Google “Remote Working FAQs”, and the 352 million results that come up will show you just how interested people are about this topic right now! But it makes sense, given the times we are facing.
So many organizations are scrambling to find ways to rapidly implement remote working capabilities in an effort to protect their employees and customers. Unfortunately, it seems that a number of organizations weren’t prepared for the need to move their workforce to a remote working model. Now that it’s become mandated in several areas, we’ve seen several organizations who weren’t too sure how to get started with implementing remote working.
ProServeIT’s recent Remote Working 101 and Remote Working 102 webinars were a chance for our attendees to ask questions about remote working, especially during this uncertain time. For this blog, we’ve compiled the top 5 questions from those webinars and provided the answers below, however, feel free to check out our new eBook for more remote working FAQs.
So, What Are the top 5 Remote Working FAQs?
Q1: Remote working got thrown on a lot of people, with some governments all but demanding social distancing and isolation, and a lot of organizations weren't prepared to shut down their office space, but they were forced to do so. What are some of the precautions these organizations can take if they are using their own personal devices to sign into Office 365 or to sign into other document sharing or document collaboration tools?
A1: First and foremost, you should look at ways to be able to control access to your shared devices. Unfortunately, as people have been thrust into this remote working environment, a lot of the security policies and procedures that would normally have been put in place have not. Mobile devices and laptops should be secured, and ideally you would want to implement a solution as fast as possible, so that you can limit the amount of intellectual property that is leaving your organization's control - which can happen when you don't put something in place to protect it.
One of the easiest things you can do right now, and something that you’re able to turn on fairly quickly, is to enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA would definitely be a great solution to restrict access to the potential for external entities to be able to access your tenant, or to access your environment. MFA greatly reduces that risk, and, at ProServeIT, we have implemented MFA for all of our employees and contractors to ensure that we are securing our tenant and environment.
If you want to be able to control your devices outside of your office, products such as Microsoft Intune will be able to help you to control your work environment on handheld devices. At ProServeIT, we implemented Intune, which allowed us to ensure that our corporate data is kept separate from personal data. In addition to that, Intune has the added benefit of ensuring Windows updates on Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 devices, and ensuring you have security and encryption in place for all corporate data while residing on personal devices. The good thing about Intune is its quick turnaround times to get implemented – contact us for more information.
Q2: Are there any recommendations around how to get employees who are working remotely to collaborate on documents?
A2: Yes, of course. Document collaboration is one way to ensure that your employees can stay productive at work, and there are a number of great collaboration tools that organizations can utilize at this time.
At ProServeIT, we are a primarily Microsoft shop, and we're using the entire Microsoft Suite of services which includes Microsoft Teams – a very effective collaboration platform that our team is using to its full extent, including Enterprise Voice, IM and chat, and document collaboration and co-authoring.
With Teams, you can drop documents right into Teams, and create different folders and structures in it, which allows you to control who as access to the content being shared. In addition to this, you can also integrate your own OneDrive or SharePoint document libraries into your Teams platform and get access to all your documents. This only takes a few simple clicks of the mouse to turn on, and you can easily start using it within a few minutes.
Q3: A lot of people are scrambling to implement tools, and they're not always thinking from the end-user perspective when they do so. Can you address the change management or training piece? Is there any advice or best practices that you would recommend with regard to training?
A3: When it comes to training, it is important to think about how these implementations are going to impact end users. It is very important that you set up these tools and solutions correctly from the first time you use them, otherwise you’ll get what’s called “sprawl” – a messy situation where you don’t always know who has access to what or when your employees are accessing your content. So, as part of our Teams 48-hour Deployment offer for new Teams customers, we’ll help you set up Teams with this in mind, and ensure that you’re not going to wind up with any messy situations later on.
With regard to training people on how to use these new tools, Microsoft has a number of help and how-to documents that they provide with their Office 365 subscriptions that are available through their Office 365 Training Centre. Customers can use this link to see all the training documents and videos that are available, from learning the basics of SharePoint or Teams, to accessing Quick Start Guides, to getting more out of your Office apps.
In addition to these resources, ProServeIT has created a Teams User Manual page for remote workers who aren’t as familiar with Microsoft Teams. On this page, we’ve provided a variety of content that can help walk new users through how to use Microsoft Teams.
