Expert Advice On Keeping Remote Workers Happy And Productive

A conversation with Joe Sykora, VP Global Sales and Channels at Bitdefender

Work From Home

Joe Sykora is VP Global Sales and Channels at Bitdefender, a cybersecurity and anti-virus software company founded in 2001. Bitdefender develops and sells anti-virus software, internet security software, endpoint security software, and other cybersecurity products and services.

Sykora has spoken and presented to the public on a wide variety of topics such as internet and network security, wireless security, mobility, and remote access, and encrypted messaging solutions. He recently took the time to speak with MSP Insights about what needs to be done to manage remote workers to keep them happy and productive.

Q: What can employers do to make sure that people are staying focused, committed, and happy?

Sykora: Employers should start by focusing on the quality and frequency of their communication. Checking in with team members regularly will help to make certain that while working virtually and independently they are still on track to reach goals and deadlines. Open lines of communication also build trust and morale by allowing employees a channel to express their needs and feedback. In addition to regular interactions related to business, employers can provide opportunities for their staff to connect on a personal and social level and be sure to also recognize employee achievements or efforts to go above and beyond. Showing employees that you’re invested in their progress, willing to celebrate their success, and aware of their business and social needs goes a long way in making sure everyone is focused, committed and happy.

Q: What are the top three things that leaders can do to create a good remote culture?

Sykora: Transparency and open and frequent communication are now more important than ever. These should be the top two considerations in creating a positive and productive remote culture. Employers should also provide flexible deadlines and assignments where they are able, as workers will need to balance their professional and personal lives as their homes become their office. Many staff members are working remotely while also supporting their children’s virtual schooling process.

Q: How will these changes affect productivity?

Sykora: These strategies will positively impact productivity. Encouraging open communication and a clear work/life balance avoids employee burnout and makes sure that they minimize stress and feel fulfilled and confident in the face of both uncertainty and increased responsibility. Meeting their basic needs—including a sense of connection—allows employees to place their attention solely on their work tasks and use their full focus and potential rather than being distracted by other demands.

Q: What are some best practices, beyond the general advice to clarify your purpose, circulate an agenda, prepare people to be called on, and so forth?


  • Improve connection and open communication by embracing video-based conferencing to enhance face-to-face interaction.
  • Help to meet employees’ need for socialization and connection by organizing virtual happy hours, online tournaments, a virtual scavenger hunt with team prizes, or other group events.
  • Use digital collaboration tools to be “connected” to your team throughout the day. Be aware of your team members’ learning styles, and use these collaboration tools to provide graphics, models, and visual representations of processes and data where possible in addition to your vocal or written explanation.
  • Increase flexibility when approaching problems and providing solutions. Host brainstorming sessions and involve staff in decision making processes when possible.
  • Create or continue your company’s employee incentive program to reinforce that you’re still tuned in to everyone’s contributions, achievements, and dedication. For employees that have gone above and beyond, consider calling out their work in your internal team communications, or providing gift cards or time off.
  • While you can’t physically implement an “open-door policy,” provide the digital equivalent. Use messaging programs such as Slack, What’s App, or the instant messaging function of Google Hangouts to let employees reach you easily and in real-time.