Supporting Remote Work During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Are your team members struggling to gain access to critical business applications or data from home? See how to create a secure and reliable structure for long-term remote work.  

Widespread travel bans and recommendations that staff members work from home whenever possible are not how most Australians expected to end the first quarter of the year. While Gartner notes that more than 70% of individuals feel comfortable working from home, it’s a safe bet that no one expected to be doing so full-time for a period of several months. Managing this remote workflow can be a challenge for organizations of all sizes, as noted by Shuey Shujab, CEO of Sydney-based marketing agency Whitehat Agency: “It’s vital we keep up our productivity levels and make sure we get through this incredibly difficult time. I hope that by implementing these measures Whitehat Agency will survive, and even thrive, during this unprecedented global crisis”. Helping teams stay connected, motivated and productive is what will help companies survive this storm and prepare for the wealth of opportunities in the future.

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Preparing IT Solutions for Protracted Remote Work

It’s not terribly difficult to create a short-term fix for individuals that need to work from home for a short period of time. When you consider that your entire staff — or most of it — will need to work remotely for weeks on end, there are some additional considerations required to ensure your systems stay secure and working fluidly during this difficult time. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way we do business in a period of a few weeks, creating a stressful and confusing situation for staff members and an unexpected load on technical professionals. When you have the right solutions in place, IT teams are able to provide secure and reliable support for employees that are unable to work from the office. Here are a few considerations as you’re preparing for or living into a remote work scenario:

  • Which employees will need to be equipped to work remotely? Not all positions are conducive to remote work, even in extreme conditions.
  • Do these individuals already have access to the correct technology tools and network access to work remotely? If not, what will be needed to supplement their work?
  • If you are relying on employees to use their own devices and equipment, what type of additional security measures will you take to protect your business network and data?
  • Is your network infrastructure robust enough to support a surge in remote workers?
  • Do you have the correct licensing in place to provide software to individuals that are working remotely?
  • Have you invested in robust firewalls, anti-malware and antivirus software that allows employees to securely access necessary business applications and sensitive data?
  • Are there particular files or services that should be restricted from remote access by all staff members or by certain groups?
  • Do you have the collaboration tools in place to allow remote meetings, such as Microsoft Teams or other video and audio communication platforms to replace in-person meetings?
  • Will your current phone system support remote workers, or do you need to invest in a cloud-based alternative such as VoIP phones to provide anytime, anywhere to staff?

In a perfect world, you would have time to review each of these scenarios and questions before making a decision to allow remote work. As teams are scrambling to mobilize remote staff for productivity, it’s still important to consider these questions to ensure you are providing a reliable and secure solution for remote workers.

Maintaining Collaboration in a Remote Access World

Staying connected with internal staff members and clients is vital, particularly in a time that is rife with confusion and misinformation. Your customers need to know that they can trust your organization to continue providing the best possible service, even during a major upheaval such as that caused by the coronavirus crisis. Fortunately, there is a range of collaboration and communication tools available to companies that provide easy remote access to critical business systems, data and communication tools with Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Azure and more. When you combine the power of cloud computing with these secure software solutions, it becomes more realistic to consider that remote work can be a longer-term solution to support social distancing.

While face-to-face interaction is extremely beneficial for staff members, there is a range of videoconferencing solutions that can help fill the gap. Whether you’re looking for full-service support for your remote staff members or simply need stop-gap assistance as you’re bringing teams up to speed, contact the professionals at Sydney Technology Solutions at (02) 8212 4722 to schedule your complimentary initial consultation. As Sydney’s #1 IT support consultants, we are helping organizations of all sizes find the right balance between security and ease of use for staff members that are working remotely through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.