Enable home office. How do you do that?
In the current situation, employees' requests for home office options are becoming louder and louder. The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) also recommended creating home office options in April of this year (BBK recommendation for action). But this presents many companies with an unexpectedly big challenge.
In order to send employees to work from home, some requirements must be met:
- The employee must be provided with the technical means to be able to complete all tasks.
- The employee must have full access to all work-relevant data and systems.
- There must be simple communication options for internal and external communication.
- The security of the systems must not be compromised.
The right technology for the home office
The first step to working from home is providing the right technology. Of course, you can let your employees work on their own PC, but this has several disadvantages.
- You cannot ensure that the computer is adequately protected and that current anti-virus software is installed.
- Programs that may be required cannot be pre-installed, but must be installed and configured by the employees themselves.
- Requires connections, such as VPN, cannot be set up by the company.
- Your own PC offers a high level of distraction, which can reduce productivity.
You should therefore make sure to provide your employees with the technology they need. The easiest way to do this is with laptops. Laptops do not need to be set up separately and offer a high degree of flexibility. All necessary settings can be made by the company and required programs and systems can be pre-installed. Thanks to the built-in camera, speakers and microphones, which are now standard equipment, video conferences are also possible in order to maintain communication. A familiar and safe working environment can be created for your employees without much effort or expense.
Despite working from home, access to everything that is important
The most important prerequisite for effective work in the home office is access to all work-relevant files and systems. The correct implementation of this varies for every company. However, what always makes sense is to move files from local systems, hard drives and internal network storage to a cloud.
The keyword “cloud” sets off alarm bells for many people. But the fact that a cloud is not secure, or that the data is stored on some American servers without control over who has access to the data, is far from the truth. Storing in a cloud simply involves storing files on a server and making them accessible via the Internet. This can also be the company's own server, on which any measures can be taken to secure the server and the data.
However, the advantages of a cloud are obvious. The data is accessible to anyone who has permission to do so. A suitable backup system, such as our Veeam backup solutions, prevents data loss. It can also be tracked in a cloud who last made what changes to which files.
Enabling access to the cloud from the home office is then just a small step. If the cloud can be accessed from the Internet, employees only need your access data. However, this is not recommended if sensitive or particularly sensitive data is in the cloud. Then it makes more sense to limit access to the company's internal network and set up VPN connections or Remote Desktop.
The connection must not be lost
Despite spatial separation, communication must be maintained within the company and contact with potential customers should also be maintained as unrestricted as possible. The latter can be done relatively easily with company cell phones. But many people fear that internal communication will collapse. It is therefore important to provide employees with suitable systems and to take the right measures.
In order to keep an overview and discuss the completed and upcoming tasks, it is advisable to hold a short daily meeting. Microsoft Teams, which is included in the Microsoft 365 offer, is particularly suitable for this. Microsoft Teams not only gives you the opportunity to host video conferences with all the necessary functions, such as screen sharing and message chat, but also offers many other useful features. You can create task boards, link file systems, build an information system, integrate Azure DevOps, and much more. This means your internal communication is secured and can even be sustainably improved.
How do the systems stay secure?
There is often a fear that opening internal systems to the outside world will lead to many security problems. But here too, the right measures just need to be taken to avoid possible risks.
In addition to the generally applicable security measures, such as password security, using long passwords and automatically locking computers, which can be implemented relatively easily, securing communication channels is often the bigger problem. Nowadays, however, external access can be secured just as well as internally. The first step is to adequately secure the computers themselves. The best options for this are antivirus programs such as Panda Endpoint Protection. A secure connection must then be established, usually via VPN. Company-owned devices can be configured so that the VPN connection is established automatically and the device behaves as if it were directly connected to the network, just like in the office. This also means that private use of the devices can be prevented.
As you can see, it doesn't take much to enable your employees to work from home. We would be happy to support you in each of the necessary steps. If you don't have your own resources for setting it up, please take a look at our offer for the home office complete service. We take care of all the steps to make your company ready for home office, individually tailored to your needs.