Business of all sizes can help ensure employees can work remotely without skipping a beat by augmenting these four common workplace technologies.
This is the big one, because just as an office needs strong internet service to support in-house employees, remote employees need excellent service as well, with enough bandwidth to handle streaming connections for tasks like video conferencing.
- Consider supplying or supplementing remote employees’ home or office internet to ensure they have top speeds and can stay connected.
- Add in reliable mobile service so employees can connect via their devices.
- Identify safe and secure Wi-Fi hotspot options for on-the-go employees. Using hotspots is a great way for a business to cut down on data costs and save on overage charges. Businesses can also set up a virtual private network (VPN) that allows for a stable and secure connection.
- Make sure employees understand how to keep their devices (and, by extension, the company’s network) safe by avoiding unsecured websites, using virus protection, and refraining from downloading unapproved apps and software on company devices. All employees — remote workers especially — must follow key cybersecurity guidelines. Tactics include:
- Securing their work phone and computer
- Installing a firewall
- Downloading anti-virus and anti-malware software that is set to update automatically
- Regularly backing up information
Employees need virtual access to the same information and tools they’d be able to access in a physical office. The solution here is the cloud, which hosts files, data and applications within a centralized server and makes them accessible from any device with connectivity. This means employees can work from anywhere on company-issued mobile devices, or their own devices.
Remember: Remote employees need virtual access to everything — not just a few applications or files. Businesses deploying a cloud strategy must provide employees with ways to share information, sync schedules, process important documents, and back everything up in real time — securely.
Comcast Business and many other technology providers offer cloud solutions apps and Software-as-a-Service (in which software lives in the cloud, not on an individual’s computer). To be successful with both cloud and remote work, determine what tools and applications employees need to do their jobs, and ensure that a cloud environment mimics the in-office experience.
It’s easy to forget about the humble telephone, but it’s still a key business tool, both inside and outside an office.
Look for a flexible phone system in which employees can use one phone number that switches seamlessly from a desk phone to a mobile device, allowing them to stay connected from wherever they are. One option for a company with remote employees is a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solution, such as Comcast Business VoiceEdge, which offers benefits traditional wired systems don’t, like:
- The ability to forward a number to multiple phones and reach employees whether they’re on their cell phone, a home landline, or an office phone.
- Call management and routing, which acts as a virtual receptionist to answer calls and help callers connect to the right person. This includes the option to ring multiple employees in a department, one by one, until someone answers.
- The ability for employees to check voicemail remotely; receive notifications on a mobile phone when their office line receives a call or voicemail; and use voicemail transcription, which lets employees read voice messages on a mobile phone.
When all employees are in the same office, it’s easy to get together in a conference room or someone’s office to exchange ideas and present information — but when one employee, or everyone, is remote, getting together is not as simple. Collaboration platforms and unified communications systems are key for future workplaces.
For example, in addition to allowing participants to see each other as they speak, web conferencing systems offer tools to share slideshow presentations and documents, easily schedule or change meeting times, and record meetings and presentations for future viewing.
Another tool — group chat software — can make it seem like everyone is in the same room. They can also serve as a productivity tracker. Google or Microsoft Office both offer collaboration apps for chatting remotely and trading files.
As remote work continues, it can introduce challenges when it comes to keeping employees connected, productive and engaged — but the right technologies make it a snap.
Robert Thompson is the vice president of Comcast Business for the Mountain West Region, which serves 154,000 business customers and operates across Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Tucson, AZ and parts of Idaho. Thompson has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and has been with Comcast Business for nearly 6 years, serving in a variety of roles. For more information, call 855-211-6987 or visit https://business.comcast.com/denver