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Things You Didn’t Know You Needed Until You Worked from Home…

In what seems to have been the blink of an eye, COVID-19 changed the way we live, interact, shop, eat, and especially how we work. It's been a time of tribulation, but also a time of triumph as people across the world are doing things they didn't even know they could do with technology. While providing business IT services to our surrounding community, we have had an influx of questions come in about what needs to be done to make working remotely a smooth transition. While it may not be seamless (as seems to be true with most any dramatic change in life), we have worked tirelessly to provide options and get people connected in a way that allows them to continue to engage and serve customers.

Our own team has shifted to working remotely, and as we have made this transition, we're thankful that we put time and resources into being prepared. As a technology company, we practice what we preach and work to be proactive instead of reactive. We have years of experiencing getting both ourselves and clients set up to function efficiently and these are just a few of the things we recommend investing time, money, and knowledge in, so you'll be prepared. 

Phone System  

For many industries, your office phone system is crucial to your day-to-day operations and living without this communication could cause some serious interruptions to your business. That's why you should invest in a phone system like RingCentral that will seamlessly integrate with your third-party systems and allow for you to stay connected on the go. Whether you need audio conferencing, business SMS, or a mobile app, you will have just about everything you could need at your desktop and your fingertips. Here are some other awesome features:

  • Employees can use the company phone system to avoid giving out their personal cell phone numbers
  • Both inbound and outbound fax to email service
  • Video conferencing
  • Works from most any internet connection so you can take your desk phones with you
  • No additional, costly phone hardware system needed 

Video Conferencing Services 

Sometimes phone calls just can't replace face-to-face meetings, but that's why we have systems like Zoom, WebEx,Teams, and RingCentral. This allows you to connect with coworkers and clients on a more personal level. Zoom and WebEx are better situated for client-faced calls, whereas Teams and RingCentral are great for internal use. Neither Zoom nor WebEx require much forethought – it just takes downloading an app and creating an account! 

Internet Carrier Speed

Quality connection can make or break a workday, which is why choosing your internet speed is an important decision to make. The bare minimum doesn't cut it when it comes to choosing your internet carrier and speed. You may take into account how many employees typically are working and choose the least expensive option, but this might not benefit you long term. You need to make sure your internet is above average, so employees can perform their tasks whether in office or at home. Click here for a helpful tool that can help you determine the minimum internet speed needed for your home or office! However, keep in mind that faster is better!

Hardware & VPN Setup

In order to operate remotely, you need to have the proper tools. For several of our clients, we have been able to set up remote access through software like ConnectWise Control. However, the ideal option is to have a firewall set up with VPN capabilities. A firewall provides better security for a business in addition to its remote access capabilities. We recommend firewalls to maintain day-to-day operations, not just for pandemics or emergencies.
 

If your budget allows, we also recommend having the resources to provide remote employees with laptops to minimize security concerns. This adds an extra layer of security as you have more control over the functionality and security of the company laptop – we can even help you get the laptops configured properly. 

Files

You need access to your files and resources, even if you're not in the office. Ideally, you want all of your files stored on a server instead of locally. This way, you can remote in and have access to everything you need to do your job. 

Remote Collaboration 

SharePoint and ShareFile are both excellent tools for collaboration with both clients and coworkers. What's the difference you may ask? SharePoint is owned by Microsoft and is great if you need multiple people working on a document or spreadsheet. You just need to share your document with your collaborators and make real-time changes to the document that everyone can see. Check out 10 Things You Can do with SharePoint, Right Now for more tips and tricks. 

ShareFile is also an excellent resource for collaboration. Some industries need to send confidential information to coworkers and clients. ShareFile takes security one extra step as you have to receive the link for the file, and then are asked to sign into the ShareFile to access the document. This integrates with Outlook and Office and is perfect for those who rely on internal and client information staying confidential. ShareFile also allows you to have a branded portal that your clients can use. This makes you look more professional and provides easier access to files versus sending emails back and forth.

HR 

Many businesses have had to completely change their model within a matter of days in order to stay afloat during this pandemic. We understand that you might have to make some hard business decisions now and in the future. Do you need help

  • Implementing equipment check out procedures?
  • Enforcing time tracking?
  • Navigating other COVID-19 related concerns? 

Do you need an HR director to help you navigate through this time? Call our friends at Stellaris Group to get started! 

We're Here for You! 

We're all in this together, and we want to make sure you have all the necessary systems in place to enable you to work from home most efficiently both now and in the future. There's no harm in being prepared!

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