As the COVID-19 pandemic shifts the workforce to online, many employees and managers are learning to adapt to a new office space - their homes. This is the way of the future. While COVID-19 is making the move to remote work urgent, new Gartner research shows that by 2030, the demand for work-from-home will increase by 30%. But a new workplace poses new challenges. The Coronavirus is a major worry for all individuals and businesses. The good news is, it’s absolutely possible to nurture productive, engaged and thriving teams over the screen - but they need some stewardship to get up and running. Here are ten strategies to help keep you and your team productive through these periods of business disruption.
1. Communication & Collaboration Apps
- Microsoft Teams
With Teams you can collaborate using group chats, 1on1 chats, screen sharing, video/voice chat, file sharing and virtual white boards. Use this link to login. (Only available if you are on Office 365).
Slack is an excellent group chat and 1:1 chat app. We think Microsoft Teams is more powerful because you get video/voice chat and screen sharing, but Slack a very good option if you are not on Office 365. Use this link to login.
Zoom is a super easy and inexpensive way to meet with multiple people from outside your company. You can collaborate with screen sharing, video/voice chat and draw on the screen. Check out zoom here. (You can technically do the same with Microsoft Teams but Zoom is easier to use.)
Dialpad lets you move your phone system, conferencing and call centre to the cloud. Support your modern, mobile workers work from anywhere. You CAN still have a desk phone with Dialpad and use the phone system from the office, home or on the road using amazing noise cancelling headsets and a desktop/iPhone app. This is the final step to truly make your business location independent. Learn more about Dialpad here. (Reach out to us if you want to discuss a phone system migration).
2. Email Access
- Office 365 Webmail
Access your Outlook Mail, Contacts or Calendars from outside the office in any browser using this link.
- Office 365 Outlook Full Install
Install full Office 2019 and Outlook at home by: - Logging into Webmail - Click the Menu icon in the top left - Click "Office 365" - Click Install Office - Run the installer and follow the instructions
3. File Access
SharePoint was very complicated and clunky until 2018 when Microsoft began to power the file sharing using OneDrive and worked out most of the bugs. For companies that moved to SharePoint, you can access all your files by: - Logging into Office 365 - Click the Menu icon in the top left - SharePoint - Find your site - Click Documents - Click Sync to install the folder into Windows or just access files online. (For iPhone or android devices download the OneDrive app and login)
Egnyte is a powerful compliant cloud based file sync and share system. If Altitude IT migrated your file server into Egnyte, you can access all your files remotely by - Logging into Egnyte (You need to know your Egnyte Domain) - You can access all the Egnyte files online or if you want to install the Egnyte app for Windows: - Click the Apps & Integrations in the top right - Install Egnyte Connect to stream your files or Egnyte Desktop Sync to copy your files to your local computer (Not recommended because it will possibly blow up your hard drive due to space.)
- Virtual Private Network (VPN)
The traditional way to access your server share drives is using a VPN. If your company is still on the traditional file servers you can access all your files using VPNs and mapped network drives.
4. Computer Access
- Windows Virtual Desktop (RDS)
The best and newest way to run virtually is Windows Virtual Desktop which allows you to have a true Windows 10 desktop in the Microsoft Cloud which is accessible from any location and device in the world. If Altitude IT moved you to WVD please go here to install the WVD app or login via a web browser version here.
- Remote Desktop Server (RDS)
If your company has an RDS server setup, you can login to a virtual server based desktop and access all your company apps and files.
- Screen Connect
A free service we provide to all clients is the ability to access your office desktop by logging in here.
5. Home Setups
- Mirror Home Setups
We believe everyone should have a full computer setup at home that mirrors your work setup. The ideal work or home setup is: - 3 x 27" monitors mounted on a monitor arm - Wireless mechanical keyboard - Wireless mouse - Multi function printer/scanner - Full size desktop for maximum performance (but you can also get a docking station for your laptop and connect to the setup with one cord)
- Multiple Monitors
If you don't have the budget for a full mirror home setup, you should definitely still have at least two monitors at home to stay productive if you need to work from home.
6. Strategic Tasks Ideas
If your normal business operations are temporarily disrupted, there are plenty of things to do to keep your business moving forward and evolving.
- Technology Strategy Meetings (TSM)
Connect with Altitude IT to have your Technology Strategy Meeting and go over a “GoToMeeting” to review 140+ points of technology health and develop your 3 year road map for digital transformation.
- App Integrations
The future is integrating applications together to streamline your business process. Engage in Altitude IT’s professional services or work with your app consultants to map out and streamline your business operations.
- Team Performance Reviews
This may be a good time to do a yearly review for your team. You can use Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting or Zoom to meet remotely and there are now software packages that streamline and simplify the performance review process.
- Update Your Process Documentation
- This may be a good time to sit back and update your internal process documentation. Altitude IT offers an app called MyGlue to all clients for free which has a full knowledge base and company password manager. Take the time to document all your key processes so you can start to think about how to streamline them. (Examples: New hire onboarding, staff termination offboarding, monthly financial reconciling, yearly tax preparation, new client onboarding, new project kick-off, project close wrap up, client off-boarding)
- Update Your Handbook
This may also be a great time to review and update your handbook and convert it to an e-signature process. Please reach out to us to learn more about how to do that.
7. Organization Task Ideas
You can also do some long overdue organization work.
- Contacts Clean-up
Contacts can sprawl over time and get out of control. Clean contacts will make your work easier and make your sales and marketing efforts more effective.
- Files Clean-up
Take the time to reorganize your share drives and archive/purge old files. Please coordinate the reorganisation with your team and/or Altitude IT to make sure that you do not break anything
8. Sales & Marketing Progress
You can make some serious progress on sales & marketing tasks during times with less distractions.
- Sell Sheets/PowerPoints
The easiest tool to create sell sheets in is PowerPoint because you can easily manipulate words/pictures, align things correctly and export to PDF and keep the picture quality high.
- Social Media Posts
Social media can be powerful for many businesses. Take the downtime to create your pages and upload pictures of your work. Then schedule a once a week recurring Outlook appointment to remind you to post if you are not the active social media type
- Website Content
Downtime also creates the perfect opportunity to tweak your website content or kick off a redesign.
9. Business Books That Can Supercharge Your Business & Team
Downtime can give you some quiet time to read some powerful business books that can help both business owners and team members. Here are some books that made an impact on our company:
- Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
- The E-Myth Revised: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
- Get a Grip: How to Get Everything You Want from Your Entrepreneurial Business
10. Personal Task Ideas
If you have to spend periods of time in isolation or quarantine, here are activities to focus on while not working:
- Re-organise closets, drawers, fridge, freezer and don’t forget the garage.
- Arts and crafts activities for kids
- Traditional board games
- Roku and watch Hulu/Netflix/Disney Plus
- Clean-up filing cabinets and throw away old papers
- Home improvement enhancements (hang pictures, paint, mount mirrors, etc)
Distributed working actually gives you the chance to uncover any hidden performance, operational or cultural issues — it’s a chance to make your business more resilient. So whether it’s the coronavirus, bushfire smoke, weather events, carbon footprint, or something else that has you worrying about the workability of telecommuting, rest assured, you’re not alone. Disruption has a way of creating opportunity. Stay focused and positive. Use this time to explore new ways of working and revisit old assumptions – it could permanently transform your business for the better.
About Altitude IT
Altitude IT is a next generation Managed IT Provider serving companies nationwide. We specialise in helping companies go through a digital transformation to remove IT headaches so you can focus on achieving your business goals.
If you would like help to setup any of the strategies above, Altitude IT is here for you. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org for a super-fast response.