Remote Employees: Guide to Hires, Furloughs, & Terminations
During these unprecedented times, companies have had to adapt to an ever-changing business landscape. Chances are, most of your employees are now working remotely. While remote work has done a lot to keep businesses operating as usual, it does pose a unique challenge when personnel changes come into play.
Standard procedures go out the window when your employees are not working in the office. At the end of the day, hiring or terminating remote employees comes with huge security risks. Whether you’re having to let some individuals go, bring in new hires, or you’re considering furloughing employees, it’s important to establish processes and policies that keep your business safe.
How to Handle Equipment
The most important thing to consider is how you’re going to deal with equipment. Your employees need a way to perform their work after all! While you might think that personal computers are good enough, we strongly recommend that you reconsider.
Company-issued hardware offers a lot of benefits. We’ll get into the specifics of that in a bit. But ultimately, it all comes down to security. Providing equipment is the best way to make sure that your employees have everything they need to continue working.
Getting Equipment to Your Employees
Getting your hands-on computers, phones, and other essentials isn’t the easiest right now. It’s a sizable investment and the high level of demand is making things hard on distributors during the pandemic. However, the tradeoffs are well worth it.
Once you have the equipment set up and ready for employees, you need to send it off and make sure that it safely gets into the right hands. This might seem simple enough, but you need to be vigilant about the receiving process. The last thing you need to deal with is porch pirates taking your equipment.
Make sure that your employees are home and available for delivery. Document the entire process through delivery verifications so that there are no questions.
The same goes for getting equipment back. You should provide return shipping labels for your terminated employee. They’re already having to process the end of their employment, providing those essentials will be one less thing to worry about. Plus, it ensures that you’re getting your investment back without any issues.
Work with Your IT Provider
Above all else, the biggest tip that we can provide you is to constantly communicate with your IT company. They are going to play a big part in making sure that your equipment is properly prepared and ready for use. IT specialists need to know what’s going on to be successful.
Your IT company should prepare equipment before sending it out to employees. Not only do they need details about what this equipment needs, but they need to know where it’s going, when it’s coming back, and more. IT support is going to be the MVP during this process, so don’t leave them in the dark!
Controlling Employee Access
For new hires and existing employees alike, providing some access control is important. Not everyone is going to need to access every single company system. Your receptionist has no reason to see the same stuff as your accounting team!
When you’re sending equipment out, it needs to have the right level of access to your company systems based on each employees’ job and level.
The Importance of Using Company-Owned Devices
Earlier, we talked a bit about company-issued equipment. When you’re talking about remote work, company-owned devices offer the best security possible. A large part of that is because you can control access and ensure that employees don’t save sensitive information.
Say, for example, that you did choose to let employees use their personal PCs to get work done. What’s stopping them from downloading files? Some may even save access credentials without even realizing it! Browser password managers are notorious for this. Once that employee is let go, they could easily get back into the system because those credentials were saved. Imagine all of the liability issues that would pop up.
If your company must follow certain privacy or security standards, a company-owned device makes it easy to ensure that you’re complying as well. Your IT company could install a mobile device management system that allows you to remove access instantly. None of that could be done if your employees use a personal computer.
Establish Tech and HR Policies
Your company’s tech policies should apply to any work device. This is especially true if you’re providing company-owned computers. However, any bring-your-own-device rules need to be followed as well. Those policies can keep you protected from a litany of problems, including the issues that come with password managers.
If you are using company-owned devices, have your IT company implement those restrictions before they are sent to your employees.
Removing Access After Termination
Controlled access is necessary with new hires and existing employees, but it’s crucial with terminated employees. Timing and communication are key here. A lot can happen when the employee is working remotely.
Your IT company needs to know exactly when the termination will occur. That way, they can remove access immediately and keep your company’s sensitive information safe.
When it comes to managing remote employees, nothing beats in-depth documentation. There are so many things to remember. Trying to keep all of that information in your memory is impossible. We’re not just talking about small details like who has what equipment.
You need to create documentation for everything. This includes who has access to what based on their position within the company, URLs for administrative logins, bank logins, file sharing logins, and so much more. Obviously, you should never keep passwords in an easily accessible document, but having those URLs and basic admin information can make all the difference.
Many IT providers use powerful documentation software to simplify the process. But even if yours doesn’t you can do all of this with simple spreadsheet software.
The Importance of Documentation
So, why is documentation important? Well, think about the steps you would need to take to remove an employee’s access after termination. Depending on that employee’s position, you’re looking at several websites, pieces of software, and company systems you need to take care of.
Having that documentation ready will make the process much easier. It’s a good idea to make a step-by-step guide on how you can remove employee access in the future. It sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised by how many things get missed. Finding the right order and timeline of when to pull all of those credentials can ensure that you’re getting everything done.
How to Complete Training
The biggest thing you’re probably thinking about is how you can complete training for your new hires. With social distancing guidelines preventing one-on-one interaction, you need to take a different approach.
The easiest way to train new hires is to simply take advantage of the technology you have access to. Once they are all set up with their equipment, use video conferencing software and screencast tools to walk them through the job. If they’re able to work remotely, you should be able to teach them everything they need to do without having to meet in person.
Provide Information About Support
Your new hires are bound to run into problems as they’re adjusting to the new job. Because colleagues won’t be there to lend a helping hand, they need to have a way to get technical support. Provide that information upfront. Many IT providers will send out training emails to new hires automatically, which will provide all of that useful information.
Another thing you should do is manage your new hire’s expectations with technical support. Here’s where communicating with your IT company comes in handy again. Do you have an agreement to get assistance within a few hours or will it take a few days? Whatever the case may be, let your new hire know so that they have a better understanding of how the support system will work.
In addition to providing contact information for your IT provider, give your new hire a breakdown of who is responsible for what. Think of it as a detailed company directory. Let your new employee know who to go for what and how to contact them. It’s also a good idea to do a quick company pow-wow through video conferencing if possible.
Do Cybersecurity Training
No matter how experienced your remote employees are, do cybersecurity training! See if your IT company has a handbook or training program that you can use to teach your team how to avoid security issues.
Cybercriminals are running rampant right now. They’re trying to take advantage of this pandemic to steal information. Phishing emails to steal login credentials and tons of malware are making the rounds. Your team needs to be careful and know how to spot those cybersecurity concerns.
Whether remote work is only temporary for your company during the pandemic or it’s a normal part of your business, cybersecurity should be a top priority. There’s are a lot of risks involved when hiring and terminating remote employees. However, staying prepared, working with your IT provider, and having established processes in place can greatly minimize those risks and keep your company protected.