8 Easy Steps for Managing Decentralized Teams
Coronavirus has changed how we do business. Over the last month, we’ve all canceled airport meetings, business lunches, and industry conferences. As the virus spread, we packed up our essential files, laptops, and office plants and moved the office to our homes.
Right now, at least 1.5 billion people are under a lockdown or voluntarily staying home. Social distancing is the new buzzword while we wait a year or more for a vaccine.
Staying in business means taking virtual meetings, calling instead of knocking on an office door, and assigning tasks via text message and email. Short-term, we must learn how to build relationships with colleagues and customers without meeting them in-person. These altered communication patterns will linger after the current crisis passes. Long term, we expect more cost-effective and secure decentralized workspaces with less business travel.
Add these 8 things to your executive to-do list and achieve decentralized success.
1. Prepare for change
As coronavirus shifts your workforce away from the office, mastering remote work strategies becomes a crucial part of maintaining business continuity. In the face of this pandemic, this applies to all industries, from government and finance to healthcare and telecom. When the 2020 audits roll around, expect a readiness and resilience assessment along with the usual data security audit. These new audits will examine your response to the current crisis and whether you mitigated harm to productivity and engagement.
2. Consider personalities
Some employees will struggle with working from home. A strong leader identifies these individuals and customizes their approach based on individual needs. For example, newer technologies may pose a barrier for older employees, and younger ones may struggle to balance their family obligations with their home office. Maintaining communications with both the entire team and individual team members will help employees cope with these changes and let management know who needs a helping hand.
3. Make a small investment in tools and tech
One to two weeks of work from home is an experiment. It’s like checking your email during vacation. Maintaining productivity over several months requires more than a six-year-old laptop. Know the age of your equipment and its condition. Replace older equipment to meet day-to-day employee needs better. Ask employees about their Internet connections, including speed and uptime. Consider a corporate data plan if these connections are inadequate. Also, evaluate using an enterprise VPN to increase security and connectivity. This is key to effective management of a decentralized workforce, helping to maintain productivity over prolonged periods and maximize staff potential.
4. Keep everyone connected and in the loop
Talking generates ideas. Take your meeting rooms and water coolers online by creating chat groups. Workplace collaboration apps, including MS Teams, Zoom, and Slack, work well for this. We recommend four primary messaging channel categories.
- Customer projects keep everyone current on recent key customer developments and send alerts for significant milestones and changes.
- Topical channels help you capture organizational expert knowledge and improve organization standards.
- Announcements keep everyone abreast of the latest news without cluttering their inboxes.
- Fun re-creates the water cooler and gives employees somewhere to share personal news, jokes, and milestones.
5. Run amazing virtual meetings
All successful meetings require dialogue. We communicate differently in person than we do with a video camera, phone, or keyboard. It’s easier to misunderstand someone when you can’t see their face. Online meetings often take more time than face-to-face ones.
Several days before your meeting begins, encourage your group to start chatting online. These early conversations help you use your meeting time more efficiently and make the meeting’s participants feel more connected with the topic and each other. However, it is important to ensure that these virtual meetings remain secure to avoid unexpected data breaches.
6. Keep hackers out
COVID-19 represents a golden opportunity for cybercriminals. They’ve attacked the WHO, hospital networks, banks, and other infrastructure critical to the pandemic response. They will target anyone.
Educate your employees about cybersecurity best practices like how to identify suspicious emails. Send them daily reminders to check for updates and information about current hacking scams. Publicize a list of official software channels, including the Apple Store and Android’s Play store, and strongly discourage employees from installing software and apps acquired through unofficial channels.
7. Establish secure data handling policies
Every business has secrets—products under development, customer data, contracts, financials, feasibility studies, and other sensitive information vital to daily operations. Breaking this data into four categories lets you better define who may access it. For example, a sales associate needs to see customer data, not corporate financials.
After categorizing your data, think about how a decentralized workforce will access, store, and share each category of information. Is encryption mandatory, or will a trusted connection suffice? Do you have more stringent requirements for mobile devices?
8. Create decentralized security for your decentralized team
Traditional IT systems rely on a central server for storage and management. Everything is on a private network protected by the organization’s firewall. By design, this system protects a location like your main office.
Decentralize Your Teams Securely with Adeya
Adeya lets every member of your organization carry enterprise-level security in their pocket. Our best in class secure collaboration solution delivers an excellent user experience and enables you to prioritize both information security and user privacy. Our solutions provide:
- Controlled access. Through our multi-tenant central management system, we facilitate collaboration while keeping your data within closed circles. The administrator console uses a strict role-based access model. It grants entry to the collaboration application, creates private contact lists, and defines enterprise-wide security policies.
- Data protection and privacy. Adeya shields your data with state-of-the-art cryptographic technologies. These protect all content stored within our application. Our dedicated team of security experts continuously tests our products for vulnerabilities. Then, an independent security lab conducts further testing and verification.
- Decentralized security. When you send a message, share a file, or call a private Adeya contact, the information is only encrypted between the intended device recipients and never decrypted by back-end components. This ensures that neither Adeya nor hackers can decrypt your content nor access it within a central server.
- High availability. Each Adeya deployment’s architecture (cloud or on-premise) is secure and redundant with high-availability. This is ensuring business continuity through our service.
- Comprehensive communication and collaboration. Adeya’s mobile and desktop applications offer texts, messaging, calls, video calls, conference calls, file sharing, and a secure container with a shared contact list. Enterprise security features include military-grade end-to-end and at-rest encryption and user-initiated remote wipe.
Start your 90-day free trial today and prepare to weather any storm.