Workforces Going Remote Now! What & How To Do It

Wow!  The impact of COVID-19 is making it harder for business owners to stay open or extremely challenging to run effeciently. If you’re following the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), and your local governments; you’ve switched to a remote-based operation. Many businesses are trying to figure out how to go remote. Here are a few items to consider to prepare for a smooth transition.

Equipment for Staff to Work at Home

Not many businesses have an arsenal of extra laptops, desktops, monitors, and other tech equipment sitting on a shelf in case of an emergency. Owners are finding many of their staff no longer own computers, and have shifted to tablets and phones, or their computer is used by the family, so not secure enough. 

Determine who has a home computer they can use for work purposes. What operating system is their home PC running? Is it a Windows or Apple computer? Do they need two monitors to maintain productivity at home?  Stores like Staples are creating “work from home” packages that include ergonomic keyboards, mouse and other workstation tech equipment. Make sure to complete your research before making purchases and price compare other options.

How much in-office equipment can be transferred to your employees’ home? In many cases, allowing staff to take their work system home, in its entirety, is the simple solution.  Consider drafting an Equipment Checkout Agreement for the staff and supervisor to sign, maintaining record of the company equipment leaving the building.

VPN & Remote Capabilities

A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Applications running on a computing device, e.g., a laptop, desktop, smartphone, across a VPN may therefore benefit from the functionality, security, and management of the private network. Encryption is a common, though not an inherent, part of a VPN connection. VPN technology was developed to allow remote users and branch offices to access corporate applications and resources.

For Windows based users, setting up VPN access can be pivotal to continued productivity. The decision to go remote is being made quickly and difficult for staff to think of what will be needed to work from home over the next weeks or months.  Transfer your files to your cloud solution if you have access from your home, or transfer to a secure Google Drive or similar method. Make sure your password key chain is accessible from your browser at home, or have the necessary access in the event you need to change passwords in order to regain access. 

CopperTree Solutions can set up your network to allow VPN access. You’ll need to determine the number of ports first. Setting up 50 ports on your network because there are 50 employees that need to work from home now might not have enough bandwidth to support those 50 simultaneous users. Instead, consider setting up a limited access to a group of employees who can fetch what the rest of the team needs, as it arises. S & P Global has dived deeper into the limitation of VPNs being exposed due to the coronavirus outbreak.  Creating a continuous flow of access to the network while the staff works from home is pivotal to work flow production. 

Software Access

If you’re only using web-based programs, your business is set up for a smooth transition to a virtual operation. If your business relies on installed software for vital functionality, complications are more likely to arise with a transition outside the office. Business owners should look to the setup and configuration of their software: servers, IPs and network configuration. 

There are issues that will arise after transitioning to a remote operation on short notice.  However, a smooth transition starts with equipment, access to data, and software. If your company needs assistance with your home workstation transition, contact us and we will gladly assist.

Setting up a Home Office for Employees to Work Remotely

Internet Service 

Your employees home internet service may need to be bumped up for capacity and speed based on what they will be doing.

Dedicated Work Space

Its important to make sure you have one quiet place that is considered to be your workspace. It doesn’t have to be an entire room, just don’t confuse your office with your leisure space.

Make Your Space Personal

Experts recommend plants and natural sunlight to enhance your space.

It’s A Mental Shift

Employees often feel the sudden distance or loss of seeing their fellow workers.  It is beneficial to ensure they feel connected through one another.  Perhaps at the beginning of each day connect with a group video or audio call.  This ensures everyone is at their desks to start the day and are briefed with expectations and some positive messaging and updates for the day.

Software & Apps That May Assist

Video conferencing software: GoToMeetings, RingCentral, Join me

Live chat software: Teams, Skype for Business

Proper equipment: Personal computer, headset, telephone, webcam

Help is just a phone call away.  At CopperTree Solutions we can help you navigate and execute the above, or get you started with IT planning items to consider and how IT Services can assist.

CopperTree Solutions serves clients both large and small, in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Stratford, and around South Western Ontario.

Call 519-804-2461 or Colin.Shantz@ctsol.ca

I want to get started on an IT solution for my business!