Working from home – the challenges and benefits of dispersed teams

For most of us, shelter-in-place orders presented the new ‘challenge of working from home’ all of the time. The nature of our work means that we’d all done a lot of work in our homes. But we also had a work office to report to.

Suddenly, our only place of work was home. And while I’m sure many people enjoyed it greatly – and want it to continue to varying extents – we had some challenges to overcome.

Some companies are reportedly extending their own work-from-home directives. Some may even shift to having their staff work primarily remotely. So it’s important to both list some of the challenges, and address some possible remedies.

1. Poor Internet Signals

This is a challenge that most of us encountered when everyone who was able to work from home was suddenly using up local Internet bandwidth. We would intermittently be faced with some serious slowdowns in our connections.

Do we get additional modems? If you’re thinking of getting an extender, whatever you do, don’t bother with the budget options. You’ll be spending money but will see little to no improvement. I know this from personal experience.

I have now ordered this high-end Netgear extender for $179.99 and seen the price increase by $20 within a day of my order. That’s a clear sign of increased demand and dwindling supplies.

2. Inferior Workspace, Monitor Setups, and Ergonomics

What you can get away with for your evening-hours home-work, or as a temporary accommodation to a crisis, will not cut it on a permanent basis. There are a number of concerns in this area, including:

  1. Do you have a dedicated, office space that is free of home distractions?
  2. Does the monitor setup in your home match what you have at your office desk?
  3. In all likelihood, your in-office workspace was designed with ergonomics in mind. Have you taken the same care of your health with your home office design? Maybe this wasn’t tremendously important before. But it’s REALLY important if you work from home more.

3. Computer Security

How good are the security protocols you employ for your computer?

As you read this, there are ‘armies’ of hackers working hard to find ways to wreak the greatest possible havoc on your computer (and everyone else’s).

Even if you have a Mac and have previously been convinced that you’re safe, the best advice now has to be that you protect your computer. Your livelihood depends on it being secure. The reputation of your company also depends on it!

To help you choose the best antivirus software for your computer, here are some articles.

The CNET review on the best antivirus software for Windows 10.

The Macworld review of the best antivirus software for Mac.

And here’s one from Consumer Reports that covers both.

Even Encrypted Emails Aren’t Really Secure

OK. The email itself should be very secure – WHEN YOU SEND IT! But what happens when someone replies to or forwards it, and they don’t use encryption? Unfortunately, this article from the Latacora microblog is a bit too technical for most. But this quote alone, will hopefully give people pause for concern:

“Every long term secret will eventually leak”

The point here is, your most secure email will not be 100% secure forever. Actually, data such as sender, recipient, and timestamp are not at all secure, ever.

And there’s something else that isn’t secure…

Document Sharing via Email is REALLY Not Secure!

Sure, the attachment itself may be encrypted. But people will store them on their own hard drives. And that’s where the security breaks down,

It’s far better to sign into a secure platform that is either dedicated to document sharing, or where that is one element.

Workflow Challenges – Are You Missing An Important Task?

You’re not working side-by-side with your colleagues, so they can’t just walk over to you – or yell across the room – that they’ve just sent you something and now a property sale depends on you taking an action.

Workflow systems are invaluable. Everyone who can sign into them knows what tasks are needed and who is potentially holding things up. Considering there are areas in which brokers can be fined $1,000 for failing to meet deadlines, a good workflow system can pay for itself many times over.

So, What Are The Benefits Of a Dispersed Team?

The most obvious and biggest benefit is that you can cover a greater geographical area with the same number of employees.

For your employees, not having to drive to the office each day frees up time in their day. When needed, they can work slightly longer hours without extending their day. The rest of the time, they improve their work-life balance. This article from The Happiness Index details quite a few of the benefits, including:

  1. Better health
  2. Increased productivity
  3. Better focus
  4. Happier employees who are less likely to jump ship

In Closing

There are so many more considerations, but hopefully, this article will have given you some food for thought.

When it comes to choosing the apps to help with these and other considerations, you have plenty of choices. However, if you want to combine everything except for virus protection into a single, very affordable app, your choices are far fewer.

One of the top all-in-one solutions and most affordable for the money is Realty Pilot. Their Concourse360™, combined with OfferRunway™, does everything mentioned here (except virus protection) as part of a full, broker/agent suite. Click here for your one-month free trial.

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