By Jennifer Blanchette

Just like the pandemic, remote working erupted into our daily lives without warning. One year later, the state of emergency which precipitated the shift to telecommuting has subsided, revealing in its wake what may be vulnerabilities in the work-from-home model. Since remote work is here to stay, it is imperative that business owners reassess how this practice may impact their business. Here are our 5 tips on how to be a better e-employer long term.

1.    Connectedness Emergency

Long-term remote work has contributed to the dehumanization of the workplace. The figures speak for themselves; over one in three telecommuters suffers a sense of isolation. Even more alarming is the fact that a high number of remote employees report experiencing symptoms of burnout. Without question, the erosion of the sense of belonging employees feel towards their organization is one of the worst repercussions of remote work.

In order to thrive, employees need to feel that they are sharing a common mission and are strongly connected to the company culture. Their co-workers are their “work tribe” and without these social interactions, remote workers soon feel isolated and apathetic, and their efficiency and productivity may dwindle away. To be avoided if one wants to keep their team from falling apart.


It is therefore incumbent upon employers to—immediately!—restore a spirit of collaboration and connectedness in spite of distance. To achieve this, team leaders may:

  • Communicate individual and team-specific goals to their team members regularly
  • Conduct occasional one-on-one meetings with individual team members
  • Plan weekly virtual team meetings
  • Highlight co-workers’ achievements on a weekly basis
  • Streamline remote access to medical and psychological support services
  • Encourage their team to take their daily coffee breaks together (virtually)
  • Organize casual events such as online classes, virtual after-work drinks or game nights

Over the past year, there hasn’t been a shortage of initiatives to keep the My Technician gang closely knit. Here are some of the activities in which we participated:

  • We organized a virtual evening show with a comedian.
  • To stretch our restless legs, we tried kitesurfing (snowkiting) as a group, in a large snowy field. Adrenaline, fun and social distancing were the order of the day!
  • A must for any team working remotely, we held virtual after-work cocktail hours; wine and lunch box were provided for the occasion.

2.    Inbox Traffic Jam

Let us be frank; since the emergence of telecommuting, there has been more traffic in our e-mail inboxes than on the highway at rush hour. Since all communication is now electronic, e-mails are piling up at an insane rate and we quickly lose the thread.

Case in point: this article was delayed by three weeks because the draft version arrived in our already overloaded inbox at the same time as 10 other priority e-mails. Oops! That one slipped through our fingers. Fortunately, our team keeps a very close eye on current projects and did not hesitate to get us back on track.

To avoid e-mail overload, applications such as Microsoft Teams are a very interesting alternative. They allow instant messaging and the creation of discussion channels intended for the employees concerned. This avoids being copied on a ton of e-mails that ultimately are more or less relevant to our functions. You will see; a fifteen-minute discussion via videoconferencing will be much more worthwhile and productive than 30 e-mails on the same topic.

3.    Revised Work-From-Home Policy

Many companies drafted a work-from-home policy for the first time last spring. Since then, this document has remained static, buried in a digital folder on the company’s server. But in one year, business needs and work relationships have changed dramatically. Therefore, so should the policy!

This policy governs how employees use company-provided equipment and technological tools. The more detailed it is, the less likely you are to encounter contentious situations resulting from a mutual misunderstanding. Not sure what your revised work-from-home policy should contain? Take a look at our Work-From-Home Guide for Businesses.


4.    Technologicial Threats

It is not just the employees who take advantage of the opportunities provided by remote work… Cyberhackers too! Indeed, the precipitated shift to remote work has resulted in some companies neglecting the IT security of their remote installations. It is now vital that they identify and repair the digital vulnerabilities that threaten their business.

To maximize the security of your technology environment, here are four actions to set in motion right away:

  • Choose a remote desktop connection solution where employees connect remotely to their on-site workstation, or technologies such as Microsoft Remote Desktop Server or Citrix
  • Enable two-factor authentication when connecting to cloud services and/or VPN
  • Close all network ports except the one used by the VPN
  • Choose an antivirus program that allows centralized management and overview of updates and alerts

5.   IT Support to the Rescue

With remote work now the “new normal”, technological challenges have multiplied for employers. One of the main concerns is deciding how best to resolve technical or computer problems experienced by employees quickly and remotely. To prevent employee productivity from plummeting, businesses must be able to rely on an effective IT administrator or the help of a specialized IT firm.

For faster resolution of computer problems, it is important to ensure that all employees know how to reach the IT Department quickly in the event of a problem, as well as the procedure to follow when contacting them. For example, before contacting a technician, do employees need to get their request approved by a supervisor (and thereby the expenses it will generate)? If not, does the company use a managed services provider (MSP) that includes unlimited service calls? These are questions that business owners need to have thought about in advance to avoid prolonged IT downtime.

Another good way to avoid business downtime is for the company to have extra laptops on hand, ready to be shipped out. This way, as soon as a major problem arises, a new computer can simply be sent to the employee via a courier service. Depending on the distance involved, the employee should receive the package within 4 to 24 hours at the latest.