Employees are being called back to their offices. Meanwhile, there is a fraction of those who will either remain fully remote or work on a hybrid schedule. The choice to work where they want is being given to employees as a retention incentive, given employers’ challenges in recruiting and hiring staff.
If you have any number of remote employees, you must give them the IT support and tools they need to be successful and keep your company’s network and data secure. Otherwise, you risk losing an employee and your company data. Since work-from-home environments are a different set up than your office, the help of outsourced IT support technicians is invaluable when it comes to resolving issues remotely, quickly determining whether it is a software- or hardware-related problem, and troubleshooting internet connections, VPN, user errors, etc.
Having spent the better of the past two years helping Kansas City businesses support their remote employees, here are the tools and support your team needs:
Ensure your remote staff have the minimum digital essentials
At the very least, your remote staff needs internet access, laptop/desktop and VPN access to your network. If you require virtual meetings, employees need a web camera and headset if their devices do not have built-in cameras and mics. Between all these, remote employees can communicate and collaborate in whatever way they need to with other employees and customers.
Having remote IT support available to help with initial setup and provide ongoing troubleshooting reduces the level of stress on your remote employees so they can focus on their job tasks.
Insist remote employees access your company network via a virtual private network (VPN)
Remote staff should use a VPN every time they access your company’s resources, data, applications and documents, as well as the internet via your employees’ internet provider.
Why? A virtual private network creates a secure connection to your network and the internet, which protects your data. If your company doesn’t have a VPN, getting one should be at the top of your priority list. Our remote IT support can teach your employees how to use it if necessary and troubleshoot any connectivity issues. But, at this point, most people at least know the VPN basics.
Ask remote employees about their internet access and speed
The majority of Kansas Citians have access to “blazing fast” internet. You cannot assume they can afford high-speed access, nor can you assume remote employees in other parts of the country have good access and speed.
Some people subscribe to basic internet service; enough to stream entertainment, browse the web and use their phones. Basic level service may not be sufficient to support work tasks though. Humans adapt, so ask remote employees about their connection and speed. To improve productivity and efficiency, you should expect to reimburse them for higher speed, data plans or hot spots. More bandwidth is better for uploading, downloading and sharing large file sizes, as well as using web and video conferencing apps.
Ensure employees have (and know how to use) apps that support their best work
Creating, accessing and sharing assets (documents, files, reports, spreadsheets and media) is done using applications and platforms, such as Microsoft Office365 and Google G Suite, local content/document management systems, your company network, HR systems, CRM, ERP, etc.
Former in-office employees know their way around these apps, but new team members might need help setting up and using them. Collaborating on Microsoft Teams, Slack or Zoom can be new to former in-office staff or new employees. By having remote IT support available if needed, your remote employees (new or existing) has on-demand help to get connected and be collaborative.
Give remote staff access to IT support whenever they need it
Knowing there is IT support available when needed reduces stress and supports productivity. An employee could spend hours troubleshooting an issue that remote support could solve in minutes.
Almost any software-related malfunction can be addressed remotely. More than 90 percent of personal computer problems are related to software.
Interested in learning more about offering remote IT support to your staff? Contact Invision today.