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Remote By Mandate: Are You Prepared to Shift Operations if Disaster Strikes?

The year 2020 has thrown all it can at us, particularly when you consider the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, civil unrest, and hurricanes and tropical storms. What do these events have in common? All represent risks to our normal business operations – underscoring the importance of having a strategy to move operations remote should conditions dictate.

For many companies, that is easier said than done. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey taken just prior to the pandemic, only  28.8% of American employees were able to routinely work from home. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic changed that.

Given all of the global threats that we simply can’t control, businesses need to consider how to shift their operations from on-premise to remote at a moment’s notice. For this reason, your business may benefit from developing a robust remote working strategy that you can implement on an as-needed basis. How can a business prepare should at-home work be needed in the future? Below, we’ve developed a guide for remote business operations in such situations.

Adapting Your Business Operations to Remote Operations

To adapt your typical business operations to remote operations, your company can take the following steps:

  • Identify potential remote workers: The first step in developing a work-from-home strategy is figuring out which employees can work remotely and which cannot. Some employees perform essential functions at work that they cannot perform from home. Others cannot do their jobs from home because of compliance or security requirements.
  • Determine the necessary assistance and accommodations: Employees may need support when preparing to work from home, like assistance installing the required software on their personal computers. Some employees may also need reduced or altered work schedules to accommodate their childcare responsibilities since schools typically are affected by shelter-in-place orders as well.
  • Invest in at-home capabilities: Businesses may need to invest in employees’ in-home capabilities as well. Some employees may need to obtain a computer that has the right technological capacities for their work. Others may need to upgrade their internet access or establish Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) capabilities. Businesses should be willing to cover the expenditures necessary for their employees to work effectively in these extraordinary situations.

Normalizing Remote Work

For many businesses, in-office work is the norm, and remote work happens occasionally to accommodate travel schedules or a child’s illness. Many business operations and workflows are not designed to handle large amounts of remote workers — especially within IT infrastructure. By boosting IT infrastructure capacities now, businesses can ensure they are ready for any future outbreaks.

Many employees who work full time from their offices do not have the setup or habits to work productively from home. They may not have the networking capabilities or internet speed to collaborate from home, and they may struggle to minimize distractions from family members, home tasks, the news and more. Encouraging employees to address their home working environment before they are required to do so may help them sort these issues out.

Bolstering Infrastructure

When companies are planning for the next calamity that might require remote work, it may be helpful to focus on the following areas of operation:

  • VPN abilities: Virtual private network (VPN) operations are the backbone of many remote workforces. A VPN allows remote employees to share applications, files, email systems, databases and other necessary tools via a secure network. The VPN systems at many workplaces are designed for a few employees — not the entire workplace. Boosting your hardware capacity and adding user licenses for software may enable a smoother tradition to full-scale remote work down the road.
  • VoIP abilities and remote extensions: VoIP abilities are also critical for remote workforces. VoIP enables workplaces to handle high volumes of calls, like in call centers. Remote users can use mobile VoIP services to re-route work calls to their personal phones.
  • VDI services: Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) services allow employees to access the same functionality at home that they have with their high-speed connections at work. These services can be fully remote desktop setups, or they may be app streaming services. Some services can even add capacity without requiring more internet bandwidth or computer resources than usual.
  • Remote security: Remote security is essential for managing a remote workforce, but it may cause issues for employees as they try to access work applications. A robust network access control (NAC) system may pose a barrier to home computers and laptops, especially if those devices contain malware. Addressing these issues in advance can streamline the home computer interfacing process when it’s time to implement full-scale remote operations.

Our Services to Help a Remote Workforce

CTI offers several different services to help outfit a remote workforce, including the following.

Enterprise Networking

In your business’s network, all the parts are connected — from the data center, wireless network and applications to the IP telephony and unified communications software. Enterprise networking allows your business to integrate these disparate parts seamlessly to create a cohesive, reliable and high-performance network.

Avaya Communication Systems

Avaya unified communications systems offer ways to streamline communications, including:

These systems ensure clients can easily reach the right person within your business, no matter where that person is working. They also give your team a diverse set of tools to communicate with one another and their clients, all over a single reliable network.

Avaya communications systems offer the following tools:

  • Multiple types of voice support
  • Videoconferencing infrastructure
  • Virtualization for systems and software
  • Mobile and desktop applications
  • Instant messaging
  • Customer service

Voice and Unified Communication

To streamline your voice and unified communications, consider using cloud computing services. Cloud computing services allow you to handle all your business operations in the cloud, so there’s no need to work with cumbersome hardware, maintenance contracts, software upgrade and long-distance charges. Instead, you get a streamlined, centralized communications network. Options include public cloud systems, private cloud systems — which put your communications behind your firewall — and hybrid cloud systems.

Take the Necessary Steps to Prepare Your Enterprise

When you’re figuring out how to adapt business operations to the coronavirus or future business challenges, trust Consolidated Technologies, Inc. for managed IT solutions. We’re experienced in developing innovations that put us ahead of the technology curve, and we have the knowledge to help your company implement practical coronavirus business service adaptations. Whether in good times or bad, we’ll be here to provide continued, high-quality service, and to help your business succeed.