Allowing your employees the option and flexibility to work remotely can be a great asset to your business continuity plan. Covid-19 has changed life as we know it including how we do business.
So, what does this mean for you? No doubt, you have already found your employee needs changing quickly. While some businesses are seeing consistent falls, others are picking up speed quickly or fluctuating month by month.
A virtual office can keep your employee’s workflow consistent, productive, and flexible in an unstable time. We will define five essentials to enable your employees to work remotely such as cloud storage, virtual collaboration, virtual phone systems, adding another layer of security, and more. We are unsure what the future will hold, but we do know it will require flexibility, and technology can provide that for you.
#1 - Connect
Internet connection is your bread and butter to a virtual office. Most employees will have internet access, but you also need to consider the speed and the quality of the connection.
Before you start sending employees to work from home, make sure your employee’s connection have an upload/download speed of at the bare minimum of 10 Mbps. Nearly the entire U.S. (99%) has access to 10Mbps internet speeds .
You can use this link to test your internet speed:
There are several ways to ensure the best internet connection and speed. One method is using a wired connection whose benefits include optimal speeds, reduced latency, and a more stable connection than Wi-fi connection.
Pro Tip: For a stronger connection, attach an ethernet cable from the computer to the router and remove unnecessary devices, such as mobile devices, from the network. If the computer does not have an ethernet port (Wired Connection), you can purchase adapters to help enable to best experience.
#2 - Protect
Unfortunately, the pandemic has not slowed down cybercrime, and in fact it’s dramatically increased. To have a secure business network, you normally have physical equipment such as servers, switches, firewalls set up in the office to protect and store data.
How can employees connect to the company’s network securely from home? A solution for remote security is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN secures your connection by creating a private "tunnel" to connect to your business network by using internet at home.
What Does a VPN Protect?
- Browsing history
- IP Address & Location
- Your devices
- Your internet activity
Pro Tip: Using an ethernet connection with your VPN is the best way to prevent lagging on your connection
#3 - Access
The cloud is key to a successful Virtual Office. Cloud storage such as SharePoint or OneDrive allows your employees easy access to files they need without having to be in the office. Cloud storage eliminates the hassle of finding documents by providing secure access and syncs across any of their devices.
Employees can continue collaboration as they would in the office by using the cloud to work on the same documents at the same time, making productivity more efficient. Another plus with cloud storage is automatic file backups which reduces the risk of lost data.
Pro Tip: It is easier to use OneDrive on your Local Desktop vs the Online Version to edit and create files. Help Article on OneDrive Desktop
#4 - Communication
Communication is key to any successful business and without the right tools, working remotely can put a strain on communication. One great tool is Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams makes it easy for employees to stay connected and productive.
One of the features of Teams is the ability to create channels for specific departments or employees. It eliminates the need for long confusing email chains in a clean organized platform to effectively communicate to all the employees involved in a project. Microsoft Teams syncs with all your cloud apps and files which makes it easy to integrate everything you need into one window.
Voice and video calling are a breeze whether you are conducting a virtual meeting or working with a smaller team on a project, a conversation is only a click away.
Microsoft Teams Tip : Survey the group with polls
Pro Tip: If you do not see the Forms icon, click “Messaging extensions”, then “more options” , and then select “Forms”. Instead of typing a question into a channel, why not use a poll to gather feedback more efficiently? Click the Forms icon below the message box to create and send a poll in Teams. More Tips
#5 - VoIP
Voice over IP is another way to stay connected, especially with customers. VoIP allows you to use cell phones to make and receive calls as office phones. Voice over IP is a simple term for phone service over the internet which makes communication with customers and coworkers possible from anywhere.
Empower your employees and customers with a simple cloud-based communications hub. Call, text, fax and control communications from one app, accessed in an internet browser.