The coronavirus or COVID-19 is forcing many businesses to embrace working from home. The technology needed to enable people to work from home has existed for years, but working from home may be new for you and your employees. Here are some essentials you need to address to empower your remote workers.
What technology do you already have and what do you need? Your people may have business laptops and phones. So, remote work isn’t going to be as much of a change as your people already have the tools they need. However, a business that wasn’t doing any of this before might need new hardware.
There is currently a shortage on laptops and at least in the short stage you may need to ask employees to use their own personal computers and phones. That is going to require some ground rules. For one, no Windows 7! Windows 7 is out of date and no longer supported by Microsoft, this means employees could be putting your corporate data at risk of cyber attack.
Other rules could include:
- Establish strict policies for securing devices accessing business networks.
- Ensure all devices are being backed up.
- Communicate reporting procedures for the loss or theft of a device.
- Educate employees to regularly install Windows updates and ensure their firewall and anti-virus software on their systems are on and up to date.
- Prohibit any third-party apps.
- Set devices to make users aware that they may be connecting to unsafe networks.
- Enable mobile monitoring management of all devices that provide IT access.
Challenges of the Remote Work Environment
In the office environment, there is business technology consistency. Now, you are supporting various hardware and networking solutions of different quality. This can be a headache to get up and running, yet you need to support your remote employees. People are now working wherever they are, whenever they want. What kind of IT desk help can you offer them?
The “wherever they are” part can raise some issues. Employees could log in from public parks, cafe’s (if any are open), or while at home with the kids. This means you need to protect against fresh threats, including:
- stolen devices.
- People out in the world could look over your employee’s shoulder and read what’s on the screen.
- liquid damage – kids (and even adults) can spill juice in a split second!
- Install remote management software to enable a complete wipe of lost or stolen laptops.
- Implement encryption, data backup, and screen-locking features to help keep data secure.
Saying people can work “whenever they want” also has its challenges. With everyone stuck at home, a 9-5 schedule for office productivity may be impossible. Kids don’t really understand that “Mommy’s working at the moment” do they, so staff could work late into the night or on weekends?
It’s a good idea to establish clear expectations from the outset:
- How will progress be demonstrated?
- What is acceptable business-hour flexibility?
- What are the expectations for team collaboration?
- What software will be used for group chat, video, or conference calling?
- How can staff members check-in with managers?
- What happens when there an issue with their technology?
If you are going to allow people to set their own hours, your IT support needs to be flexible, too.
Supporting Remote Work
The good news is that remote work can be productive, too. In fact, a Stanford University study found remote employees did an extra day’s work per person per week.
DP Computing can help you set up your technology to support your remote staff. We will make sure your hardware is up to scratch, secure those mobile devices and can provide onsite and remote support across the day. Contact us today at 08 8326 4364 or firstname.lastname@example.org!