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Remote working is no longer a perk or a benefit for those with negotiating power - it’s a necessary tool used to maintain a productive team in today’s digital age. If you're just starting to enable remote working in your organisation, there are a few key prerequisites that this guide will help you address.

Infrastructure

Your workforce will need to access critical business systems from wherever they may be on any device that they choose. So, your first step to enabling effective remote working is to ensure that you have the right infrastructure in place to support it.

Remote working will place an extra burden on your current infrastructure; therefore, it is paramount to consider this going forward - how will we handle this extra load?

This question can have several different answers, however from a high level there are a few key components that you must consider. For example, have you migrated to the Cloud? If you haven't, now might be the right time to consider becoming more 'cloud mature' in your IT approach as it has many benefits, including supporting remote working.

In addition, you need to consider how you are going to ensure your applications are accessible throughout your working hours. Keeping downtime to a minimum is essential, therefore it is paramount to plan how you will 'keep the lights on' to enable your workforce to carry out their jobs remotely.

The best way to approach this is through system and application monitoring to ensure there are no unwanted surprises.

You should also have plans in place for the following:

  • Who will maintain your infrastructure?
  • What will you do if your critical infrastructure is stretched thin or you face bandwidth limitations?
  • How will you deal with updates?
  • How will you deal with any potential downtime?

We can help you to answer these questions and get you started with building your Modern Workplace. Discover more here.

Direct Access

Do you currently have a virtual private network (VPN)? Your colleagues will need to access material from any location when working remotely, so it is important that they all connect to a shared private network in order to possess intranet connectivity.

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Enabling Direct Access will allow for remote users to connect to network resources without the need for a traditional VPN, as it is more secure, convenient and advanced. You may also want to consider investing in other infrastructure areas such as Remote Desktop Services (RDS) for examples – which enables session based sharing capabilities - depending on your requirements.

Security

Now that you have decided what your infrastructure should look like, how you want it to perform and how you intend on maintaining it, the next step is to make it secure.

One of the most common concerns that businesses have with remote working is based on the security of the connection - can you really trust that your data will be safe? With the right security, yes you can.

Data is the most valuable asset that we have, we must do all we can to protect it, so ensuring a safe and secure connection for your remote workers is paramount.

Tto achieve this, you must first ensure that your current workflows are optimised for working from home. Once this has been established, the next order of business is to address how to make your connection secure - this can be done through your VPN as previously mentioned, but also with the use of an effective firewall.

Are you able to confidently answer the following questions?

  • Will your current security measures stop confidential information from falling into the wrong hands?
  • Is your current workflow optimised for remote working?
  • Do your organisations employees have the right permission levels for the systems they’ll be accessing?

If you can answer yes to all the above questions, then it is time to move on to the next step and start considering which file sharing tool you would like your remote workforce to use. If you’re unsure on any of the questions above, we are able to guide you with the right Microsoft tools for remote teams.

File sharing

In the new age, where your workers will be remotely accessing a central repository of valuable and important data, it is paramount to explore safe filesharing solutions. This will enable your teams to collaborate and share their work, without the persistent panic that your confidential documents or discussions are at risk.

Tools such as SharePoint Online for example, is ideal for providing you with this functionality, enabling you to create your own file shares and providing your remote workers with secure access to them wherever they are.

Discover the right digital tools to empower your business and employees

You should offer training to your workforce on how to access and use your chosen file sharing tool in order to maximise its effectiveness and your workforce’s productivity. So…

  • Do you have a tool to allow a central repository of documents and files that your workforce can access?
  • Are users able to upload and download files freely?
  • Will the files that have been shared update real time to allow for productive working?
  • Have your users received the correct training to enable them to utilise all the capabilities of your file sharing solution?

Get started with SharePoint Online today – the first block to building your successful Modern Workplace.

Communication

Communication in any successful organisation is key.

Before working remotely beings, you need to ensure that you can provide the tools to ensure effective communication and collaboration. This will boost productivity and employee morale – working remotely can get a bit lonely!

Solutions, such as Microsoft Teams, have been developed with collaboration in mind. They enable virtual or video meetings, send instant messages, see their colleague’s status' and create central repositories of information that everyone assigned to that team can access.

In the new world of remote working, a complete collaboration tool like Microsoft Teams is vital to ensure a coherent and productive working environment.

Once you have your new communication tool in place, you must offer training to your workforce on how to use the solution to its full capabilities in order to maximise its value.

Getting started 

It's easy to build your modern workplace - if you know what you're doing. To help out, we've created a guide to the tools you may need to go digital. Check it out below.

If you have any more queries then please get in touch. We can help you in the next steps to becoming a modern workplace and enabling a remote workforce.

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