People are increasingly asking how to boost their family’s online safety during lockdown. Furthermore, companies are showing signs of struggles when it comes to keeping remote staff motivated. We took a personal approach and asked several of our colleagues what they recommend for their loved ones and employees.

Make online safety everyone’s problem

To be fair, it isn’t really a problem at first. Unless, of course, you count lack of knowledge or lack of experience as problems.

As always, the trick here is to make it known that digital security is both real and serious. You may struggle to get this point across initially, particularly to younger family members or staff working remotely for the first time. In the former case, children likely have yet to experience the perils of being an online victim. In the case of the latter, though, they are probably just used to the security that a well-secured workplace environment offers.

Tackling this challenge is not without its merits, however. The obvious advantages of increased online safety aside, there are other pros as well. For example, it’s an opportunity to practice having a difficult discussion about the financial implications of digital security. This applies both in the household and the workplace. You can also take the time to thoroughly educate recipients on the different ways that their security may be threatened, and how to avoid such situations. This has the added benefit of adding both skills and value to your organisation.

When quizzed about how to bring children on board with this, we received very similar feedback from our colleagues. The general idea is that you’ll struggle to isolate children from any adverse online influences. To combat this, let their education on the subject take place early on, and repeat it regularly so that it sinks in.

Gear up with the right tools

Obtaining the right software and hardware to keep your work and home digitally safe is just as critical. Think about this as an analogy: if you hire security guards, they won’t be half as effective without physical barriers and the right access control mechanisms.

In an office (or virtual office) setting, your experts typically provide recommendation on what you need. So your security folk (just like ours) have probably already recommended and implemented measures such as firewalls, VPNs and restricted access. As a rule of thumb, proponents will tell you that the more measures you have in place, the better.

Despite the more casual setting, things are a little trickier at home. Families don’t usually have ironclad security policies and training. What’s more, it isn’t a topic broached as commonly in the residential area. Fortunately, you have access to a plethora of resources, both for education and protection.

Adding to the challenges, however, is the fact that parents need as much education as those they are responsible for. This was the most common theme we encountered when polling our staff on the matter. Many mother and father figures were quick to point out stories and advice such as this. The good news is that advice is just as common as the stories are. But it is still up to the discerning parent to decide which practical approach is best.

At the very least, argued most, parents should be well aware of what their offspring are up to online. Some preferred exerting some amount of control over these activities as well. There are various ways to do this. Netnanny is among the more popular monitoring and content restriction tools. It’s also fairly straightforward to add content control and monitoring to children’s accounts using Windows Family.

Keep producing results and deliverables

With online safety taken care of, many people in a managing role begin worrying about productivity. This is natural, though; without some kind of familiar oversight, it isn’t as easy to keep abreast of whether what should be happening is actually taking place. In addition to this, trying to keep everyone motivated towards performance can be difficult.

One of your best options when it comes to this is some form of time tracking. The merits of various ways to do this aside, the advantages it offers are quite clear. It’s also easy enough to set up for office or home. All it requires is a little active management.

Parents are also telling us that having goal-orientated projects is helping manage their children remarkably well. In the workplace, you find various project management methodologies to keep progress on track. At home, however, a simpler approach seems to work best. As one parent put it, “I can tell my older child that she has three days to get something done, and she’ll decide how to pace herself. With my younger son, I give him little micro-goals to achieve over shorter batches of time. The end result is the same for them both – success.”

On the professional side, multiple director-level individuals decided to promote a motivational approach towards result achievement. Their top tips to achieve this included:

  • Frequent progress reports with details on the small wins
  • Restructuring team structures to allow more beneficial cross-talk
  • Daily video calls with managerial staff, and regular video contact with the entire organisation where possible
  • Scheduling irregular activities such as group exercise sessions and quiz contests over video conferencing

Change to suit new needs

The point about restructuring merited some expansion. We were told that organisations should expect some sort of restructuring, as most work (and many home) functions are affected by lockdown. Early adopters of this would thus find themselves at an advantage, as they work out any kinks earlier on and have more time to refine their strategy accordingly.

There are other benefits to some slight restructuring as well. There’s no better time than the present for seeing whether plans to future-proof your work are actually tangible. With the move towards digital already well underway over the last several years, you now have an opportunity to test your ambitions.

Finally, don’t forget to apply some of your proposed changes to your home as well. While not every skill or resource is transferable, many of the underlying principles are. Bringing those principles to those you live with is a good way to encourage critical and applied thinking.

Adept would like to thank all the colleagues, partners, parents and other individuals who gave their time to make this article possible!