5 Steps to Effectively Transition Your Business to a Remote Workforce During COVID-19

Many Rhode Island businesses, along with those in the rest of the country, are contemplating their remote working options or have already implemented a "work from home" directive. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed life as we know it and created a lot of uncertainty about the weeks to come. In the meantime, companies have been altering their operations by instituting telecommuting to help their team socially distance to keep everyone safe. Cloud services have made it easier for employees to access their work from anywhere, but not all offices are 100% cloud based. Having files and needed software located on on-premises servers and individual workstations makes a fast transition to a remote workforce tricky. Another concern is that due to the need to quickly send employees home to work, businesses may not have all their "ducks in a row" when it comes to the transition. Critical items left unchecked like remote connection security and device/app compatibility could end up causing major issues when employees begin working from home. But with the right IT partner and guidance, you can ensure a smooth transition even if it has to be done within a few days. Onsite Techs of Rhode Island has been helping local businesses with remote changeover support to mitigate any problems when moving their office operations to a virtual environment. We’ve put together some key steps to take to help with a smooth transition.

Use an Ordered Strategy for a Remote Work Transition

There are multiple moving parts to an office technology infrastructure. It includes software, cloud applications, computers and other hardware, servers, and network security protections, like firewalls or antivirus programs. While you can’t just pick up that infrastructure and move it to every employee’s home, you can create flexibility. With a flexible IT strategy, you’re able to utilize a cloud infrastructure to work just as well remotely and minimize any business disruptions or downtime. The average cost of IT downtime to businesses is $5,600 per minute. Here are some comprehensive steps to take to smoothly switch over your employees to working at home and keep your business running effectively. Keep in mind that Onsite Tech of Rhode Island is more than happy to assist you with the process to make it as easy for you as possible.

Evaluate Your Digital File Assets & How They’re Accessed

In the course of business, your employees access multiple files. They might need a product handbook PDF to email to a customer or a reporting spreadsheet that they update daily with data. Look at how these digital file assets are accessed now so you can ensure access once employees are working remotely. Considerations include:

  • Are all files contained in a cloud storage platform?
  • Do some files reside on a physical server or workstation?
  • How can employees continue to access & update the files they need?

Moving all files to a cloud storage platform, such as OneDrive or Dropbox, can both allow access remotely and ensure all files generated by remote workers are being stored securely.

Review Your Business Apps/Software

Are you using software that is hosted on a local server or individual computers? If some of your applications aren’t cloud-based, they won’t be accessible to employees working remotely unless you make allowances. Some options to allow remote access quickly to non-cloud software include:

  • Using remote access software (i.e. TeamViewer or LogMeIn Pro)
  • Migrate to Windows Virtual Desktops (makes non-cloud software accessible virtually)
  • Have employees take their workstations home (this won’t work if your software is housed on a central server though)

Evaluate Staff Computers

You can skip this step if you are allowing your employees to take their work computers home while working remotely. But, if employees are expected to use their personal desktops or laptops to telecommute, you’ll need to ensure they’re up to the task. You don’t want to find out when someone it trying to connect to a virtual video conference, that their computer isn’t powerful enough to handle your conferencing software. Make sure employee computers have the memory, processing power, and capabilities to handle the employee’s day-to-day business tasks and the applications they require.

Secure Remote Worker Connections

Security is a big concern when you have workers accessing company data from multiple home networks. Some may also be connecting via a free hotspot that’s unsecure. One of the easiest ways to do this for all employees is to have them connect through a virtual private network (VPN). Other cybersecurity concerns include whether the computers being used are updated regularly with software patches and whether they have a strong antivirus/anti-malware application installed and activated.

Don’t Forget Tech Support

Ensuring your workers have the technology support they need is critical when they’re working remotely. They may be dealing with installing work apps on their personal devices and running into issues. They may also worry about a virus and not know who to turn to since they’re working at home. We offer remote tech support services that can fix many common issues with no in-person visit required. Our professional technicians simply use a secure connection to log in to a computer and it’s just like we’re at the keyboard. Here are a few of the many items that we can address via remote support:

  • Virus/malware removal
  • Preventative maintenance
  • Microsoft Office issues
  • Driver issues/updates
  • Registry issues
  • Blue screen errors
  • Software issues
  • PC optimization/tune-ups
  • Recover deleted files
  • Email problems/email setup
  • File backup and recovery

Get Help with an Efficient Remote Work Transition

Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can take the stress out of implementing a companywide remote work transition. We’ll ensure your team has what they need to work effectively and that your network and data are protected. Contact us today to set up a consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.