remote workforce

Strategies for Maintaining a Healthy Culture in a Remote World

As the Controller at KiteTech, one of my roles is to oversee all HR functions including interviewing potential job candidates. Honestly, the interviews are just as much for me as they are for the prospective employees. As a recent interview was concluding I jokingly apologized for all of my pointed questions and offered to answer his questions. The applicant looked me in the eye from across the screen and asked a question that I have been asked often…”Andrew, what is your favorite part of working at KiteTech?”

I smiled. As much as I was interviewing to see if he would be a good fit at Kite, he had begun interviewing me on why he should want to work here.

My answer was simple. Our culture is focused on relationships, and we go to great lengths to ensure our employees are well-connected.

When everyone went home two years ago, a topic that frequently came up in our leadership meetings was “How do we ensure our employees feel connected with their teammates?”. We heard from some peers that their employees were not doing so well and were dealing with the consequences of extreme loneliness. We wanted to make sure our employees did not feel isolated, alone on the proverbial “remote work island.” As we brainstormed how to encourage employee engagement, we realized that the only fix was through intentional strategies focused on relationships and connections. Below I share some of the strategies that we found most effective in maintaining a healthy, highly engaged culture.

Strategies for Maintaining a Healthy Culture

Engage Employees Daily

Mother Teresa once said, “Loneliness is the leprosy of the modern world.” Humans need human interaction on a daily basis or loneliness can quickly seep in. One of the best ways to ensure your team does not become a lonely and isolated team is to be intentional about engaging with employees daily.

One of our Core Values is “Embrace Teamwork.” Each employee connects daily with their teammates through daily huddles, one-on-one’s with their supervisors, and attending company-wide meetings. Whenever we attend video calls, we always keep our cameras on. We believe that face-to-face interaction throughout the day is key to having a healthy remote work experience.

Occasionally a cat will slink up and jam the keys, or a nephew will run up calling out, “Uncle Andrew!” but this has never been a burden, but instead has helped develop an even greater personal connection. Throughout each day our employees chat over Microsoft Teams to solve technical issues, highlight employee successes, and post funny comments. The office banter has merely transitioned from over cubicle walls to over computer screens. Engaging employees daily can be the difference between loneliness and success in the workplace.

Your Personal Takeaway: Make it the norm to have cameras on during every video call.

Express Employee Appreciation

Teams rise or fall based on if their members feel appreciated. Often employees leave jobs early not because they want a higher salary or a different position. What they want is recognition for a job well done. They want to feel like a valuable member of the team.

One of our favorite tools to ensure employees feel appreciated is Bonusly. Sent in the form of a public tweet and often with a meme, Bonusly encourages employees to publicly recognize their peers by sending bonus points. The points can then be redeemed for gift cards. Personally, I have laughed out loud just from visiting Bonusly. Today, I witnessed memes of dancing stick figures, a cat typing away on a computer, and of course SpongeBob!

On a serious note, as a manager, your employees need to know you value their efforts as part of your team. I often ask myself if I am being a “first-class noticer.” Am I being intentional about noticing others’ efforts, especially those not on my direct team? It is important for our teams to communicate, especially to express gratitude and appreciation for a job well done.

Your Personal Takeaway: Make it a daily habit to notice one person in your organization and show them appreciation with a thoughtful email or public encouragement. Bonus: Find someone that is outside of your direct team to thank them for their efforts!

Encourage In-Person Events

Regardless of how you interact virtually, nothing replaces the in-person connection. Giving a high five, a pat on the back, or a random comment as you pass in the hallway can be mood-defining and an encouragement to employees.

A few months after we started working remotely our employees began asking for opportunities to connect in-person. Once it was safe, we began hosting Happy Hours at local restaurants and scheduling lunches when people were in the office. Even though our employees were spread throughout the country, we wanted to encourage in-person connections. Our West Coast employees occasionally meet up for dinners and hikes and we even hosted our “KiteTech West” employees in Maryland this past March!

Your Personal Takeway: Schedule a Happy Hour with your local employees. If you are feeling extra generous, pick up the tab!

