Do you need a plan that allows your staff to work remotely?

With the recent business implications overseas of the COVID-19 pandemic, if you haven’t already, now is the time to look at how this could potentially impact your business. Do you have the right processes and systems to enable your staff to work from home?

To help you plan in this uncertain time, we’ve put together a few points for you to consider.

Are the business apps all hosted in the Cloud?

If yes then generally you can have team members work from home. Retrac’s Complete Cloud customers have taken the journey and moved their apps and data into Microsoft 365, meaning they can safely work from anywhere.

If not, then maybe you have a remote desktop server that team members can log in to. If you are still running a traditional local server environment, you will likely have trouble with staff working remotely and may need to come up with an alternative plan.

Microsoft Teams is included in Office 365 if you don’t currently have access to Teams, there is currently a six-month trial available. The app is a modern workplace tool that enables file sharing, video conferencing and messaging and is available online, as a desktop app and a mobile app.

To give you an example of the capability of Microsoft Teams, at Retrac we have cancelled all on-site meetings and replaced them with Teams video conferences. Meeting participants do not need to be Teams users and each meeting can be accessed online, with no need to download the app or any additional software.

Are the team members using laptops or PCs?

If staff are using laptops, then this makes it a lot easier to work from anywhere. PC users will find it a lot harder to get access if they don’t have their PC with them. Perhaps team members could use their personal device at home which is something you can prepare for. Remember Office 365 email and documents can be accessed over the web if needed.

When staff are working remotely and especially if they are using personal laptops in place of company resources, make sure you consider security. Set clear guidelines and processes to ensure all your data and files stay within a safe working environment. Remind staff to use the Cloud storage available in place of saving to desktop or USBs.

Be sure to provide clear directions to staff on how to access the Office 365 portal and that they can access all business apps including email, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint / OneDrive and any other productivity tools.

Additionally, if your staff are using their own laptops ensure they have current anti-virus software.

Is the team members’ internet at home capable of running work apps?

Generally, NBN and ADSL will support most Cloud-hosted business apps. Alternatively, hot-spotting data on your mobile phone will likely be sufficient. Keep an eye on the costs associated with this.

Is the phone system able to take calls if the team are working from home?

Our customers who have implemented Microsoft Teams Calling will know that this is the perfect solution for a phone system when working remotely. Outside of that, a phone system that provides softphone clients can work. If you have a traditional phone system, then perhaps diverting the phone to mobile may be sufficient. Also consider a virtual assistant service.

Its best to have a plan in place for remote working well and truly before a disaster strikes, but if you are scrambling to prepare for this recent outbreak, don’t forget to call and speak to the team at Retrac. I’m  confident that our operation is pandemic ready, and we are expecting our team to be here for you if you need it.

Hopefully this is all over quickly.

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