I39307110_St’s that time of the year for cleaning and organizing. It’s also a good time to do the same with your digital world! Here is a four-week program from The Better Business Bureau and the National Cyber Security Alliance designed to help you organize and protect your digital assets.

Week 1: Clean your machines. Are you sure that all of your web-connected devices ‒ computers, mobile phones, smartphones and tablets ‒ are free from malware and infections? You’ll want to make sure to update all of your critical software regularly. Do you say “not now” when your computer requests an update? Doing so can leave you vulnerable. Allowing updates is one of the best security measures you can take. Make sure you’re keeping up-to-date on all security software, web browsers, document readers, operating systems and any other software you use regularly. Delete any unused apps on your phone and make it a policy to be extremely cautious when downloading new apps. Also, don’t forget to use antivirus software — there are many free and low-cost versions available that provide a layer of protection for a wide range of devices. It’s another layer of defense.

Week 2: Make sure you’re secure. Consider using two-factor authentication for important accounts. Yes, it’s a bit more of a hassle to log in each time but it can dramatically reduce the chance of someone gaining access to your accounts. Secure your router with a strong password. And improve passwords by using upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for all accounts and make it a policy to change them periodically.

Week 3: Purge and protect digital files. Clean out old email. Store important data and photos on a secure cloud site. When backing up your most important information, use the 3-2-1 rule to help guide you: 3 backup copies, 2 different media types, 1 offline and in a separate location.

While you’re at it, permanently delete old files. Unsubscribe to newsletters, email alerts and updates you no longer read. Empty your trash or recycle bin on all devices and permanently delete old files. Feels great, doesn’t it?

Week 4: Clean up your online reputation. Review privacy and security settings for your online accounts, including social media. Delete old photos that no longer represent you on your social media accounts. Review the information for your online self and update where needed.

For more digital spring cleaning tips, go to this link.

Happy male writing positive mail to clientRemote work is here to stay, even after the global pandemic comes to an end. Yet leading a remote team isn’t always easy. That’s why we wanted to share with you some of the common issues that crop up in remote teams — and some solutions that can help address them.

Too little communication

It’s easy to feel isolated working at home alone, especially if you’re used to working with other people in an office setting. Research published in Harvard Business Review found that many remote employees are more likely to feel disconnected or even alienated than those who work on-site. As a team leader, you’ll want to check in with each member of your team regularly — and not just via e-mail, Slack or the occasional phone call. Regular, face-to-face communication via video conferencing with your team and individual employees who report to you is important to help maintain good communication. Keep in mind that employees have different needs. Some employees will want more frequent check-ins than others.

No downtime

Remote workers need a break from work, too. Without time away from work-related e-mail, phone calls and texts, anyone working from home can reach burnout quickly. Help your team establish boundaries so they can unwind and disconnect when they aren’t ‘at work’.

Too much oversight

Perhaps you don’t demand constant connectivity from your remote employees, but you still struggle with micromanaging their efforts. There’s a fine line between frequent communication with members of your team and micromanaging their efforts from afar. If you haven’t managed a remote team before, you may think that employees are more apt to waste time when they work at home, are prone to lose focus and need more management guidance. Studies show the opposite is true. Some studies have shown that remote workers actually work harder and are more efficient than their on-site counterparts. Why? Fewer distractions and interruptions, less socializing and an appreciation of the benefits of remote work, such as no commute, could be reasons. Gallup research, for example, found that remote work not only improves outcomes but is an arrangement that the most talented employees seek.

No sense of community

It’s hard to feel close and connected to your colleagues when you don’t see their faces or hear their voices on a regular basis. Create opportunities for them to bond from afar. This might include fun end-of-week emails with inspirational quotes, recaps of notable achievements from the past week, and words of encouragement. You could also start recognizing your most outstanding employees/freelancers on a weekly/monthly basis and include a personal bio in your email so others can get to know more about their coworkers.