Embrace Mutual Interests

Relationships strengthen when people are able to relate on a personal level and connect outside of the work atmosphere. Though an employer cannot force employees to be interested in similar hobbies, it is important for employers to know their employees’ likes and dislikes and develop opportunities to connect over these hobbies.

Many of our employees share mutual interests and KiteTech encourages employees to embrace these similarities. Our employees have started leadership book clubs with colleagues, organized faith-based small groups, scheduled video game tournaments and even a virtual art class. A night would not be complete without our employees battling over their favorite video games like Fortnite or League of Legends and tuning in to watch each other stream Slay the Spire!

Your Personal Takeaway: Ask some of your employees what they enjoy doing outside of work and schedule yourself to connect over that hobby…you might even find a new hobby yourself!

Employ Remote Culture-Building Tools

One of the keys to building a healthy remote office culture is through being creative with the remote tools that are available. Though employees may not be able to interact in-person, especially for offices like ours that are spread throughout the country, it is important to employ culture-building tools that are suitable for a remote workforce.

A few years ago, KiteTech leaders put together a Fun Committee to be in charge of planning different fun events. Made up of members from different departments, the Fun Committee has led the charge in ensuring our employees are connecting through monthly online events. Some tools that our team has used include virtual movie platforms to allow our employees to remotely watch a movie together and virtual escape rooms. Thankfully, we have always escaped! We also have hosted holiday parties and monthly birthday celebrations over Teams to ensure our employees are connecting regardless of their location.

Your Personal Takeaway: Plan a virtual hangout by watching a movie together, trying an escape room, or laughing hysterically while playing an online game (Jackbox Games are my favorites!).


Maintaining a thriving work culture in a remote or hybrid world can feel daunting. I would love to tell you that every event and tool has been a success, but it has taken some trial and error to learn what works best for our team. It’s important to stay intentional about trying new initiatives to keep your staff engaged and your culture healthy. I hope that the strategies shared in this article provided you with some fresh ideas for your business, and if you choose to implement one or more of our takeaways, we would love to hear about it in the comments. 

Andrew DiDio

Andrew DiDio

Kite Technology Group

Strategies for Leading Your Remote Team

For most businesses, the year 2022 marks almost two full years of operating remotely in at least some capacity. Some leaders couldn’t wait to open their offices again, while others embraced the new trend and still run their businesses entirely remotely today. Whether your team members work remotely all the time or just occasionally, it is important to recognize that leading a remote workforce requires intentional effort to keep your team highly engaged and productive.

For the past two years, our entire team at KiteTech has been working almost entirely remotely while also helping most of our clients across the country make the transition to remote work as well. As a result, we have learned a lot about what it takes to lead a remote workforce effectively. Below are four strategies that you can leverage to help you lead your remote team to its maximum potential. 

Invest in technology.

It sounds like a pointed statement for me, a leader at an IT Services company, to start with the importance of technology. But it is not an exaggeration to say that our team and our customers’ teams would have collapsed without the proper technology in place. Now more than ever before, it is vital to your organization’s success to have the technology infrastructure in place that supports your business objectives and empowers your users to do great work no matter where they are working.

A few categories of technology to consider that will make or break your remote team’s effectiveness are: 

  • Personal Workstations: This most basic need includes all the hardware equipment your staff will use to do their work, such as a sufficient computer, multiple monitors, phone, headset, and webcam. We share additional home office recommendations in this recent post.
  • Collaboration Software: Your team needs a place to meet and collaborate. There are many, but we love Microsoft Teams because it integrates well with other pieces of Microsoft’s complete productivity suite like SharePoint. 
  • Cloud-based Work Management Platform: Your company may already use a line-of-business application to store your customer records and track your work activities. Hopefully the application you use is accessible remotely because this will be an essential tool in driving accountability to keep your team productive from afar. 

Emphasize your company's values and mission.

Have you ever walked through the front door of a corporate office and seen a plaque on the wall stating the company’s values? Often, these plaques are mounted to every office and cubicle wall throughout the building as well. Organizations do this to constantly remind their employees and customers alike what the company stands for. Additionally, leadership consistently talks about their company values to help drive the point home even more. 

