In 2020 when the pandemic first began, many business owners were faced with deciding how they wanted to run their business moving forward. Do they send everyone to work remotely? Do they bring some people into the office on an alternating schedule? Many business owners had to make decisions like this over the past year and a half and now they need to maintain their new workforce.

Today, many businesses have adjusted to their new work routines but there are still some painful details that need to be addressed if the work model is to sustain itself. Some of these pains are securing their devices when employees are out of the office, acquiring enough hardware for the team, staying connected to teams working from home, and on-boarding new employees when they work remotely.

Many businesses are struggling with certain aspects of remote work models

Today, many businesses have adjusted to their new work routines but there are still some painful details that need to be addressed if the work model is to sustain itself. Here are four major areas of a remote work model that owners should be keeping their eye on to prevent painful technology problems in their future.

Security

Sending employees to work from home opens your business up to a wide variety of security vulnerabilities. Outside of the office, your devices and your employees need additional security support to ensure that they remain safe from attackers.

FusionTek tips: To properly manage your hybrid workforce’s security needs, you should have in place:

  • Ensure there is a secure VPN for your employees to use when working remotely. This allows them to securely connect to technologies that help them operate when they’re in the office.
  • Improve your security monitoring across the network. Be sure you are protecting your vulnerable network using tools and resources that help you prevent, identify, and remediate ransomware in the event it approaches your network.
  • Set clear security policies for your employees at home. This would include things like secure Wi-Fi with WPA2 encryption to further secure themselves at home.

Device acquisition

With COVID-19 interrupting the supply chain as much as it has, securing hardware can be difficult for businesses. Ordering hardware is essential to operating your business so when you are unable to get the things you need, it can have huge ramifications for your business.

FusionTek tips: To properly maintain your hardware needs in a remote work model, you should:

  • Plan for growth. Figure out how many people you plan on hiring in your annual business plan. Once you know this, you can work with your IT team or provider to help source the equipment for you in advance of your hiring so you can be sure you have the hardware you need.
  • Keep a hardware inventory to help you plan for equipment replacement. Hardware often needs to be replaced based on its age, capacity limits, and more. Your IT team or provider should be able to help you with this and incorporate that into what needs to be replaced ahead of time.
  • Consider bringing in a managed service provider. Internal IT employees often don’t have access to discount pricing that a lot of hardware manufacturers offer MSPs. Work with a provider to get better pricing if you are concerned about the high cost of technology upgrades.
  • Buy technology that makes sense for your company. One major mistake we see business owners make is buying laptops that don’t meet their business’s needs simply because they feel they have to. This can be a similar situation for other hardware such as servers, firewalls, and more. Make sure you are planning for technology purchases to ensure you are so you can get the right equipment.

Communication tools

Communication and collaboration tools have become essential to operating a hybrid workforce. Many businesses purchased a solution early in the pandemic – but is that technology the best fit for your business? Businesses rushed to get a tool that would help them stay connected amid the pandemic, but a lot of those solutions were not vetted for how it would really work for the business long term.

FusionTek tips: To properly maintain your hardware needs in a remote work model, you should:

  • Simplify your tools if you can. There are plenty of options out there for your team to use but consider consolidating your communications tool if possible. For example, if you use the Microsoft suite maybe you should be using Microsoft teams?
  • Take your communication tools for remote work to the next level. Connect your phones to your communication tools so your employee’s home desk set up operates and feels like their office desk.

On-boarding and off-boarding protocol

One of the major issues businesses are dealing with in a hybrid work model, is on-boarding and off-boarding employees remotely. Obviously, the process for on or off boarding remote employees is very different than when an employee is in the office. Remote on-boarding or off-boarding involves shipping equipment, taking down or setting up permissions, and ensuring their home office follows your company policies.

FusionTek tips: Here are a few ways you can minimize the pain and optimize your process of on-boarding or off-boarding remote employees from an IT point of view:

  • Have the equipment you need on hand. First step to simplifying this process is to have the technology you need to ship on hand. This saves you time in procuring equipment and gets your new employee up and running faster. Pro-tip: have laptops set up for use immediately after receiving them. When you do this, you can simply ship out the devices when a new employee comes on board.
  • Have a shipping process in place. Setting expectations and achieving those expectations are easier to do when you have process documentation to help your team get the technology out the door.
  • When off-boarding an employee, have a clear process documented and work with HR to ensure this followed. When employees leave or are let go, retrieving your devices is important. Have a clear set of protocols in place to get your technology back and ensure your team knows to remove their access from company accounts and data.

If your business needs assistance with maintaining the many new parts of their hybrid workforce, don’t be afraid to reach out to a local managed service provider. Managed service providers are much more equipped with handling the ins and outs of IT management. Even if you have an internal IT person, often these types of tasks can take a lot of planning and time to execute. Many MSPs are naturally more equipped to handle this type of IT management using their team of resources and can help you address the IT pain points that many hybrid workforces face.

If you are interested in learning more about how an MSP can assist your business, please feel free to reach out to our team directly.

Founded in 2007, FusionTek began with a mission to help small and medium-sized businesses get a real return on their technology investments. Since then, we have remained dedicated to providing state-of-the-art IT support, service and products that allow our clients to get ahead of the competition and achieve success.