Business VoIP Featured Article

How to Work Remotely During the Global Coronavirus Pandemic

March 13, 2020

By Laura Stotler, Business VoIP Contributing Editor

The world is in upheaval as the global pandemic known as coronavirus forces disruption in a large number of industries. In many situations, employers of all sizes are encouraging their employees to work remotely from home to help minimize spread of the virus while keeping businesses up and running.

Thankfully remote work has become more popular and widespread over the past decade, and many workers are fully equipped with the technology and connectivity they need to get their jobs done from home. Widespread use of tools like videoconferencing and mobile collaboration applications have made it easy and efficient to assemble a productive remote workforce during a time of crisis.

Below we will outline some of the essential tips and tools required for a successful remote working experience. While some workers may not have all the equipment readily on hand, with internet connectivity and a connected device, many helpful apps and tools can be readily acquired online.

Connectivity is Key

Not only do your workers need a reliable internet connection to be able to successfully work from home, but your business needs to be highly available. That means your IT resources should be securely and reliably accessible to employees, ideally via a virtual private network (VPN).

Very simply, a VPN is designed to let remote users send and receive data securely across public networks. It’s essential for opening up access to sensitive corporate documents and resources, using technology like encryption, authentication and layered tunneling protocol to ensure privacy and security.

Of course, your workers will also need appropriate online connectivity to access your VPN or corporate network. For those workers who may not have a fast enough connection, mobile hot spots and data plans may be put in place to facilitate access.

Ensuring Workers Have the Devices they Need

Employers must decide if workers will use their own devices or require them to use company supplied hardware. Personal devices present larger security risks, but may be the only option, particularly during a crisis like the coronavirus, when companies have not had time to prepare for major disruption.

Ideally, your employees will have both a smartphone and a computer or tablet to get their work done. Every industry will be different and will require different hardware, of course. Additional items commonly used for remote work include a webcam, which is often included in many devices, along with a headset or headphones with microphone.

Collaboration Apps and Tools

Communication and collaboration apps are vital to the success of many businesses and even more so when employees are working remotely. Being able to host virtual meetings and conferences is key to preserving the livelihood of some businesses.

Many companies will already have software infrastructure in place like MicrosoftOffice365, Slack, Zoom and other popular conferencing solutions. Many offerings may be readily downloaded and offer intuitive user interfaces, for those workers who may not be used to remote collaboration.

Business VoIP solutions, unified communications offerings and instant messaging can all prove extremely valuable for remote work. They will be particularly useful in a time of crisis like the coronavirus pandemic, when many people not typically used to working from home will be forced to do so.

Remote Work Policies and Philosophy

If your company doesn’t already have rules and policies surrounding remote work culture in place, now is the time to lay down some guidelines. A comprehensive remote work policy will include rules and guidelines for accessing the corporate VPN and networks as well as usage rules for personal devices and applications.

Workers should also understand the importance of developing strong remote work skills to minimize distraction and interruption. Working from home, particularly during a crisis like the coronavirus, will mean other family members will be nearby, also working. With many schools and daycare centers closed throughout the world, there will also be extra challenges for employees with children and babies.

Employers will have to cut their workers some slack under extenuating circumstances, obviously. But it would still be a smart idea to set up rules and guidelines to try to facilitate seamless, uninterrupted collaboration and conferencing to keep businesses running as smoothly as possible.

We are fortunate to live in a time when most workers and employers are set up for at least some type of remote work. Businesses will now be forced to use tools and technology to their full extent in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic. By following some of the tips and guidelines above, they can ensure they as efficiently and productively as possible during a time of crisis.

Edited by Maurice Nagle



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