One of the most popular measures that companies are taking to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is allowing for (or mandating) that their staff work from home (WFH). While the flexibility and efficiency that can result is often a significant benefit for employees and employers alike, this transition can be challenging if your business hasn’t prepared for such a contingency. Organizations that have thought through and documented a business continuity plan are now seeing the fruits of their labor. Others who are less prepared may be feeling some friction as they try to adopt this new approach under hurried circumstances. Here are a few ideas that can help companies and their teams survive and thrive in a distributed workforce model.
- The first factor that companies should take into account is that people are used to, and in most cases prefer, being in a social environment. WFH is convenient, but it can be isolating, especially for long stretches. Providing employees with video conferencing capabilities can significantly improve their remote-work experience and help boost productivity. Using tools like Zoom (or MS Teams, BlueJeans, etc.) allows employees to feel connected, even if they can’t be with a team live. These solutions can also allow workers to continue to interface with clients in the same manner to help maintain rapport.
- Create defined communication protocols so that people know when and from whom information will arrive, and over what medium. Regularly communicating with the remote team helps everyone feel connected and part of a unified experience. Even updates just to say “We’re still monitoring the situation . . . ” can help.
- Ensure that employees have the right tools to access information and that these tools are scaled to accommodate everyone’s usage. Some examples:
- If you are still using on-prem file services, do you have enough VPN licenses to accommodate all workers?
- Do you have enough upstream bandwidth to allow users to access the data they need? This is especially important as many organizations have asymmetric bandwidth that is considerably faster for downloads than uploads (e.g. 100Mbps down, 25Mbps up). When everyone is outside of the office, the needs are reversed and this can become a bottleneck.
- If you are using a VDI platform, do you have enough compute power to support your entire team at once? Do you have enough licenses for the number of simultaneous connections that you’ll need?
- Do users have the required hardware at home to be productive for extended periods of time? If not, it may make sense to allow them to take items from the office such as extra monitors, docking stations, etc.
- If you don’t work remotely on a regular basis, changing your entire workflow to accommodate this shift can be challenging. The first item to note is that your internet connection is your gateway to the world!
- If you have a low-bandwidth connection (less than 50Mbps) consider upgrading. Your ability to access data will be greatly improved, and you’ll have better experience when using services that aren’t related to work, such as Netflix.
- If it’s been several years since your service was installed, it may be time to request a new router or modem from your Internet service provider. This aging hardware may become a bottleneck to enhanced bandwidth and faster WiFi or may have reliability issues that will negatively impact your productivity.
- Wireless is convenient, but a wired connection will likely be more reliable for data-intensive applications like voice and video. If you can’t get a wired connection to the area where your computer is located, try to work somewhere that has good wireless coverage. You may even consider getting a wireless repeater to bolster the signal strength in places like a basement office (or a rooftop deck if you’re lucky).
- Everything that’s happening on your home network will impact performance. This is especially true on wireless networks. If you are trying to conduct a video conference while downloading a large file and streaming video content, you may see quality issues. Try to minimize usage to only what is necessary at a given time.
- If you have others in your home that are also working remotely, the items listed above are more important as these issues can compound quickly when your home internet is being overworked. Try to coordinate with other family members to ensure that everyone isn’t on a video call and streaming Spotify at the same time.
While it’s rarely convenient to work through a crisis situation, knowing that you have the professionals at Coretelligent working for your company can help alleviate many of your concerns. If you have questions about how to securely configure remote work solutions for your company or the impact of cloud versus on-premise storage for remote workers, contact the experts at Coretelligent at 855-841-5888 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.