3 IT Tips for managing hybrid remote work post-pandemic
The sudden shift to remote work that started in March 2020 has essentially transformed the way organizations run their operations and manage resources. A viral infection that turned into a worldwide crisis led to businesses finding themselves operating in crisis mode with interrupted supply chains, employees unwilling to work from the office, and customers canceling orders and postponing work orders due to high levels of uncertainty. Scrambling to find solutions to survive, business leaders were left with no choice but to accept the new reality and embrace the digital revolution.
The lockdowns forced some companies to close doors, some for good. For those businesses that could stay open, however, the need to transition from traditional work environments to virtual offices was an urgent and imminent one. Needless to say, technological advancements of the past decade (virtual meeting rooms, and collaboration apps) in addition to accessibility of high speed internet and low costs of hardware necessary to equip remote employees with the tools needed to conduct business, allowed companies to quickly transform their business processes and maintain business continuity.
A year into the crisis, we now can expect some level of normalcy with the rollout of vaccines. However, the business community agrees that the way we work has fundamentally changed and there is no going back to everyone being at the office at all times. Though most companies expect to be back in the office and able to support 50% capacity by the end of 2021, there’s a huge change in attitude toward remote work. Many have downsized their offices and now are preparing for a hybrid model. Others have chosen to extend full remote work until the end of the year before they plan for 2022.
At OC IT Solutions, we’ve had the opportunity to help many small and mid-sized businesses transform their IT operations in order to facilitate a smooth transition to remote work for employees and a seamless experience for their customers. Now, a year after this massive shift in how our clients operate, it has become evident that many (employers and employees alike) wish to maintain this flexibility as they realize both the cost savings and the productivity gains as the direct result of this shift.
Lessons we learned from the pandemic:
A year after the start of the pandemic, we believe that remote work is here to stay. It’s true that the pandemic was an enormous, unexpected challenge that forced organizations to adapt and accelerate the path to digitization, but today, most forward-looking business executives agree that it was a blessing in disguise. Undoubtedly, it was a tough experience but it helped us learn many great lessons in such a short period of time and adapt quickly. In this great shift, we as the IT partner for many great companies got the opportunity to help our clients realize:
1- Remote Work Improves Employee Productivity:
The shift to remote work was a matter of safety and public health, yet many companies that used to be against working from home realized that employees can be just as productive working remotely if not more— even under the undesirable condition of having to learn new tools and new ways to get their work done.
In the rush to enable remote work, most companies have ended up with a hodgepodge of tools stringed together to get work done. Imagine how much more productive your workforce would be if they had a well integrated suite of products (some already included in your paid subscriptions) to utilize so they can get more done without the need to move data back and forth between disjointed applications.
2- A Modern IT infrastructure is The Backbone of Remote Work:
Boosted employee productivity and satisfaction are more than enough to have some companies continue to allow working from home once stay-at-home orders begin to ease up. To do this, companies will increasingly lean on cloud applications and services to allow remote workers to stay productive without coming back to office and access the corporate resources they need to do their jobs. Some organizations may even be good candidates for migrating to cloud and doing away with the expensive upgrades of on-premise servers every few years.
3- Cyber Security: Stopping Cyber criminals from exploiting potential weaknesses in various components of your Remote Access System.
As we embrace the new normal, it’s vital to build and maintain a secure IT infrastructure to connect remote employees to the company’s networks and servers. Unfortunately, we have come across a few companies who ended up using VPN (Virtual Private Network) to allow unsecured and untrusted home PCs direct access to office networks, which means at any time if a users’ home PC gets infected, the malware or virus could practically bypass the Firewall and infiltrate the office network and server(s). There are better ways to securely allow remote access without exposing the network.
It is time now to take a deeper look at what changes were made and build security into the fabric of this extended network by having the correct tools and strategies in place to defend every endpoint against every type of attack. As a Cybersecurity focused IT consulting and managed IT Services firm, OC IT Solutions has helped many clients meet strict federal Cybersecurity compliance standards. We have utilized 20 years of experience in Cybersecurity to design a well protected remote work system with the goal of making things easier for employees to do their job and harder for intruders to get in.
Wondering where your systems are in terms of security or if you are a good candidate for migrating to cloud? Simply schedule a free no obligation video consultation.