The Covid-19 pandemic proved that many people can work remotely effectively. In fact, now that workplaces have invited employees back, many have opted to continue working from home, part or all of the time. The flexibility to avoid traffic is pretty compelling. So long as we have access to the files and applications we need, immediately, we can often finish our work ahead of time. With modern collaboration tools, we can schedule Teams and Zoom meetings and benefit from audio visual interaction with our coworkers. Chat sessions give us answers to simple questions instantly.
By now, most of us have gathered the tools we need to work remotely, effectively. Here’s a list we developed in the early days of pandemic quarantines. We believe it still holds true.
Employees need a solid computing platform at home to run the applications they rely on for business; even cloud-based software needs local computing resources. Using a portable device means they can work from anywhere. You can make sure they have ample local computing power with a state of the art laptop, or provide a less powerful platform and push more of the computing load to the cloud. Azure Virtual Desktop is a popular choice for effective remote work.
2. Soft Phone and/or Mobile Phone
Many businesses are finding that phones with handsets are no longer needed. Using a Unified Communications system with Voice over IP (VoIP) like 3CX turns you laptop or other mobile device into an office phone, complete with your office phone number. Some people prefer to use their personal cell phone as their office phone. Security technology exists to make this safe and practical.
Again, maybe obvious, but today you need a solid home Wi-Fi solution to keep all computers and phones connected. Spotty connections not only frustrate users, they diminish productivity. Make sure your Wi-Fi router is up to the challenge of handling your many Wi-Fi enabled devices.
4. Security (VPN, Firewall and so much more)
At home, we typically didn’t have the firewalls and other advanced protections an IT team deploys at an office. The mass movement to working from home was a field day for cyber criminals; since the start of the pandemic, cybercrime has increased by 600%. Over time, IT departments have ramped up multi-layered security measures for remote users. You should always use a VPN whenever connecting back to the office. That creates an encrypted path for sensitive data. Take advantage of other security measures your IT department offers, like multi-factor authentication, email filtering, and security awareness training. Learn to spot phishing emails and social engineering scams. We all have a role to play, wherever we office.
5. Multiple Internet Connections
If connectivity is essential for getting your work done, don’t scrimp on it. Get more than one internet connection and leverage an automatic failover device (like Ecessa) to ensure you are always connected. That way, if your Xfinity connection drops for an hour or two or even days, you can still connect via your CenturyLink or Tmobile connection. These devices eliminate the hassle of internet outages – seamlessly. And if you have other people at home working or streaming things, you can take full advantage of all the bandwidth being offered by both services. You can never have too much bandwidth.
6. Battery Backup
Natural disasters like hurricanes and blizzards tend to knock out power at the most inconvenient times. You can get a basic APC battery backup from Amazon or Best Buy to keep your critical equipment running regardless of weather events or power company maintenance. The Internet keeps running if your ISP router is on this battery backup.
Whether your jam is coffee, cola or energy drinks, some days you need a boost at home just like you do at the office. Stay stocked!
While pandemic quarantines are (fingers crossed) a thing of the past, there are still days when it’s more practical to work from home. Having the tools you need in your home office can get your through blizzards, sick kids, and other things that keep you remote. The key to success is preparedness. We are happy to help you work remotely, effectively.