The challenge with a remote team is that you are not in charge of everyone’s home interior design, and you don’t have the luxury of having everyone in earshot of you all day. With a remote team, you have to be creative about other ways to drive your company’s values and mission to your people. At KiteTech, we created small calendar-like flip boards that our employees can put on their desks to remind them of our core values. You can also brand your digital space by adding your values and mission statement in places like desktop backgrounds, screensavers, intranet home pages, and email signatures. Think of as many places as possible to sprinkle these reminders, and it will be hard for your people to forget. 

It is also helpful to be intentional about mentioning your values in as many conversations as possible, especially team- or company-wide meetings. In a remote workplace, you may only have your team’s attention for a few minutes, so take advantage of all the opportunities you can get. If your people have not gotten sick of hearing you talk about your values, then you have probably not talked about them enough. 

Create time for employee touchpoints.

Every team should have regular team-wide meetings no less than once a week. We found that we needed a much more frequent rhythm in a few cases now that we are all working remotely, so some of our teams meet for a brief huddle once or even twice a day. If you are leading a team, consider implementing daily huddles to keep your people connected and rowing in the same direction. 

But this is just the start. As a leader or manager, you need to stay connected to your people in more ways than just the regular mandatory meetings. Be intentional about getting time with each of your people individually or in small groups throughout the week, outside the context of a typical meeting. If your work doesn’t naturally facilitate these informal touchpoints, you need to be extra-intentional about creating them yourself. Keep a mental note of when you last talked to each person on your team, and when it feels like too long ago, give them a spontaneous call just to check-in. People feel more supported and more engaged when they get these frequent touchpoints, and without them, they can feel isolated.

Build quality reporting.

With an in-person team, some managers feel satisfied just from seeing their team busy. Is everyone on the phone? Is anyone congregating by the water cooler? Is anyone missing from their desk or the office? When everyone is working from home, it creates obvious challenges in managing a team simply by looking or listening. 

The fortunate truth is that you really don’t need to see or hear your people to know they are doing a good job. In fact, even if your team is in-person, you should not settle for “look and listen” leadership; don’t mistake activity for results. Instead, you need to create reporting systems that tell you the entire story. 

Start with your team’s goals and then consider ways you can measure and report on results. For example, when our help desk technicians work with our customers over the phone, it is not enough for us to simply know that our technicians are on the phone; we also need to know if they deliver extraordinary service. To get this, we implemented a customer feedback system that allows our customers to grade their experiences, and the results are then reported to our team. This measure is immensely more valuable than just looking at a given moment and making sure our people are busy. Other examples of measurements we get from our reporting are phone hold times, ticket response and resolution times, and the number of issues solved. 

We use some reporting tools that are proprietary to our industry. Look into whether there are any industry-approved solutions for your line of business. Power BI by Microsoft is a data visualization tool that can be customized to create solutions for any industry. 

Although leading a remote workforce may feel more challenging, it doesn’t have to be. While it does require you to be more creative and intentional in your leadership and management approach, with the right strategies and tools in place, you’ll discover that remote teams can be just as, if not more effective than in-office teams. 

Here at KiteTech, we take pride in providing IT services and technology solutions that help the organizations we work with operate more effectively, whether they are in the office or working remotely. Over the last few years, we have helped thousands of users across the United States seamlessly transition to remote work. To learn more, please reach out and schedule a conversation. We are here to help!

Daniel Gilbert

Daniel Gilbert

Chief Operating Officer
Kite Technology Group

4 Must-Haves for Your Home Office

Like many of us here at Kite Technology, you likely spend some time working from home and/or have at least several employees working remotely. We have found that having the right home office equipment can make all the difference in empowering users to have a better experience and be more productive when working from home. In this post, we share some of the tools that can enhance the work-from-home experience.

HD Webcam

The first item on this home office list is a high-quality webcam. This simple technology is affordable and easy to use, but it can completely transform your virtual meetings. All team members can benefit immediately from a dedicated camera for their home office setup. Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and countless other platforms can use the video input to better connect team members at home during internal calls, significantly increasing the sense of togetherness for a geographically dispersed team. Additionally, using video in meetings with clients or prospects goes a long way in building trust and allows you to pick up on body language you would otherwise miss in a call. Although virtual video meetings are not a replacement for in-person meetings, they certainly are more efficient and a great option to consider when unable to meet in person!

