Summer vacation season is just around the corner. After Memorial Day, it might seem like your office has a revolving door of employees taking time off to visit the beach, family, or even foreign locales while the sun is shining and the schools are closed.
By definition, vacation time should be used for, well, vacationing and leaving work behind, but sometimes the inevitable issue crops up that needs your immediate attention for everything to keep running smoothly. Employees who are parents may also be impacted by their children’s summer vacation. For whatever reason, employees often need to get work done when they aren’t in the office, and this is the case year-round, not just during the summer. Thankfully, there is a range of solutions your company can consider that enable employees to work remotely.
Ensure employees have proper access to systems
When considering the concept of access, it is important for companies not to overlook certain areas where their employees may need to have access to in order to work effectively outside of the office. First step: making sure employees have the tools to get work done. “Working remotely is not always as simple as using a program like LogMeIn on your computer,” says Ryan Armstrong, director of IT Support at Miles Technologies. “Your employees may need access to your phone system and other ways to access their co-workers. You need to ask, ‘How easily can you communicate with someone when they’re not sitting right next to you?’”
The right devices, like a personal or company-issued laptop and mobile phone comprise the basics of what an employee needs to be effective outside of the office.
Use a secure connection for sensitive data
There are also security concerns for working remotely, especially for businesses in industries such as finance and healthcare, where employees will need to access sensitive data. Using a secure VPN (virtual private network) connection ensures data privacy between a home computer and your office. You can also establish rules and security audits to make sure employees have anti-virus software on their home systems or are using company-issued laptops or mobile devices to access the network.
Test remote connectivity in advance
Armstrong says that when determining remote connectivity solutions, a company needs to keep one thing in mind: the employees’ ability to perform necessary tasks. “In order for a remote solution to be effective, the employees need to actually be able to work,” he says. “Make sure the system is designed to meet your business’s needs.”
Armstrong says that many times, he’ll see companies that think they have a proper remote solution in place until the time comes until that they actually need it. “If your employees go to the office all the time and don’t regularly work remotely, you may run into issues such as your remote access not being tested lately, users who are unsure how to use it and managers who are not prepared to work with remote employees,” he says.
Armstrong says it is important for companies to test their remote connectivity regularly to make sure that employees have secure access to whatever they need to complete their daily business processes. It is also important for managers to have a plan in place for how to work with their team members who may not be able to make it into the office on a given day, or need to be contacted about issues of immediate importance.
Not only should you test your own connections - you should make sure your employees have access when they need it. They should test their cloud permissions prior to needing to work from home. Your IT department should establish a checklist and instructions to set up work-from-home capabilities and make it routine for employees to configure their home computers upon hire.
Have a proper plan for working remotely in place for success
Having a proper plan in place for employees to work from outside of the office is vital for companies to have as little downtime as possible when employees aren’t readily available. Inclement weather, personal emergencies, or other events that can prevent employees from commuting to the office are not always easy to predict, but by preparing and maintaining remote connectivity solutions, companies can be prepared - and more productive.
Do you have any tips or thoughts on working remotely? Is this something your business would succeed with? Let us know in the comments section below.
Have any questions or need some tips about testing your employees' ability to work remotely? Contact us today to speak with an IT expert.