Enable home office. How do you do that?
In the current situation, requests from employees for home office options are getting louder and louder. In April of this year, the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) also recommended creating home office opportunities (Recommendation for action BBK). But this presents many companies with an unexpectedly large challenge.
In order to be able to send employees to work from home, certain requirements must be met:
- The employee must be provided with the technical means in order to be able to complete all tasks.
- The employee must have full access to all work-related data and systems.
- There must be simple communication options for internal and external communication.
- The security of the systems must not be impaired.
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 with their own PC, but this has several disadvantages.
- You cannot ensure that the computer is adequately protected and that up-to-date antivirus software is installed.
- Programs that may be required cannot be pre-installed, but must be installed and configured by the employees themselves.
- Required connections, such as VPN, cannot be set up by the company.
- One's own PC offers a high level of distraction possibilities, which can reduce productivity.
So you should make sure to provide your employees with the technology they need. The easiest way to do this is with laptops. Laptops do not have to be set up separately and offer a high degree of flexibility. All necessary settings can be made by the company and the required programs and systems can be preinstalled. Built-in cameras, loudspeakers and microphones, which are now part of the standard equipment, also make video conferences possible in order to maintain communication. A familiar and safe working environment can be created for your employees without great effort and expense.
Despite working from home, access to everything that is important
The most important requirement for effective work in the home office is access to all work-related files and systems. The correct implementation varies for each 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. But the fact that a cloud is not secure, or that the data is stored on some American server with no control over who has access to the data, is far from the facts. Saving in a cloud only means that files are stored on a server and are accessible via the Internet. This can also be the company's own server, on which any measures can be taken to backup the server and the data.
However, the advantages of a cloud are obvious. The data is accessible to anyone who has the right 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 which change to which files.
Enabling access to the cloud from the home office is then just a small step.If the cloud can be reached from the Internet, the employees only need their access data. However, this is not recommended if there is sensitive or particularly sensitive data 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 in the company and contact with potential customers should be maintained as unrestricted as possible. The latter can be done relatively easily with company cell phones. But many fear that internal communication will collapse. It is therefore important to provide employees with suitable systems and to take the right measures.
To keep an overview and to discuss the processed and pending 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 hold video conferences with all the necessary functions, such as screen sharing and a 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. In this way, your internal communication is secured and can even be sustainably improved.
How do the systems stay secure?
There is often a fear that opening up the internal systems to the outside world will lead to many security problems. But here, too, only the right measures must be taken to avoid possible risks.
In addition to the generally applicable security measures, such as password protection, using long passwords and automatically locking the computer, which can be implemented relatively easily, securing the communication channels is often the bigger problem. Today, however, external access can be secured just as well as internal. The first step is to adequately secure the computers themselves. Antivirus programs such as Panda Endpoint Protection are best suited for this. A secure connection must then be established, usually via VPN. Company-owned devices can also be configured in such a way 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. In this way, private use of the devices can also be prevented.
As you can see, not much is needed to enable your employees to work from home. We would be happy to support you in each of the necessary steps. If you do not have your own resources for the setup, please take a look at our offer for the home office complete service. We take care of all the steps to get your company ready for the home office, individually tailored to your needs.