Many businesses are looking for ways to enable their staff to work from home amid the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This article gives some tips on how happier IT is helping our clients use technology to enable their employees to work efficiently from home.
Replace In-Person Meetings with Virtual Meetings
One of the biggest mental challenges we hear businesses struggling with is how to replace their regular face-to-face meetings. As your workforce moves to be at home, it’s essential to replace in-person meetings with equally effective virtual meetings. There are several tools available depending on the number of people you want in your virtual meetings and the other tools you use today. Video can play an important role in ensuring your meetings are highly effective. Video keeps people more engaged, allows participants to read each other’s body language, much like an in-person meeting, and it introduces an implied feeling of supervision, ensuring participants remain focused on the meeting.
For small ad-hoc meetings, our preference is to use your instant messaging platform (typically Slack or Microsoft Teams). For larger or more formal meetings a proper video conferencing solution like Microsoft Teams, Lifesize, GoToMeeting or Zoom.
Improve Communication Between Your Team Members Working Remotely
Being in the office is great because it’s simple to turn to your neighbor and ask a question. When employees work from home, it’s often difficult to replace this fast, informal communication.
This is where instant-messaging comes in. Instant messaging today combines different communication mediums – text, voice, video, screen-sharing, file transfer, etc. as well as multiple ongoing channels/conversations. We are always surprised that Instant Messaging isn’t used more in business.
The two main products that fill this niche today are Slack and Microsoft Teams. Slack was the original and took the world by storm. Microsoft Teams has been steadily catching up in terms of features and functionality. If your business uses Microsoft Office 365 today, Microsoft Teams will likely be the best choice for you as there is a good chance that Microsoft Teams is included in your subscription.
Replace Traditional Office Phones with a Cloud-Based Phone System
Traditionally office phones haven’t been able to work from home because they were physically wired to a phone system and phone number located at a specific place of business. When employees work from home, often their office phone needs to be forwarded to their mobile phone, or they simply check regularly for voicemails.
Cloud Phone Systems are hosted entirely in the cloud. Phones can be physical handsets or software used with a headset or speakerphone. This enables your staff to work with their Office phone in the office, at home or on the road. Additionally, most Cloud Phone Systems include virtually all features in their price, including most long-distance, which often results in cost savings.
Provide Securely Access to Employee’s Work Computers from Home
One of the biggest information security challenges working from home can introduce is the use of personally-owned computers on insecure networks. Once data is accessible on an employee’s personal computer, it is at greater risk of virus, ransomware and data theft. Likewise, once a link between an insecure personal device/network is made to the corporate network, a hole is created in the corporate network’s security.
For these reasons, many businesses are opting to use technologies that enable staff to work on their office computers from home. This ensures all data stays within the corporate network, and security is controlled. Depending on your specific requirements, there are a broad range of technologies and solutions available.
Talk to an Expert
If you’re already a happier IT client an interested in learning more about any of these solutions, please reach out to your happier IT representative or email [email protected].
If you’re not yet a happier IT client, but you are interested in becoming one, please contact [email protected].