If You Return to the Office or Continue to Work from Home, there are new challenges ahead.
Two months ago, Wisconsin began closing businesses because of the Coronavirus. Many small businesses scrambled to figure out how they would move their on-premise employees to a work-from-home environment. A lot of people figured it out, but few had a strategy in place for how they would operate for an extended period if their employees couldn’t access their regular office space. Even fewer had a plan for how they would do it safely and securely.
Overnight, employers were entrusting their company data to employees working from their personal home computers. We get it. At that moment, we all had to do whatever we could to keep our businesses running. IT providers kept things working for their clients as best as they could while dealing with a lot of variables. Along the way, we know that some mistakes were made, the rules for best practices were bent (or ignored) to make things work. We can’t change the past, but as we move into a new phase of working through this pandemic, we can determine how we can make the next pivot better.
Wisconsin businesses are starting to reopen and these questions will need to be answered.
- Are you going to continue allowing employees to work from home?
- Are you going to resume working in your regular office space?
- Are you going to do both remote and on-premise work?
If your answer is yes to any of those questions, technology is going to be a part of the equation. If you plan to continue as-is for now and allow your employees to work from home, consider if they should keep working from home computers or if providing them a company-owned device is feasible. Most will opt for the continued use of home computers. In this case, you should make sure that they are only connecting to the company network through a secure VPN (a virtual private network), and also, whenever possible, connecting to a computer at the office using RDP (remote desktop protocol).
A couple of things to consider as you return to the office.
If you’re planning to resume working in your regular office, please keep in mind that some of your computers may not have been used in two months. They may have two months of security updates and critical patches that need to be downloaded and installed. They might need to reboot several times for all those updates to install correctly and completely. Don’t expect to flip the switch (or, in this case, press the power button) and have everything working exactly as it was two months ago.
Another item to consider for people returning to the office is how you are going to change the layout of your workstations to reduce risk and provide safety for your employees. Don’t just start unplugging equipment before you know where it’s going to be relocated. Make sure the same resources exist in the new location. At a minimum, you need power, data, and phone lines available. When you do start to move equipment, take pictures of what and how things are plugged in so that you can reassemble them the exact same way. Many plugs and adapters look alike when they are tucked under a dark desk. Taking a quick picture or two could save you hours of frustration.
If you’ve gone through all this without reliable IT, now’s a good time to consider an alternative.
If you’ve managed to get this far through the Coronavirus shutdown without a trusted IT service, hats off to you! It was not an easy job at times, even for the experts. You deserve kudos for keeping things going, but your business is going to need your undivided attention now more than ever. If you’re interested in learning more about how ToSolution can help, please reach out. We’ll worry about technology so you can focus on your business without the distractions of IT.