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Are Your IT and End-Users Ready for Working Remotely if the Coronavirus Impacts Your Office Location?

This article, authored by our Senior Advisor Chuck Lear, continues a special series titled “Creating Resiliency During the COVID-19 Crisis.” 

This series will feature articles, podcasts and additional resources from our Consultants Collective member consultants, advisors and coaches, whose experience and expertise includes risk and change management, Asia, China, offshoring, leading distributed global teams, managing crises and internal communications, deploying and managing online collaboration tools that enable people to work together virtually, developing new models, as well as expertise in innovation and design-thinking, work-life integration — and more — all of which uniquely positions Consultants Collective to serve its clients during this time. We hope this series is a valuable resource to you and your organization as you tackle the challenges presented by this global public health crisis. If we can provide additional help and support through our executive consulting, advisory and coaching services, please contact us.

Now is the time to test and tune up your remote working capabilities for your organization. Do not wait until you are forced to go virtual by your location or staff needs. Remember, your office may be ok, but your staff may need to be home to take care of their families if schools and other public environments are impacted.

Verifying your capabilities now, and running a real-life test with end users now will be very beneficial and will also ensure a smooth transition if you are required to close down your office, or it is not feasible for staff to make it into the office.

By pretesting, your capabilities will enable your helpdesk and network teams to ensure they are ready for your business to run as smoothly as possible.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Test your capabilities now, have a large portion of a department work remotely as a test, have the Marketing or HR department work remotely one day, have the IT helpdesk ready to assist workers with password resets, VPN connections
  • Related to VPN connections, make sure you have enough bandwidth (Inbound and Outbound traffic)
  • Confirm you are licensed for the expected concurrent usage on your VPNs. Regular daily usage for traveling staff will not suffice.
  • For staff that generally work from the office on desktop computers, consider remote offsite Virtual Desktops from AWS or Microsoft as a short-term way to relieve bandwidth and access issues.
  • Enable desk phones for external and remote access if possible, most VoIP services will work just as well from home as they do in the office, make sure you have power supplies for phones, one-page instructions to get the phone working on a home network.
  • For key managers and employees assist them with setting up a home office now, or create an “Office in a Box” kit that can be quickly shipped and configured. 
  • Make sure that critical Assistants have the tools and support they need to support their staffs
  • For companies with softphone capabilities like Skype or Teams, provide USB headsets and camera to staff members
  • Provide tips on how to set up a home office, remember to address HIPAA and other privacy issues that your industry may require.
  • Provide managers with guidance on how to manage a team or department remotely, walk-bys or drop in managers may struggle with not seeing their staff all the time
  • Reimburse staff for internet usage, $40-$60 monthly per diem is a nice gesture to ensure employees feel they are being taken care of.
  • Encourage staff to stay connected – socially.  Have a virtual happy hour or team lunch, with food delivery services like UBER eats or GrubHub schedule a team lunch as a way to stay in touch.
  • Overall, remind staff they are appreciated and that this will pass, encouragement and tolerance will be far more helpful than berating staff for missing deadlines or targets.
Chuck Lear

Chuck Lear

Chuck Lear is a senior advisor for Consultants Collective. He is an Information Technologies executive experienced in identifying, designing, implementing IT solutions to meet business objectives and improve results through IT-based processes, solutions and services.

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