The world is currently in the midst of a global crisis the likes of which we haven’t experienced in modern times. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has changed life as we know it and caused companies to come up with contingency plans to keeping their team going while also honoring the needs for social distancing.
In San Diego, we’ve seen schools close and restaurants switch to take out or delivery only. Gyms like 24-hour fitness have closed, offering at-home classes and audio coaching for free to fill the gap.
In the San Francisco Bay area, 6 counties have “shelter in place” orders, and while that’s not yet the case in San Diego county, businesses are scrambling to make contingency plans should workers need to stay home.
Those companies that are nimble and have a telecommuting plan in place for their IT services have the best chance of reducing downtime and keeping operations going should workers need to telecommute.
Trying to run your office virtually without putting a plan together first, can lead to connection and security disasters. Before you tell workers to go home, you want to consider several key areas of your operations and how you’ll adjust them to ensure a successful transition.
How to Smoothly Transition Your Office for Remote Workers
If you use cloud services for all your business processes, you may just think it’s fine to tell everyone to go home and work, without having a plan. But, it’s not that simple. There are factors such as security, devices, and communications that you need to consider.
Here are tips for enabling remote workers and taking your company virtual if needed during this national emergency.
Review the Cloud Tools You Have & Need
In 2019, 89% of small and medium sized businesses had some type of cloud use strategy, with 35% of them using a cloud hybrid (both online and offline). For companies using cloud solutions the transition to working from home is much easier, and for those that are still using on-premises software, they need to look at remote login tools.
Evaluate the software applications that you currently use in all your business processes and determine if any adjustments are needed in cloud-based tools for access from a different network IP address.
For any non-cloud applications that you are using, look at these three options that can enable employees to use them from a remote location:
- A remote login tool that allows employees to connect remotely to their business desktop (The downside is if the power or internet goes out at your office, they can’t access it.)
- Allow employees to take workstations home.
- Do a quick migration to Windows Virtual Desktop, which can enable access to all programs and files located on the drive from any location.
One very important cloud solution to have in place when your team is remote is a team collaboration/messaging tool, such as Microsoft Teams. This helps everyone stay in continuous communication and reduces feelings of isolation or miscommunication.
Evaluate Hardware Needs
An initial decision that a company will need to make is whether to have employees use their own personal computers to work from or take home their office workstations.
If you are having employees use their personal computers, you should have them determine (perhaps with the help of an IT professional) if their PC can handle the work applications that you use.
Even programs like Slack can be memory intensive, depending upon how many chat channels you use, and an employee with a home computer that has just 4GB of memory could have freeze up issues. You can handle this proactively by checking and adjusting before the remote move is made.
Peripherals like headsets for VoIP calls and video conferencing should also be considered as items employees may need in order to conduct business from home.
Make Security a Priority
One of the biggest risks when a company is quickly transitioning to having employees work remotely is that they don’t put needed security measures in place to protect their network.
With employees connecting from multiple home Wi-Fi networks to your company data and apps, one of the best ways to secure these connections is through the use of a VPN.
Virtual private network applications can easily be downloaded onto employee PCs and mobile devices. By connecting through a business VPN, you’re encrypting the data transmission, which protects it no matter how insecure the network might be.
Other security considerations include:
- Ensure all devices being used for work have updates and security patches applied
- Have antivirus/anti-malware protections (Windows 10 is pretty robust, so explore those options first if your employees have it on their computer)
- Review any companywide digital policies in place that might make remote access difficult, as they may need to be adjusted temporarily
Don’t Forget Remote Technical Support
Your employees are going to be adjusting to a new system and technology hiccups may come up as this is happening. You can save them a lot of frustration and loss of productivity by having a “go to” remote support link from Excedeo ready to go for your team.
Many computer issues can be solved by phone or remote login. Ensure your team has the tech support contact they need to get help quickly rather than struggling for hours with a problem.
Let Excedeo Help You with a Smooth Remote Work Transition
Time is of the essence if you need to have workers telecommute quickly. Don’t make the mistake of going it alone! Excedeo is here for you to help ensure a smooth transition and give your team the IT support they need.