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As we all know the trend of working remotely is a welcome boost to many businesses looking to make the shift towards a full digital transformation with more and more people avoiding physical gatherings. In this blog article, we will provide you with 3 strategies to enable productive working during the Coronavirus outbreak. 

1) Provide a solid and secure foundation to allow remote digital access 

The first thing that your business can do is to ensure that your employees have secure access to IT resources within the business as well as having a reliable internet connection through either a provider or virtual private network. What this involves is attention to detail to ensure that all the dots match when connecting the tech stack from internet access to data, communications and much more. This will help the overhead of having to both manage and support the overall process set into place. 

Secure remote access for workers to be able to access business documents and other online services 

The most common way of providing this is via a virtual private network solution which is put onto a desktop, laptop or mobile device which builds an encrypted network connection to provide a secure place to allow employees to be able to access all the IT resources in the business as well as across other networks. There are a number of different VPN solutions available which can be purchased & implemented by our IT team here at Advantage. The most critical parts of these are both reliability and usability as the majority of the remote work solution created will make use of the VPN as the key element to enable a smooth internet connection. 

As well as this, it is definitely worth using a two-factor authentication via a mobile device or app to access software such as Office 365 rather than solely just using a username and password. 

2) Give your employees access to productivity & communication/collaboration tools 

The ability to operate in a modern business environment requires teamwork and collaboration by having access to shared assets including documents, files, reports & presentations. These assets can be built and used with standard office productivity applications such as Office 365, intranet, CRM & ERP systems & other useful systems. 

It is crucial to make sure that all of the above applications work well when used remotely. This can be achieved in part via remote desktops as mentioned previously. However, most of the time it is best to use dedicated cloud solutions for remote working as installing apps on devices can be challenging. On the other hand, through a dedicated cloud solution it can be made easier for employees to access what they need across both desktops, laptops and on mobile devices. 

NB: The key to successful remote working is taking remote collaboration one step further 

In practice, you will fully expect the productivity with business applications to be similar to when the employee is in the office. On the other side of the equation this is in stark contrast to: communication and collaboration tools. 

Due to the isolation associated with remote working, the success of this relies heavily on digital comms as well as modern day collaboration tools such as Microsoft TeamsPower Automate, unified communications/instant messaging solutions as well as the usual form of communications such as email, phone and online meeting tools such as GoToMeeting. 

It is important to take into account that remote working is often quite difficult for those that are not accustomed to doing it or it’s not a good personal fit. Therefore, to make this transition much easier it is crucial to go the extra mile to make it simpler and as engaging in possible.   

3) Develop remote working skills 

It is important to note that working remotely is completely different from working in an office. You will find that everyone is much less visible so it makes it harder to collaborate as well as connect with fellow employees, despite having all the digital tools at your disposal. 

Coordinating work 

You will find that most collaboration tools are very general and not adapted to help make sure that the business process is coordinated. Being able to coordinate work process makes use of a central hub, most of the time it is formulated on dedicated software tools to help make sure that all sales, marketing, operations are tracked, analysed, optimised and driven towards completion. You will find that working in such a decentralised structure, yet highly coordinated way is a somewhat new way of working. The employees in your business will then be able to develop the skills to be able to spot opportunities to build work up in this way as well as develop the knowledge to build better more coordinated business and digital processes with all the tools at their disposal. 

Make sure you utilise the right types of collaboration tools 

Given that we have many types of collaborative tools to choose from, such as Microsoft Teams, with employees working remotely and given a whole host of different options they are more than likely to make the wrong choice of tool. You will see that email is the least effective collaboration tool but often the first port of call. The best thing to do is to put together a cheat sheet that will guide employees to use the right types of tools for certain situations. 

Next Steps 

If you are business looking to get setup for remote working in terms of a dedicated virtual private network, looking to get additional IT consultingneed tailored IT support or need help getting Office 365 and other collaboration tools setup for remote working then get in touch with our IT experts today to discuss your specific remote working needs. 

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Transform the way you work

The technology you use to power your business should be helping you succeed, not getting in your way. If you want to transform the way you work and get the most out of your business, get in touch with Advantage today.

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