Making Up for the Shortcomings in a Hybrid Work Strategy

a woman sitting in front of a computer screen

Remote operations were the norm for some time during the pandemic, but now, hybrid operations have largely taken over fully-remote operations. The unfortunate fact of this change, however, is that your employees in the office are getting more out of meetings. Let’s discuss how you can make meetings more equitable for everyone involved, both remote employees and in-house staff.

Hybrid Meetings Present Both Benefits and Challenges

Hybrid meetings have loads of benefits, as they offer a flexibility that was previously unheard of for attendees. If people could not attend in person, they would have to catch up later, but nowadays, most meetings are recorded so that staff can view them at a later time.

In some ways, it makes your meetings more inclusive to conduct them this way, and it can boost engagement in the process, but it’s not the silver bullet for solving all of your meeting problems. Hybrid meetings tend to be dominated by those who are actually in the conference room, with remote participants acting more like a background audience. It goes without saying that this is not the point of hybrid meetings, so how do you resolve it?

Everyone Needs to Invest Some Effort

Depending on your role in the meeting, there might be different methods you can use to make your hybrid meeting more equitable for everyone.

For the Remote Attendee

  • Turn on the camera: When you show your face to the others, your team members will know you are present and ready to interact with them. Logitech confirms this fact with a statistic that says webcam interaction increases effectiveness, participation, and satisfaction by 20-50%.
  • Be engaging: It’s important that you prioritize collaboration amongst your remote employees, and that means encouraging them to interact in much the same way they would if they were in an in-person meeting.
  • Be prepared to participate: Before each meeting, confirm that your remote employees can interact with your team, i.e. their camera works, their microphones work, etc. This will confirm that, if they have something to contribute, they can and most likely will.

For the In-Person Attendee

  • Remain cognizant of the remote experience: Your remote employees already know they are remote, so your in-house employees should also keep this in mind, too. If videos freeze up or audio cuts out, it’s important to treat it with understanding and empathy.
  • Stay focused: Side conversations, or those that remote participants cannot really partake in, are rude and unproductive. Keep your meetings focused to avoid these kinds of conversations.
  • Treat the camera like a person: It might seem a bit odd to look into a camera lens like it’s a human being, but this doesn’t make it any less important. Do this from time to time to make sure your remote employees feel involved, seen, and heard.

For the Meeting Facilitator

  • Delegate speaking time: Remember, you’re in charge of the meeting, so you have more control over who participates than you think. You can assign roles and duties in relation to the meeting and its topic to ensure everyone has a voice.
  • Involve some controlled small talk: That said, your employees are not going to be productive throughout the entire meeting, so don’t try to force them to be. Provide some time for your team members to have off-topic discussions so that your remote and in-house teams can connect with each other the way they might in the office.

Properly Managing Your Hybrid Strategy Also Involves IT

No matter what kinds of meetings you are holding, you’ll need the technology to support them. AE Technology Group can equip your team with the tools they need to take part in meetings and engage with your workplace in whatever way they need to. Contact us today to learn more at (516) 536-5006.

Has the Return to Office Led Employees To Quit?

a man in a tie is opening a box

The past few years have shown a major shift in the workplace environment. With so many jobs going fully remote during the pandemic, we’re now seeing pushback from employees who are being asked to return to the office full-time. People are referring to this as the “great resignation”, as so many employees are quitting their jobs that hashtags like #quittingmyjob #quitmyjob are trending on social media with hundreds of millions of views. Let’s consider this phenomenon called the great resignation, and how you can improve employee retention.

What Does The Great Resignation Mean?

More people than ever are voluntarily quitting their jobs as society seems to be rejecting the existing corporate model for the workplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 2021 held 47.8 million voluntary job vacancies, and 2022 is not looking much better with 4.4 million people resigning from their jobs in February alone. These are the highest numbers that the Bureau has recorded since first tracking this data in 2001.

So, this trend is more than just a social media craze, and it’s happening all over the world, not just in the U.S.

But Why are People Quitting?

The influx in remote work over the past two years has given people time to reevaluate their priorities and see what’s possible when not tied to an office 40 hours a week. With companies now pushing for a return to the office, employees simply aren’t willing to give up the freedom that remote work provides. 

