Implementing and sustaining a successful remote solution, is not straight forward, a stark reality that companies are now being faced with amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
Charlie Dawson, Channel Director of IMSCAD Global tells us more about enabling an efficient workforce through remote working.
How can you ensure your business gets it right to minimise the disruption being caused by Coronavirus, understanding what a Remote Working Solution can offer your business both in the short and longer term is a great place to start!
In this piece, I will show you the benefits of a remote working solution and help you ascertain the best steps you need to take, to ensure remote working works for the business, a key element in this, is that it works for your employees, this will be something a large number of them have never done and may not want to do so making it a smooth transition for them will ensure the business experiences as little disruption as possible.
As mentioned, Coronavirus or COVID-19 is the cause of disruption on a massive scale, across all industry sectors, some will be affected more than others, for many jobs, remote working is not an option, for office based, desk bound jobs, normal service can continue. It is clear now, for almost all businesses, staff will are already working at home. In an ideal world you would have a tried and tested remote working solution in place or at least at the ready as part of a Business Continuity or “Disaster Recovery” plan, to allow employees to perform as they would normally day to day in the office, at home or anywhere else for that matter.
There are several considerations to be made, not least cost, the type of remote working solution will determine this. Depending on the role of the employee some less expensive, less “technical” solutions will work for your business, for others using role specific, software applications, a more involved, technical, solution may be required to ensure these employees can work remotely with no issues.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) or RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) type remote working set up, can be, a relatively quick and cost-effective way of setting your employees up to work from home, for many cases this will work very well. The are issues when users are using more resource hungry applications, CAD (Computer Aided Design) type applications, on top of this, there can be issues with connection, RDP can be heavy on Bandwidth and with the whole family at home all trying to access content via the internet, it can prove frustrating.
Utilising virtualisation software, for example, Citrix, VMWare or Teradici PCOIP will give users a much better remote working experience, the options her are to, invest in servers and build your own on-premise environment, the big advantage of this is your data remains on domain and you retain control, the disadvantage, there is a considerable up-front cost and it can take a while to take delivery of hardware, particularly at the moment, everyone is in the same boat after all.
Or, you can “spin up” instances with a public cloud provider, Azure for example, this can prove expensive and complicated to set up, are the resources on offer going to be good enough for your applications? From experience managing the costs proves challenging and costs can spiral.
Another option, a bare metal server, DaaS (desktop as a service) option, sits somewhere between the two, as with the on-premise solution, you can provision bare metal servers to ensure optimum performance for your workloads, the difference being, these servers are hosted in the cloud. You can amortise the cost so you pay a, per user, per month cost, from experience and certainly with what is going on at the moment, this is the fastest method to set up and will take care of your immediate need for remote working as well as provide a viable long-term alternative to workstations, so you can leverage all of the many benefits this sort of solution provides.
Once you have decided on the solution you want to implement, make sure your employees are equipped with everything they need and make sure you schedule regular virtual interactions, video conferencing and phone calls especially early on as it can take time to adjust to working away from the office, some employees will have only ever worked in an office.
For those new to homeworking the following advice will help with the transition:
Start your day as if you were going to the office, shower, take breakfast and dress appropriately, working from home is not an excuse to be lazy in this regard and it will set the tone.
Think of your home working environment as a dedicated workspace, it is now your office. If pets and children aren’t allowed in the office try to keep them away while you are working, if you can shut a door that will make this achievable.
Having said that, you need to be disciplined and remember that, just because you work from home doesn’t mean your available 24/7.
The hardware being used is worth taking into consideration, Dual screens have been shown to increase productivity
Using a Webcam for internal meetings etc. helps to maintain rapport with team members and will also help with customer engagements, face to face, all be it virtual, is always better than the phone.
List priorities for the day/week ahead, you will be able to review what you have accomplished, prioritise what you haven’t and share it all with team members.