Pricing for webcams varies significantly, but purchasing a better, high-quality webcam is worth the investment as it gets you a higher-quality video recording. Most models are USB-based webcams that will be plug and play with any desktop or laptop workstation. One key point to note is while most laptops do come with basic built-in cameras, the video quality is usually grainy and will not be nearly as good compared to dedicated webcam hardware. In addition, webcam hardware comes with basic built-in microphones to pick up your voice. Depending on the model, some even come with a feature that reduces background noise.

Look for an HD webcam that will record in 1080p resolution inside today’s video meeting tools as a starting point for best results. Some webcams do record in higher resolution, but they will not necessarily provide much of a picture improvement. The other key specification to pay attention to is the video frame rate. Common options range between 30 or 60 frames per second or FPS. The higher the FPS number, the better the footage will be since it directly translates into the overall “smoothness” of the video capture. Finally, consider shopping well-established brands when looking for webcams as these will have the best support across systems and typically fall into the $75-150 price range. Getting a good HD webcam will provide reliable operation and work-from-home benefits for many years to come.

Laptop Docking Station

A docking station is one of the best tools for team members working remotely using a laptop. You can substantially transform your home office experience by using a docking station via a single cable or even an older snap-in-place unit to connect to full-size monitors. Going from a single smaller 13″ – 15.6″ laptop screen to two or even three full-size monitors is a significant boost in user experience and productivity.

As laptops have become thinner and more portable, they come with fewer ports than they used to. Docking stations can provide additional USB ports, full-size ethernet networking ports, and more, allowing for connections to accessories such as printers, webcams, chargers, and more at a moment’s notice, saving time. Plugging the dock into a physical ethernet networking cable will also ensure low latency video calling and downloads for a better work experience. Because you can connect to docking stations with a single cable and easily unplug, your laptop remains fully portable for use at home or in the office.

There are a variety of docking stations on the market, made by many laptop manufacturers and 3rd parties. Price can range quite a bit depending on the feature set and capabilities. It is essential to ensure compatibility with your specific laptop model. When shopping for a good solution, we recommend a USB-C-based dock to communicate and charge newer laptops as this is the best option for most home office uses. There are also thunderbolt docking stations for more advanced computers and applications. Either way, having a dock will substantially improve the work-from-home experience.

Sound Bar or Computer Speakers

Another solution you can purchase that can substantially enhance your home office is speakers for your desktop or laptop. This small addition can really level up your experience at home. Speakers can help your meetings or training videos have better audio and improve the quality of your IP Phone system calls. If you choose to do so, you can even play background music while working to make for a more relaxing office experience. The list of uses is infinite!

Larger desk speakers plug into the wall and use an auxiliary connection; however, even a bluetooth or USB-powered sound bar will provide ample audio volume for more compact home working spaces. Since desktop workstations do not come with built-in speakers and monitors are also increasingly omitting speakers, dedicated sound devices are becoming critical to success at home, so make sure that you have a set of speakers on your shopping list! You may even already have a device sitting around the house that can be connected and used as a speaker.

UPS Battery Backup

The last item to add to your home office wish list is battery backup. Power outages can occur at any time taking your internet connection offline, unexpectedly powering down your PC, or even causing damage if a power surge occurs. Being prepared for a quick flicker or prolonged downtime is key to staying productive in your home office. You can use a UPS battery backup for desktops specifically to plug in a computer, monitors, desk phone at home, and more. You can even connect your internet modem and Wi-Fi access point to keep them online.

These UPS battery packs are quite affordable, ranging from $100 – $250 and providing selectable power ranges. More expensive models have larger batteries which can help power gear for longer. Higher-end units also come with monitoring software and even display screens indicating how long the unit will be operational. Having office electronics connected to a UPS will ensure that the expensive equipment used every day is protected since these units also serve as surge protectors. They will sacrifice themselves and internal fuses instead of letting an overcurrent event fry sensitive electronics plugged into them. As an insurance policy at home, it is well worth putting one on your home office list if you spend any time working beyond the office walls.

