With all the uncertainty due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) it’s hard to know when your employees might be impacted. As business owners and operators, we need to be sensitive to the needs of our employees while minimizing the impact to our businesses. How do we do that? The best way is to offer your employees work-from-home capabilities.
Does your company have a plan to allow employees to work remotely?
We’ve had an influx of questions from our clients regarding remote access capabilities should they decide they need to work from home. The exact solution for your business depends on many factors. What applications do employees need access to? How do you engage with your customers? Do employees need remote meeting capabilities? Does your phone system need to be accessed remotely? How do your employees collaborate when in the office? And so on.
Depending on your situation, the answers to these questions could mean significant investment and change to your IT environment to replicate how work gets done remotely. In many cases, however, there are remote capabilities that you may already have at your disposal for you to build a work-from-home plan around. As of the writing of this email we are seeing an increase in requests from our clients and we are doing our best to help them, but here are some very useful tips and some things you can attempt to tackle on your own:
- Office 365– https://www.office.com
- Email– Outlook is available on the web through the Office 365 portal.
- Productivity– Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications are available on the web through the Office 365 portal.
- CollaborationMicrosoft Teams – MS Teams is available with Office 365 and can be used to communicate with team members real time as well as share documents, notes or images. Here is a high-level overview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo06YhA7kSs
- Chat/Instant Messaging Features – MS Teams has 1to1 chat and group chat features https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwijAF5AGTg
- Teams Conversation – Here is a video link that shows you how to have Teams Conversations within a Teams channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xUUcMHdgXE
- Teams Voice/Video Calls – You have the ability to place voice and video calls with anyone within your organization as a native function. You can extend this outside the organization, but it will require some additional configuration.
- Remote Access
- Automate / ScreenConnect is installed for managed care clients and users can request access to their machines through a web browser. If you would like to have this feature enabled for certain users, send a request to your Account Manager or Engineering Manager with a list of names.
- VPN – Some of you have VPN implemented for connections to the office from laptops. This gives you the ability to access your office resources remotely. If a connection refresher is needed or to see if you have that capability, please reach out to your Account Manager or Engineering Manager.
- Zoom – https://zoom.us/ Zoom Meetings offers a free Basic plan to host meetings of up to 100 participants. There is a 40-minute limit on group calls, however, 1 to 1 meetings are unlimited. It is arguably the easiest/fewest mouse clicks video conferencing and screen sharing app on the market. It is especially easy when talking to people outside of your organization.
If you need help coming up with a more in-depth remote solution, please contact your Account Manager to discuss your specific needs. Custom solutions require research, planning, investment and time to implement. Although we will do our best to help everyone at this time of uncertainty, please understand that we are limited to time and resources, and project services will be provided on a first come first served basis.
We are here to help. Please engage with your Account Manager or Engineering Manager if there’s anything we can do to better prepare your business for times like these.