Mar 19, 2020 / By Sofia Jackob

An IT Checklist to Help Businesses Fully Prepare for Remote Work Options

Remote work is trending all over the world. According to Regus Canada's research, 39% of Canadians work mostly from home. With the latest technologies simplifying remote communications, these numbers are likely to grow.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic is making remote work more and more appealing. There's a high chance that you have seen or will see rising demands in transitioning to a remote work environment from companies, as many of them are suffering revenue loss, botched deadlines, unhappy customers, lost growth possibility, and much more. It is now your responsibility and opportunity to help businesses take proactive measures to keep them operating seamlessly without downtime.

Letting employees work remotely is not simple. Businesses, therefore, need your expertise to implement crucial tools to allow for a smooth transition now that remote work is becoming increasingly necessary.

1. Implementing a Hosted VoIP Solution for Communications:

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a must-have tool for telecommuting. For those B2B clients and prospects that are still in the process of evaluating hosted VoIP communications, the COVID-19 pandemic will provide incentive to accelerate the process.

Hosted VoIP solutions from companies like Callture use the Internet to transmit a variety of data, including phone calls, videos, photos, and other files, making it possible for employees to connect with the central office systems and processes in real-time regardless of their location. The ability to communicate clearly at any time allows remote employees to avoid miscommunication and delays in work.

VoIP allows for instantaneous communication. These systems are flexible, so your B2B clients can expand during a state of emergency and downsize once the virus is under control.

Besides facilitating remote work, VoIP can help businesses cut communication costs, increase flexibility, and take advantage of numerous features for teams of all sizes.

2. Using Cloud Communications:

With 94% of enterprises using the cloud one way or another, your B2B clients and prospects are likely to be taking advantage of it as well. Today, you may want to offer them cloud communications options if they are not already doing so.

The most important advantage of using cloud communications is cutting costs on expensive on-site equipment. You can also show businesses how to take advantage of features such as call forwarding, call screening, and auto-attendant without purchasing new hardware.

Cloud communications allow teams to stay in touch regardless of their location or devices they are using. They can shrink large workspaces encompassing phones, desktop computers, and fax machines down to just the size of a smartphone.

Even if your clients already have the entire infrastructure in their office, maintaining it can be costly. Invest in software instead of hardware, as there can be a much better ROI.

3. Setting up a VPN:

The toughest part of remote communications is maintaining an adequate level of security. That's why it's essential to set up a virtual private network (VPN) for your clients. VPNs create a private network from a public internet connection, masking their IP address and making online actions almost impossible to trace.

VPNs establishe secure and encrypted connections to provide greater communication privacy.

Setting up a VPN can improve the security of remote communications. It doesn't matter whether employees are in or out of the office; any information they exchange can be protected. Since companies don't know the security levels of their staff's Internet at home, VPN is a must-have.

4. Checking Internet Connection:

When it comes to remote communication, all the tools in the world are useless if you don’t have a high-speed Internet connection. If businesses are planning to allow some employees to work from home, you can recommend that your clients assess their staff's internet speed and quality.

They could find that neither are sufficient. Depending on the volume of work, for VoIP to function, there needs to be a specific bandwidth.

Next-generation solutions like SD-WAN deliver high bandwidth connectivity and QoS (quality of service). So, no matter where employees are working, they can enjoy high-quality, stable connectivity.

You can also suggest that your clients consider investing in mobile hot spots and associated data plans to ensure the fast cloud communication abilities of their remote employees.

5. Remote Work Policy:

Since remote communication can raise a variety of security issues, a remote work policy is high on the agenda. The policy should define cybersecurity practices as clearly as possible. We suggest that you instruct your clients and prospects to implement precise protocols for accessing, changing, or transferring sensitive documents.

They should also think about whether or not to allow public Wi-Fi connections for remote communications. Remote working policy documents must mandate antivirus and other security software that are essential for remote employees' computers.

Additionally, all employees must be aware of the necessary steps to take if they believe that information has been compromised.

A remote work policy can also include communication schedules to ensure smooth collaboration and that deadlines are met.

6. Assessing BYOD Strategy:

Benefits of a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategy include cutting costs, adding flexibility, and boosting productivity. However, when employees use personal devices to access information and communicate, security issues can arise.

Whether some of your clients' staff are already working from personal devices or they are just considering implementing a BYOD policy, it's time to assess the hardware. Are personal computers updated? Do they have sufficient protection? Are they capable of supporting remote communications?

You can recommend businesses to rent or buy proper equipment for employees who plan to work from home.

7. Investing in Remote Communications Tools:

To ensure a smooth transition to working from home or on the go, companies may want to reassess their remote communication tools. Consider Slack, Microsoft Teams, Workplace by Facebook, Zoom, Skype, or Unified Communications features in Callture's Business Phone Solution that are customizable for businesses across industries.

While the majority of such tools have a simple interface, it can still take some time getting used to. That's why it is important to invest time to help employees understand and mangage the software. These programs don't just improve remote work, but they can help organize everyday office tasks as well.

Augmented and virtual reality is on trend, and depending on your clients’ budgets, you may want to keep an eye on the solutions that would work best for them when they’re ready to jump on board.

8. Preparing Managers:

The success of remote work depends on how well managers and team leaders are prepared for the transition. Let your clients know that it’s important to invest in training managers to help facilitate remote operation. As an employer, they need to provide the right tools and ample time for the transition.

Make sure team leaders understand the importance of maintaining company culture. Remote work environments may take some compromise and creativity, but they’re doable. Regular video conferencing, a reward system, and a place for employees to interact remotely (a Slack channel or a WhatsApp group) are just a few tools to help simplify the transition and boost productivity.

 

Remote Work Is an Essential Part of Every Organization's Emergency Preparedness Plan

With globalization, the threat of viruses and pandemics is a stark reality.

Viruses like COVID-19 could be impacting the Canadian workforce and commercial sector, but this pandemic is an eye-opener for businesses across the country. Companies are now proactively taking corrective measures towards implementing remote work strategies to stay afloat in such emergencies.

As a managed service provider and confidant technology consultant, you can help turn the COVID tragedy around by supporting businesses in taking proactive steps in arranging remote work environments for employees and enabling them to keep their business running, manage their bottom line, and to help keep their community safe.

For more information about remote work solutions, please contact us for a free consultation today.

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