Using The Right Technology For Remote Work
March 30, 2020
Over the past decade, it has become much easier to work remotely with the ubiquity of portable devices and cloud-based business applications. But as the spread of COVID-19 continues around the world, many employees must adapt to an indefinite period of remote work. So, the question is – how can your business maintain a high-level of productivity and work satisfaction during this time?
Use the right technology:
How successful your business is in remote work depends heavily on the IT infrastructure you provide. Employees need tools that will enable them to work efficiently and with minimal disruptions:
– Check that employees have what they need before they start working remotely
– Ask them about their internet bandwidth and storage capacity
– Ensure that the technology they’re using is fast and secure
1. Internet access
Since most devices now connect wirelessly, Wi-Fi performance will greatly affect the remote work experience. In the average home, it’s common for many devices to compete for throughput on one network. As a result, this can cause internal “traffic jams” that slow down the connection speed overall. You may have non-work related programs, such as streaming services (Netflix and Apple TV), running on your device which also downgrades internet performance.
We suggest closing any unused programs and disconnecting non-essential, wireless devices while working. If this is not effective you can consider upgrading your internet connection to improve speed and reliability. Another good solution is to use a newer, multi-band router that allows you to segment the Wi-Fi network into two networks of different speeds: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The faster 5 GHz network is ideal for running business applications, teleconferencing and transferring large files. With newer routers, you can also configure them to give throughput priority to selected devices.
If you’re unable to upgrade to your internet or purchase a new router, you can still update the firmware on your existing router to the latest version. This should improve the router’s performance and patch any security flaws.
2. VoIP phone systems and teleconferencing
Effective communication determines the success of any team, and it’s especially important during remote work. We recommend using a cloud-based phone system that is designed to support worker mobility. Our clients at Insight IT use Cloud PBX which offers a number of useful features are cost-effective and easy to manage. In terms of teleconferencing, we’ve found Zoom to be the most user-friendly and affordable. Zoom offers clear audio and video without lags and is also packed with useful features.
3. Team collaboration software
While there are many team collaboration software options out there, Microsoft Office 365 is the choice for many businesses because of the diverse range of services and features it offers. For example, Sharepoint offers secure storage, viewing, sharing and editing of documents as well as seamless integration with other Microsoft programs. In addition, Microsoft Teams is a powerful platform for internal communication, where users can make video and VoIP calls, exchange direct and group messages and share files from other Office 365 apps such as Powerpoint and Excel.
4. Storage and asset management software
Ease of access to company data has a major impact on your remote team’s ability to work efficiently. Businesses that have already transitioned to the cloud have the advantage of accessing work files and applications directly via the internet. Our clients at Insight IT are currently using Insight Cloud Desktop. This gives them remote access to their office desktop environment, including local files and documents, from any device. With this kind of virtual desktop solution, your team can truly work from anywhere at any time.
Plan for the unexpected
Every business needs to have a crisis plan ready to deal with any unexpected problems like the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan needs to determine how team members will communicate with each other, especially those working from home should be easily contactable. An internal communications system like Microsoft Teams and Zoom are ideal options. Whatever your solution is, have the system installed and ready in the event of a crisis. It’s also important to consider data management and cybersecurity as part of your crisis plan. In a crisis like COVID-19, hackers will take advantage of unsecured, remote work setups to steal company data. Make sure you have a clear cybersecurity policy in place to keep your business protected.
Set clear expectations
It will be more challenging for certain employees to adapt to remote work. This could be because of their role or personal preferences. Therefore, managers need to be clear about their expectations for those who are working remotely. Set performance metrics, be aware of outputs and maintain regular contact. But you shouldn’t be too concerned about productivity – research shows that we actually tend to get more done while working remotely.
For businesses transitioning to remote work, Insight IT can take care of all your IT infrastructure requirements. We will work with you to implement the right technology so your business can continue performing at its best through remote work.
To help you get started we’ve created a Remote Work Checklist, let us know what you need and our IT technicians can take care of the rest.
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