Many are Generation Z age group, who joined the workforce during the pandemic, have tried to come back to the office, and have found a significant drop in workplace satisfaction, resulting in resignation.

Some are parents who, after getting so much time with their children during work from home, are simply not willing to give that up to return to the office.

Others are dropping the corporate model altogether in favor of freelance work, which provides total time and location freedom to freelancers, allowing them to travel and choose their hours.

Whatever the specific reason is, we’re seeing a huge shift from the “climb the corporate ladder” mentality of the last decade or so. Employees are now prioritizing a healthy work/life balance and putting their personal needs in front of those of a company. 

How Can I Improve Employee Retention?

The companies that are not struggling with employee retention during this great resignation are the ones willing to meet their employee’s newfound needs. If you care about maintaining devoted, engaged, and productive staff, it’s proven crucial to offer them the flexibility and autonomy that they desire. This typically looks like offering fully remote or hybrid remote and in-office positions. 

AE Technology Group is here to help you put remote or hybrid practices in place with reliable technology solutions to support them. Give us a call at (516) 536-5006 to learn more.

Contact Us Today!

Start Investing In Your Team’s Technology

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We don’t believe for one second that employees want to do the wrong thing; after all, they work for you for a reason, that reason being they want to do the job you hired them to do. Unfortunately, technology can often make it so that this process becomes difficult. If you don’t invest time and effort into ensuring that your team’s technology and resources are available when they need them most, you risk them choosing unproductive or even unsecured work methods.

Employees Using Unsecured Devices

Employees will prefer to use their work technology to fulfill their day-to-day obligations. These devices might include a desktop, a work-issued laptop, and maybe a mobile device. If these devices are not maintained properly, they will not work properly, leading your employees to find solutions that are outside of your purview. This might include their personal laptop or smartphone, devices that are not secured using your company’s security solution.

The importance of maintaining your team’s technology and devices cannot be understated, so we recommend implementing a solution that allows you to manage and maintain your devices with ease. Furthermore, you should add in a Bring Your Own Device policy that determines how and when your employees are allowed to use their personal devices for work-related purposes. This will be beneficial for your company in the long run.

Unauthorized Software Downloads

Your staff might occasionally require specific tools to do a specific task or perform a function. If they do not have access to these tools, then they will find a different way to do the job, or they won’t do the job at all. It’s like trying to use a butter knife like a flat-head screwdriver. Sure, it might get the job done in the moment, but if you strip the screw, you risk the job being much more difficult or downright impossible later on. The same can be said for when your staff tries to download alternative solutions to do a job; these freeware applications can be dangerous for your business for several reasons.

For one, all software your business uses on the regular requires a software license. If the software license on any of your employees’ computers expires, they will experience a disruption to their productivity and be required to find another way to get the job done. If they download the wrong application, they could put your business at risk of experiencing a security breach or using a counterfeit software license. It might solve an issue in the short term, but it creates long-term problems, especially if you ever become subject to a security issue or network audit.

The best way to prevent your employees from inadvertently causing trouble for you by downloading unauthorized software or using unsecured devices is to make sure that they have consistent and reliable access to the tools you provide, as well as ensure that the tools are properly maintained. You can make this happen through the use of proactive maintenance and management. If you are proactive in this regard, you prevent your team from being proactive in finding alternative ways to do their work. You can further augment this by giving your team someone to contact in the event they cannot access the tools they need throughout the workday.

AE Technology Group can help your team’s technology by providing them with a trusted IT resource for any questions or concerns they have about technology during the workday. Furthermore, we can also keep your technology in proper working order so that your staff naturally experience fewer issues while going about their day-to-day tasks. This gives your team the confidence that their technology will not create unexpected troubles for them and can help encourage them to appropriately handle issues when they do arise.

Let AE Technology Group be your business’ trusted IT resource! To get started, give us a call at (516) 536-5006.

Improve Workplace Security and Safety With These 5 Tips

5 tips for improving workplace security and safety

Your employees are part of the assets you have within your enterprise, and your customers, on the other hand, are the lifeblood of your business, which explains the importance of the safety and security of both workers and clients. Individuals who work in a well maintained and safe environment are also more productive than those who operate in insecure and unsafe surroundings. Assuring customers and staff members of their safety and security and that of their belongings when they are within your premises should be part of your priorities, and here are some tips where improving workplace security can make that a possibility.