If some or all of these tools would be helpful to your or your team members’ home office setup, connect with the IT experts at Kite Technology Group. We can help your business leverage technology solutions like those mentioned above to create a more productive and effective work-from-home experience. Our team can evaluate your needs and help your business implement powerful remote work strategies that enhance team collaboration and drive business success. Contact us today to learn more!

Ryan Emerick

Ryan Emerick

Client Experience Manager
Kite Technology Group

Top 3 Security Threats Related to a Remote Workforce

With so many businesses still having a distributed workforce, it is important to prioritize computer and network security.  While there are various security threats associated with employees working remotely, today, I will be focusing on the top 3 threats that you should be aware of and address to ensure that your employees and business are secure.

Home Networks

One of the main security risks of a remote workforce is the possibility of unsecured home networks. Did you know that according to PC Magazine, in a study of 2000 US residents, 23% of people reported that they are using default credentials on their router/modem, and 11% were not even sure of what their credentials are? That is very concerning with the number of cyber threats that are out there. Most home networks are set up by a local ISP and use a modem/router to provide WiFi. These home networks are often set up by a technician whose focus is function, but not necessarily security. Therefore, your network traffic may be open for anyone to snoop on without your knowledge. The best way to protect that data is to encrypt all non-public information you and your company send over the wire. This would require the use of a VPN (virtual private network). With the proper configuration of a VPN, your data will be encrypted in transit and unreadable to those who may be listening. To make sure you have a secure home connection, you will want to make sure that:

  1. You have encryption set up with a VPN to protect corporate data.
  2. Your WiFi has a secure password associated with it.
  3. Default credentials on all network devices are changed.

These three steps go a long way to ensure you have a secure home connection better defended from hackers with malicious intent.

Personal Computer Equipment

When the rapid shift to remote work took place last year, many employees started using their home PC to access company data and perform their business functions. While it is crucial to ensure that the devices in an environment that allow data to flow through the network are locked down, the machine that holds all your data- the PC, will be a hacker’s biggest target. According to, in a recent study, “56% of people were unable to bring equipment from their employer to work from home” and “a third admit to personally purchasing equipment to help them work remotely during COVID-19.”  That is an extremely high number of personal devices, considering how many people are still working remotely.  Furthermore, home PCs are often shared with children or significant others, further increasing your cyber risk. It is vital to your company’s security that remote employees use company-managed PCs or laptops. It takes the management out of the users’ hands and provides a higher level of security while handling the company’s data.

Cell phones and mobile devices are another component that need security when being used for company email and accessing files. Make sure your infrastructure management includes a plan for keeping these devices protected.

Security Updates

According to, “based on a sample size of 163 million computers, 55% of all programs installed on personal computers running Windows are outdated.” Whether it is a firmware update for your hardware or a software update for your line-of-business application, this is something that the typical end-user often does not take the time to do. What can you do about it? Turn on automatic updates. This can go a long way in ensuring that updates are installed, and personal devices remain secure. While many of the software companies’ releases may be feature updates, you will also get vital security updates that help prevent exploitation of vulnerabilities in the system. This brings me back to having company-provided hardware.  When your company provides and manages home devices, your IT department can manage, audit and ensure that updates are promptly and correctly installed, which will go a long way in protecting your company’s data. Keep your devices up to date!

These are just a few of the security risks associated with a remote workforce. Unfortunately, there are many more threats to consider as malicious actors continuously search for opportunities to access your company’s data. It is essential to keep security top of mind and continue strengthening your security posture. There are many resources out there that can help you evaluate your current environment and provide recommendations for improving your security standards. We at Kite Technology can be that resource and can help you identify vulnerabilities and provide the tools, like cloud solutions, you need to eliminate them. Contact us today to learn more. 

adam atwell

Adam Atwell

Cloud solutions architect

Adam is passionate about consulting with organizations across the country to help them develop and execute a cloud adoption strategy that meets their business needs and future objectives. Adam oversees and manages our company strategy for Microsoft 365 adoption and is responsible for future growth and development inside Microsoft 365 and other cloud technologies.