Remote working & Telecommuting are increasing trends in America. Upwards of 54% of workers are already doing it. Preparing to work from home is essential to make the transition a smooth one. Once you have prepared your workspace, then you can select a remote access solution.
With concerns about COVID19 and the spread of other infectious diseases, more Americans than ever are being asked or required to work from home. If your business has not planned for this possibility, now is the time to start.
Prepare your Workspace
Many people naturally look towards IT first when thinking about remote access solutions. However, we would advise you consider your personal workspace before anything else. Where you will be able to work will impact what technology you need to support your efforts.
Who else is working remotely? Do you have their contact information? Consider that you may not have your desktop phone at home. As such, you might not have the same contact capabilities that you are used to. Preparing to Work from Home includes getting the master phone list or updating your email contacts with critical contact information.
Do you have a personal computer that is dedicated to working? You should. Whether it is your own or provided by your employer, it should be dedicated to work. Sharing a computer with multiple people in the household is not usually productive. Preparing to Work from Home includes planning what technology you will use.
Is your home computer up to date?
- If it is Windows 7 (big security risk) then NO
- Is it more than 4 years old (risk of failure), then the answer is no. Replace it.
- Does it have commercial antivirus? If not, most Internet providers will give you one for free (i.e. Comcast/Xfinity) so install it now!
- Are all the security updates done? Mac or Windows, they still need to be fully up to date or your machine is at risk.
Tablets are a great way to consume content or for quick look-ups but they have many limitations and often will not work well for extended work sessions. Most people need a traditional computer of some kind. Work with your IT Professional to select the correct solution for your needs.
Other critical technology you will need to consider:
- What will you do for phone calls? Can you bring your work phone home or not? Your IT Professional can advise
- Will you need to print? Do you have a printer?
- Do you have collaboration software (such as Microsoft Teams) to allow easy information sharing with the office?
- Video calls (Web calls) are common, do you have a quality web camera?
PRO TIP: If you have a web call, test it first. Make sure that your workspace “behind” you looks professional. You don’t want to be “that person” where drying laundry can be seen in the background!
Do you have a dedicated space at home to work or do you bring a laptop or a tablet around the house? A fixed location is optimal as it allows you to sit down and get to work just like you would if you came into the office. You have everything you need – phone, chargers, printer, and maybe even a door that you can close to block out the noise of the typical home when needed.
If you do not have a fixed location, could you convert one? That is ideal.
If not, start thinking about which locations you can work from that have the minimum number of distractions.
In most situations, getting ready for and reporting to work on a standard schedule is best. Just because you are at home does not mean you can work LESS time or LESS effort, that is a way to lose your job. Instead dress for work and report for work like any other day, just enjoy the skipped commute!
This can be a challenge especially if you have others in the household who are not working (or not at school) so make sure EVERYONE knows your work schedule is critical when Preparing to Work from Home.
Start when you normally would start, take lunch on the same schedule, and end work at the same time.
Selecting a Remote Access solution is a critical topic we have covered in other blogs.
The remote access solution that suits one company may not work as well for your business. You cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to building a reliable remote access system that helps your company exceed its goals. Talking with an experienced remote access technology provider is key.
NOTE: Most remote solutions are NOT setup for fast scaling up of many workers and will fail.
PCS International: Your Remote Access Team
Let us help you navigate the Remote Access Landscape.
Contact PCS International to learn more about remote access and how a virtual CIO could help you save money and grow your business by making the smart choice the first time.