rolled out to help remote teams collaborate and communicate effectively. In 2023, these tools are expected to become even more sophisticated. This will allow remote workers to stay connected and productive no matter where they are based, and ensure hybrid workers can seamlessly connect from the office or at home.

Administration tools

Microsoft Outlook has a range of useful and practical features , such as meeting recaps, the ability to input unique work hours (perfect for geographically dispersed employees), and integrating Teams chat into the email window so all your conversations are in one location.

Collaboration tools

If your organisation enjoys or relies on brainstorming sessions – either in-house or with external clients – then Microsoft Whiteboard is a great tool. It does what it says on the label – users can access a collaborative virtual whiteboard where they can draw and write, share ideas, and even write on and stick post-it notes as if they were in a physical meeting. It’s great for visual learners and collaborators and facilitates a creative and engaging atmosphere.

Lucidspark is another popular virtual whiteboard platform, which also offers Breakout Boards so that teams can split into smaller groups, then present their board to the main group.

Security tools

As with every new tool, app, or platform, managing permissions and security is vital. Setting up effective intranet security is one thing – ensuring your workforce understands how vital they are to maintaining your organisation’s security is another. If you’re not already doing it, training, education, and implementing security premium features should be high on your to-do list in 2023.

As a remote IT company, we recommend focusing on device management and monitoring, ensuring the devices and software your team is using at home are secure and functional.

Manage devices with Microsoft InTune which allows users to track what is connecting to your network, making sure all devices are patched and can only access resources assigned to each person. You can even restrict what can be accessed by BYOD devices, compared to company managed devices. Email encryption is another layer of protection to prevent sensitive or confidential information from being accessed by unauthorised parties.
 
Content classification is the practice of categorising data based on its level of sensitivity, which will help you determine the appropriate level of protection and adjust permissions settings accordingly. The same goes for information protection, safeguarding data from unauthorised access, modification, or getting deleted.
A young woman sits in a well-decorated living room, demonstrating remote working in 2023

Streaming and presentations

Over the past few years, many organisations turned to virtual events hosting and live streaming to connect with their workforce or customers. A recent and exciting development in this space is the Elgato Stream Deck plugin integration with Microsoft Teams. Designed to address the challenges typically associated with presenting – Did I hit record? Can audience members hear me/react? – the Elgato Stream Deck device can be customised with common Teams buttons to toggle camera, mic, and record on/off, blur your background, display live reactions, and end the presentation.
 
Tools that help increase engagement during meetings are highly valued. Video chat fatigue is a well-documented problem, so coming up with innovative ways to ensure your employees feel energised and enthusiastic is crucial. We’ve found that apps like Slido keep our team members focused and entertained. It allows users to build interactive online quizzes that can be played during meetings, either to check if the learnings are being received or to inject a bit of fun and competition into the session. It can integrate with Microsoft Teams, and the person hosting the game can share their screen to reveal the questions and the live leader board.

Focus on inclusion and culture

The transition to remote and hybrid work models has reiterated the importance of a strong and inclusive company culture. This isn’t just about getting your team members use the intranet, or sending out a welcome pack of branded items to new employees (though both are great!). Remote working has opened opportunities to attract the most talented people to your organisation regardless of where they’re located in the world. Things like title and salary may be key factors, but now more than ever it is a company’s culture that is swaying top talent’s decision to join and stay with an organisation. 

As a geographically dispersed team, Propelle is constantly seeking out new ways to keep everyone connected. For example, everyones calendar is open by default so we can see if a colleague is free for a chat, the same way you might stop by someone’s desk in a physical office. We communicate through Microsoft Teams Chat and video calls throughout the day, not only so we can collaborate on projects or overcome obstacles, but also to overcome any feelings of isolation. 

Monday mornings kick off with a virtual stand-up where people can share highlights from their weekend before laying out what’s on for their work week. This serves two purposes – firstly to keep everyone in the loop with what people are working on, and secondly so that people can request for/offer assistance. We also happily encourage people to take social breaks during work hours for coffee catchups with individuals or as a whole team throughout the week. In keeping with the social theme, we take the time to celebrate personal events and achievements in online parties – birthdays, engagements and weddings, new babies/homes/pets… we even used Slido during a virtual baby shower last year! 

A major part of building a sustainable company culture is inviting feedback and suggestions from your team members. We’ve found this to be a positive method to learn what’s working and what could be improved, as well as proving to our team members that their input is heard and valued. Ultimately, an organisation’s culture thrives when everybody is treated with respect, they are shown appreciation for their work, and their ideas and personality are welcomed.

How are you approaching remote work in 2023?

Regardless of whether you’re a fully remote organisation or you’re running a hybrid model, you need the right tools and guidance to ensure your team feels supported. Our consultants work closely with clients to understand your current setup, then help you discover which solutions will let your team thrive no matter where they’re located. 

Want to learn more about the tools Team Propelle uses to stay connected? Get in touch with us today.