Q4: How do you keep people engaged and happy? Are there some teamwork apps, or something that could potentially assist with keeping people engaged and happy while they are remote working?
A4: This is a very good question, especially during this time of social distancing! To answer it, let’s take a look at a few things that ProServeIT has implemented, in an effort to keep our remote workers engaged.
First, our President, Eric, implemented "Social Time" – a standing half-hour Microsoft Teams meeting at 5pm that anybody in the company can join and just talk about some of the personal things we're doing during COVID-19. For instance, this standing call allows us a space to share stories about what we’re doing to keep ourselves occupied while self-isolating, discuss issues we’re having, things we’re struggling with, or things that we’ve found has helped to alleviate loneliness and anxiety. We talk about movies or shows we’re watching, how our kids or animals are coping with our enforced social distancing, share tips and tricks on keeping healthy and active, and much more.
For us, Teams provides a platform where, not only are we able to talk and text, but we can also utilize the video function to be able to interact face-to-face with our colleagues and coworkers. So, the second thing that ProServeIT has done is to move most of our meetings to video meetings. This face-to-face interaction has allowed us to feel more connected to our colleagues, and these interactions have been an important part of keeping employees engaged and happy and addressing mental health concerns as well.
In addition to this, Teams also provides the document collaboration and co-authoring capabilities that we, as an organization with offices around the globe, and a number of our workforce choosing to remote work, heavily rely on. As mentioned above, ProServeIT is a Microsoft shop, so we are utilizing Teams, SharePoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and other Office 365 built-in document collaboration and document co-authoring tools to ensure that we are able to view, open, and work on documents at the same time.
Q5: What are some next steps that people can take? Are there any best practices or next steps that you would recommend?
A5: One of the first things that people can do is to take part in our 5-minute Remote Work Readiness Assessment survey, which would help them to understand how ready their organization is to move their employees to a remote working model. Once they’ve filled out that survey, they’ll be matched with one of ProServeIT’s Business Development Managers, who can then go ahead and help that person to understand what they can do to quickly and efficiently get their employees switched over to a remote working model.
After that, of course, is helping implement Teams in your organization, and ensuring that we’re not only helping you move to Microsoft Teams, but also turning on the Voice component as well, so that you can use Teams for all of your communication and collaboration needs. As mentioned, Teams Enterprise Voice and Audio Conferencing can take your Teams use to the next level, and can provide you with a place where you can do voice and video calls, not only to those within your organizations, but to your customers, suppliers, partners, and other external users.
We’re also seeing a massive shift to work-from-home or remote working capabilities. Ultimately, at the end of the day, the ability to secure what organizations have in place will be paramount. Obviously, for most organizations (depending on the risk structure they’re following), getting productivity up and moving is priority number one, but this should be closely followed by securing your data and devices.
At ProServeIT, we can help you to plan out what this all looks like – give us a shout, and we’ll help you understand the various approaches that are open to you and our recommendations on how to secure your corporate data. We’re entering into uncharted territory here, but we are committed to helping you during this difficult time.
Helping Those Who Have Remote Working FAQs
We have entered unprecedented times, and at ProServeIT, we completely understand how tough it is on organizations who are scrambling to try and find ways to meet remote working demands for their workers. We want you to know that you’re not alone – we’re here to help!
As mentioned above, ProServeIT’s recent Remote Working 101 and Remote Working 102 webinars were a chance for us to showcase some of the ways that we, at ProServeIT, have set ourselves up for remote working success! Check out both of these webinars on-demand to pick up tips and tricks on how you can do the same.
You can also check out other FAQs that we have received in our recent Remote Working FAQs eBook - we've compiled everything into one convenient document filled with great content for those organizations who find themselves struggling.
In addition to these webinars (and our Remote Working 103 webinar for IT professionals on utilizing Windows Virtual Desktop as a potential solution), ProServeIT has put together several COVID-19 Resources for organizations who are requiring a shift in the way they do things. We've got several potential solutions, such as our Microsoft Teams User Manual for Remote Workers, or our 48-Hour Accelerated Teams Deployment for new users.
Plus, check out our free eBook on remote working FAQs:
If you’re still not finding what you’re looking for, give us a shout. We’re here for you.