Instill A Culture of Safety and Security

Sometimes, you may not be aware of some of the health hazards or security loopholes that exist in-house as an employer, which is why you should consider engaging your staff members in reporting safety issues and highlighting potential security risks. One of the ways you can bring your employees aboard on matters affecting their safety at the workplace is by adopting a reward program that imparts a culture of safety and security.

When your employees become conscious of their safety and security with the help of a reward program, cases of injury, loss of company property, losing personal items, as well as illnesses, will become a rare occurrence.

Adhere to The Set Rules and Regulations

The law stipulates that every organization should observe the set safety and security regulations to ensure that such environments are safe for all. Local rules and regulations on workplace safety and security address such things as joint health and safety committees for large entities, premises maintenance, first aid kits and training, emergency plans, among other things.

Researching the demands of local authorities regarding safety and security at the workplace from relevant sites is critical to ensure that you conform with such regulations because they protect both your staff and clients.

Install Verified Security Systems

Investing in a verified security system to secure your organization from intruders and address issues of pilferage among other safety and security concerns is a wise decision. Some of the security systems you should focus on installing within your organization include CCTV and audio, controlled access systems, fire detection systems, panic buttons, among others.

Contacting security officers in case of an emergency should not be a challenge after installing a security system within your firm, which implies that the safety of your staff and customers is guaranteed. Scalable and customizable security systems that can address the unique requirements of specific business owners are also available.

Consider Educating Your Employees on Security and Safety

When your staff members lack an understanding of how they should respond when they encounter safety or security threats, it increases their risk of suffering injuries or illness, and damage or loss of company assets is also possible. Offering your employees basic training on security and safety is a necessity because it goes a long way in safeguarding all who access your premises and everything you have in-house.

Prioritize Machinery and Premises Maintenance

Old shelters and partitions, faulty equipment, machines with an overdue servicing schedule, and fixtures that are due for replacement are health hazards in any office environment. Business owners should address machine servicing and replacement needs with the seriousness it deserves to maintain a safe workplace for their employees.

Failing to maintain your premises is also a risk for visiting individuals, and break-ins may become common sooner or later, which is why repairing office structures and constructing new ones where necessary is not an option if you care about the safety and security of all individuals accessing your firm.

Overlooking the importance of prioritizing the security and safety of your workers and customers can cost your enterprise a fortune, and that is why you should consider implementing these tips before it is too late. If you need more information on enhancing workplace safety and security, contact us today!

Help Your Employees Avoid The Threats – Computer Tip Of The Day

help your employees avoid the threats computer tip of the day

Did you know that employees can be the major causes of data breaches in the workplace, especially in small businesses and mid-size businesses? Employees can account for up to 50 percent of all data breach incidents.

When data breaches do take place due to employees, it is usually a result of an innocent mistake. Unfortunately, many employees do not have the full awareness of workplace data security. Many employees are always unaware of how many hackers operate and the type of information they tend to go after first.

One of the most important things you can offer in your workplace is employee education. If you want to lower the threat of breaches and theft, we encourage you to offer training and classes that will help your employees understand all the threats and risks that are lurking around on a daily basis.

One of the biggest threats to many small or mid-size businesses like yours is when a hacker pretends to be someone you can trust in need of sensitive and confidential information. This is known as social engineeringPhishing usually results in employees clicking on one or multiple links that will install a virus on their computer. There is also ransomware; this occurs when one of your employee’s computer is held hostage until a certain amount of money is paid.

In order to prevent your employees from being a part of one or more of these threats, we encourage you to remind them to do the following:

  • Make sure the source is a legitimate and trusted source before any sensitive information is given
  • Make sure they avoid clicking on any link or ad that looks suspicious
  • Avoid going to any website that looks as if it could be suspicious
  • Make sure they avoid opening files and other attachments from sources they are not familiar with

You can do your part in protecting your business when you make your employees of the little things they can do to avoid a major data breach. Contact us today for more tips and advice on avoiding data breaches and other security risks.