Are your employees using the best technology available when they work from home?
If not, it might be time to think about introducing some upgrades!
The biggest change in business IT we’ve seen in recent years is the impact of COVID-19. That pesky pandemic has seen a huge proportion of former office workers tapping away at their dining room tables for a good few months at least.
For many workplaces, though, the option to work from home has carried through even after the lockdowns have lifted. Data sourced by the Australian Financial Review indicates that only 13% of Aussies were working from home pre-2020, but that number skyrocketed to 32% at the peak of the lockdowns. Many employers recognised the benefits of this arrangement, and have now introduced a hybrid model allowing staff to work partly in the office and partly at home.
If you’re one of those employers, you want to be sure your work from home operations are seriously optimised. Now, we’re not saying you need to go as far as those creepy telepresence robots – but there are a few low-cost, high-impact software and hardware solutions on the market these days to take advantage of!
So, check it out below – here are our top five remote work essentials.
1. Cloud computing
If you’ve read any of our blogs, you’ve probably heard us proclaiming the astronomical benefits of cloud computing before! But, in all seriousness, cloud computing is probably the best thing to happen to business IT since the advent of the internet. Cloud computing solutions are what allow your employees access to their remote virtual work environment – for example, your Google Drive. If you’re still operating on a siloed local network system, you’re missing out on the benefits of being able to access your files anytime, anywhere.
2. VoIP phone systems
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an incredible technology allowing you to take work calls from a personal mobile device. Of course, that’s not the only thing VoIP does, but it’s the key benefit in a remote work scenario! Instead of relying on your desk phone, a VoIP system means you can integrate all your usual desk phone features with compatible digital devices like tablets, laptops and smartphones. A good VoIP set-up will lower your telecommunications costs significantly and meet your unique business needs as well. If you want an automated voice assistant, you can have one – or if you want to integrate it with a CRM, you can do that too!
3. Task/project management software
Good task or project management can really help your team stay on track while working remotely. Of course, we all have good intentions when working from home – but without the external pressure of being in an office environment, it can be easy to stray off task in the privacy of your own home. Task management software helps employees manage their time better by using deadlines and timers to keep everything humming along. Some of the best performers include Accelo, Asana and Jira.
4. Chat applications
You probably use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to keep up with friends and family – but did you know there are similar applications designed for the workplace? Chat and collaboration software like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts can help replicate the social aspect of coming into the office for your team on their work from home days. You can see when everybody is online, form group chats for specific projects and save a huge amount of mail from landing in your inbox – bonus!
5. A remote security team monitoring
Lastly but perhaps most importantly, any remote working situation needs very strong IT security. We’re all used to keeping a secure IT environment in the office, but when team members are working from home, you’re only as secure as their habits. It’s not exactly a technology, but we highly recommend working with a security monitoring service (like Xenex!) to keep an eye on your systems. They’ll be able to make sure all your firewalls are updated, your antivirus is strong and your email system is encrypted. Additionally, you can work with your IT security provider to enforce some ground rules for staff – like maintaining good password hygiene and staying away from public WiFi.