A carpenter can get the job done with a screwdriver, but it gets done better with a drill. The same is true for your employees who will now be working from home. Setting up your employees with the right tools for working remotely can keep productivity high. Now that we’ve established secure connectivity and compliant solutions, let’s discuss solutions that allow for access to your PC remotely. There are great 3rd party applications that end users can download and install on their home PCs and on their computer at work; however, they will require that their computers at work stay powered on. An example that most are familiar with would be Go To My PC. ThrottleNet offers a solution as well via our Everfuel Remote Access solution which we introduced specifically for the situation we find ourselves in today. You can start researching some of our solutions today. Other solutions include Nord VPN, Private VPN or ExpressVPN.  I only mention these as ThrottleNet doesn’t have personal experience with them nor do we represent any of these organizations; however, they are viable options. Once connected, your end-users will be able to securely work directly from their desktops at work! Another method you can use is the Windows Virtual Desktop. This solution allows for a secure virtual Windows experience that is usable by any device including phones and tablets and lets them securely access their work data and apps from anywhere even on an unsecured device such as the end user’s home PC! Keep in mind, this isn’t the same as accessing your Office365 account online. This too offers access to all the same tools you have access to via your desktop, but in the Microsoft hosting environment instead. This allows for the creation of documents and collaboration but won’t provide you with a virtual desktop with all of your users’ settings and profile information. Check out some of the dos and don’ts of email security here. You also use Citrix as a number of virtual desktop solutions to use this to house your virtual workspace allowing access from anywhere, anytime and on any device. If your end users are using a 3rd party solution to connect directly to their work PC, are using Windows Virtual Desktop or are accessing their files via Office365 online, they should be good to go. Keep in mind that users can still download files meaning if they are doing so on a local, consumer-grade PC, there could be security and compliance risks which we’ll discuss later in our presentation. An often overlooked yet valuable tool for working remotely is using a contemporary cloud phone solution such as RingCentral as this allows your users to use their business phone extension directly from their cell phone or desktop. Cloud phone solutions include the ability to securely and remotely communicate through chat, text or video on a computer using an encrypted channel in addition to allowing for conference calls depending on the features you’ve chosen. Another solution we’ve been using and for those companies that have it is Microsoft Teams. This has a built-in VOIP and video conferencing solution that works well if you don’t have a phone system that’s hosted; however, this would be limited to internal team members only since this isn’t something that allows you to redirect internal calls.

It does allow you to make outbound calls through assuming the contact is in your list of contacts and are added to your list of speed dials. One of the biggest challenges with social distancing is the ability to connect with people one on one. This is where having a good webcam can come in handy when trying to overcome the disconnect. Another recommend tool for working remotely is to create a solid PowerPoint presentation for your Sales team as this will convert them from a voice over the phone into an interactive presenter. As they say – a picture is worth a thousand words. It should also go without saying but invest in high-quality headphones as these can greatly reduce distractions from the home environment around you – especially if your end users have kids or animals! There’s nothing worse than being on a conference call only to have your kids break into a full-blown fight in the next room. I’ve been there more times than I can count, and you will be too if you have little ones at home. This will forever be my favorite video of kids disrupting a working from home dad. Regarding online meetings and presentations, you should remember that the number of participants you can have on a call is limited. This means you may need to increase your subscription to accommodate the increased number of online participants.

Check this BEFORE your meeting since there’s nothing worse than finding out the hard way that you don’t have enough space to accommodate everyone.

Another thing to keep in mind, these companies are being inundated with requests, so if you can do this online and without involving a customer service rep, you should. For those organizations that require a lot of collaboration, we would encourage you to check out Office 365’s tools such as OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams – all of which can provide your team with the ability to work remotely while still collaborating in real-time with team members. Other solutions include Monday.com and Basecamp as these allow you to create project plans as well as collaboration with designated team members. We’ve found this to be a great way to keep your people on task by creating to-do lists that are updated daily. This allows your managers to view the progress each team member made that day. And as an Open Book Management company, we would encourage you to put in place metrics to track employee activity and performance. These might be the number of calls made, the number of tasks completed, or, in our case, the number of tickets resolved. Our goal and mission is to keep you running full throttle full time, it’s more important than ever to be adaptable and keep working through social distancing. These are our best tools for working remotely. If you’re ready to explore the full capabilities of offsite managed IT and security contact us for a consultation. We will show you first-hand how we are staying connected and working through social distancing.

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