With the COVID-19 outbreak forcing people to stay home, many businesses suddenly have to support an entirely remote workforce.
Companies like Google and Microsoft are mandating that employees work from home. For many modern tech companies, the infrastructure and policy needed to work remotely are already in place and the vast majority of their staff are already using their own devices.
Even if your business is not tech-related, you can still implement a remote work policy. Here are some tips on how your business can transition to a secure and productive remote working setup:
Commit to Organizational Transitions
At the organizational level, the shift to remote working requires clarity and decisiveness from management. Given the complex and rapidly changing situation with the Coronavirus pandemic, overestimating the tradeoffs and short-term costs could cost jobs. It requires you to identify assets critical to your operations and processes.
Once a decision has been made, make sure to fully commit. For example, you’ll need to invest in technologies and solutions such as collaboration tools, project management platforms, time management apps, that are reliable, scalable, and flexible.
Establish Necessary Equipment
Your remote team needs the proper devices and tools to work efficiently and stay in touch. Make sure each team member has the following:
- Desktop computer or laptop
- Webcam (if the devices don’t come with it)
- Telephone headset for calls or video conferencing
- Communication software or applications (i.e. Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Google Docs, Slack, etc.)
- Security software (including apps for personal devices)
Implement Proper Infrastructure
Employees must have internet connections that meet certain standards. Your remote staff should be aware of your technical requirements upfront and have the following in their remote work setup:
- Enough bandwidth at home to handle and manage traffic that’s critical to their tasks
- Cloud computing applications that don’t require connecting to the company network
- Backup and recovery software to protect and maintain data and operations during downtime
You may have to make tweaks to this list according to your business needs, and conditions that impact both your company and your team. For instance, you may need to relax your internet connection requirements for some employees who live in areas that have poor coverage or subpar internet service providers.
Have Security Solutions in Place
During the transition period, your company could be more susceptible to data and security risks as hackers are on the lookout for vulnerable targets. Your remote workforce must be extremely cautious when connecting to home and public networks. To mitigate security risks, try these tips:
- Use a zero-trust security approach. This means that you do not automatically trust anything inside or outside your network. Those who wish to access your data must first take proper verification steps before being granted access to systems and applications.
- Provide a business-grade virtual private network (VPN) and remote desktop protocol (RDP) that includes sufficient licenses for all remote employees.
- Implement a company-wide security policy that requires employees to use strong, unique passwords, and multifactor authentication (MFA).
- Train and educate your employees on security best practices, COVID-19 themed phishing threats and other social engineering scams.
Keep Communication Lines Open
As our work-life boundaries blur, we can’t help but feel anxious about expectations, revenue goals, and other deliverables. While you’re transitioning, make your employees feel that you empathize with them by communicating what’s happening at the organizational level:
- Be available to everyone equally as often as you can. Aim for inclusion and balance airtime during meetings so each team member feels seen and heard.
- Allow your employees to figure out their own remote work routine
- Open all lines of communication to make sure that your staff can talk to you about concerns regarding work, their health status, and their domestic situation.
The transition to a work from home setup will be gradual. Big adjustments and changes will be necessary for both your infrastructure and culture. This can be done with the help of an experienced and trusted MSP like Charles IT. We’re here for you if you need help adapting to the current circumstances. Drop us a line so we can help you keep your business thriving, remotely!