Many non-exempt Hybridge clients are planning to return to their offices next month. While most enterprises were forced to put in place last minute infrastructure and policies for working remotely, the likely reality of an ongoing location-flexible workplace means now is the time to carefully craft a long term infrastructure for your company that will probably look quite different than it did in 2019. This will entail technology, security, and policy decisions and trade-offs.
Policy will be difficult and changing, and new guidelines are published by the CDC and local and state authorities on an almost daily basis. However, you can start crafting a framework with the information you know today and tailor it to your business and industry as necessary. For smaller business that may not have a full HR department in house, you may want to rely on a service like ThinkHR to provide checklists, compliance information and expert advise on what you can, should and should not do from a policy perspective.
From a technology perspective, you should think about:
Computers – should you issue everyone laptops so they can work remotely more easily? Perhaps desktops were your standard but with the possibility of employees doing a hybrid schedule from home and onsite a laptop computer may the most sense. They will be more expensive, but with a docking station they can easily transfer from a home office to an onsite office, and are a secure/managed endpoint.
Work computers at home – if your employees don’t have laptops, how will they work from home? In the emergency using home computers was an acceptable compromise for many, but it is not at all secure. This is a good time to consider getting company issued laptops or tablets for remote work. Don’t compromise your company’s security by letting users work on home computers that bypass company security tools and policies.
Connectivity – are you having a hard time reaching key data and resources from home? Do you need to upgrade your network to accommodate VPN (virtual private network) or secure remote desktop options for your employees? What applications can you move to the cloud for improved security and ease of access? If there are industry applications you use on an everyday basis, now is the time to explore the cloud-based offering.
Business Continuity Plan - did it work well 2 months ago? Going forward do you have everyone’s cell and home phone numbers? How can you get messages to your staff urgently over the weekend if, for example, you need to tell everyone to stay home on Monday morning?
Collaboration tools – has your team been working around a 40 min time limit for the free popular conference call application? Do you need a more secure solution for the entire enterprise so you are not relying on people’s free personal subscriptions? Remember that Hybridge is offering FREE Anymeeting with no time limits and all features through the end of 2020 to all our clients.
Phones - if your office was closed, leaving a voicemail message to that effect was fine. However, if you are going to be working remotely in the new normal, you will want to transition to a VoIP solution that allows you to “take your phone with you” and keep all your team connected with your customers, so no matter what your customers can reach your team. Hybridge has a full-featured, cost-effective, HD-voice solution we can migrate you to in a matter of hours.
All of these decisions require planning and careful assessment. Hybridge is your CIO – schedule time with one of our management consultants to help you explore and evaluate your long term technology strategy. Email info at hybridge.com to schedule a meeting.