With the recent health crisis of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, we’ve noticed an uptick in companies’ interest in working from home. Therefore, important questions remain: What departments are feasible to work remotely? What services should be made available? How do you secure such an environment?
Setting up a Home Environment
The first thing you need to consider is if your employees are prepared to work from home? Do they have the necessary resources? Critical gear such adequate hardware and peripherals like full-sized keyboards and local printers may need to be provisioned and adequate internet connectivity both at home sites and the office should be evaluated.
Connecting to Work from Home
How will employees connect to work resources? If you are already using Office 365 or other software as a service then a good bit of the heavy lifting for email, files (SharePoint) as well as availability and collaboration (Teams) is already in place. Deltek Vision is a web based application and making it available remotely is a straightforward evolution our IT consultants can assist with or it can be moved to our Hosting environment. A virtual private network solution whereby each employee creates a connection back to his home office may be required for accessing large CAD or Engineering projects.
A new approach that Full Sail Partners and some of our clients are now using is Server and Desktops as a Service provided by Desktops2go. In this scenario, local desktops and file/licensing servers are hosted in the cloud and remote users simply connect to their workstation from wherever they are, and all workload/file access behaves as if the entire company is working from the same office. This solution also removes a remarkable load from company IT by reducing the need for purchasing high end servers and workstations for staff and provides a predictable monthly IT cost.
Wide format drawings from a plotter are unlikely to work well from home. However, for drafts, we’ve seen some clients print to PDF, then use Adobe Reader’s ability to print out posterboard tiles until access to the plotters or print shop become available again. Office phones should be forwarded to cellphones or voice mail messages should be checked frequently to stay in contact with critical clients.
Keep Communication Going
From a managerial standpoint, we recommend frequent team and individual staff stand up meetings. Working from home can be disconcerting and isolating for some so additional consideration and contact may help keep morale and productivity up during challenging times. Full Sail Partners has been a virtual company since its inception with everyone working remotely. Please feel free to reach out to us to assist with your work from home needs!