With the current state of emergency and threat of COVID-19, many companies have not had the opportunity to contemplate how to fully enable a remote workforce. From access to email and technical applications to managing the security risk of personal computers and mobile devices, there are many considerations when beginning to work from home. Not only do remote employees need access to do their work, they will need the tools to effectively serve clients and continue business operations.
Working From Home: A New Paradigm
This shift to working from home is a new paradigm and many employees may never return to the office. Staff will expect that they can be as productive outside the office as sitting at their desks with minimal retraining on how to do their work in this new environment. They will need access to their data, applications and files to continue to perform seamlessly. This shift in a remote workforce may be new for many supervisors and managers who are accustomed to regular face-to-face interaction with their teams.
Is Your Business Ready for a Remote Workforce?
How would your business function if no one could physically be in the office? While your organization may currently have some remote work capability, could your infrastructure handle everyone working remotely for an extended period of time? Do you have enough bandwidth? What about employees who have a slower speed internet connection where they live? How efficiently will they be able to work from home? Does your company have videoconferencing capabilities to easily continue to meet face-to-face as a team or with prospects and clients?
Here are some important considerations for every business to be prepared for a remote workforce:
For those companies with some on-premises infrastructure, do you have a VPN or some other secure method of accessing company applications or servers? Many organizations use VPN for secure access when their WiFi connection may be public or if they need to access tools not in the cloud. (If this doesn’t mean anything to you, we’re ready to help.)
Personal Device Policy
What policies do you have in place for employees using their own computers and mobile devices? Are there appropriate security safeguards in place? Human error is often the greatest security risk for companies. Working remotely with unencrypted devices could potentially create a security risk and data breach of sensitive information.
Organizations have a variety of connectivity methods in the office from accessing directly to a network server to WiFi for cloud applications. If every employee in your company works remotely, the number of users may put constraints on your infrastructure. It is a good idea to test this your system with a “practice” remote work day where everyone is intentionally scheduled to work out of the office and perform their daily work. Evaluating the productivity and system constraints during a planned practice will be invaluable under any circumstance you may need to work entirely remotely.
Video Conferencing and Screen Sharing
There are many options for working collaboratively for teams when they are out of the office including screen sharing tools to work on a document or project together. Video conferencing can be effective for a client meeting or small group collaboration. These tools are relatively inexpensive to implement. Both Google and Microsoft are offering businesses six months of free services for team collaboration in light of the COVID-19 guidance for a remote workforce.
With all of your employees working remotely, your corporate network is now being extended out to coffee shops and your employees’ homes. Security matters and business must consider how to enable productivity while managing the risks.
Preparing Your Business for a Remote Workforce
At Aldrich, we have a robust continuity plan in place and our hundreds of employees will continue to provide a seamless experience for our clients. We are well equipped to work remotely through the use of technology and a variety of tools for client meetings and communications.
If your organization has questions about how to enable a remote work force, needs help implementing a plan or creating a video conferencing platform, the Aldrich Technology team of networking and infrastructure professionals is available as a resource.
Meet the Author
Vice President, Business Strategy
Aldrich Technology LLC
Peter Adams leads business strategy for Aldrich Technology. Prior to Aldrich, Peter founded and ran Lighthouse Information Systems, a West Coast technology consultancy focused on leading clients through technological and operational challenges in order to promote growth and facilitate successful systems. While running Lighthouse for more than 35 years, Peter served clients across countless industries,... Read more Peter Adams
- ERP selection and implementation
- Operations and process analysis
- Technology as a strategic asset
- Business assessments