While working from home opened a whole new world for professionals who crave flexibility, it also created a few hitherto unseen challenges. Important board meetings are now routinely interrupted by faulty internet connections. And even several years into the new “work-from-home norm,” there are still people who can’t seem to figure out how to take themselves off mute.
If you are going to operate in a primarily digital space, it’s important to provide your employees with the support they need to remain productive no matter where they decide to get their work done.
Having robust technical support can help make that happen. In this article, we take a look at what you need to do to develop the IT support your remote employees require.
Make Sure that IT Support Syncs Up with When Your People Work
This sounds simple, but the flexibility that is ingrained into the world of remote work makes it a little bit complicated. Many remote businesses allow their staff a high degree of flexibility, furnishing them with a workload and allowing them to tackle it at whatever time strikes their fancy.
This is an appealing work model that can help you attract talent. However, it can become complicated from an IT perspective. Mark in Toronto likes to work at night. Will he have the support he needs if an important work-related tool starts to crash?
There is also a time zone issue. Your team could be comprised of people from all over the world. They all should have access to the same level of IT support regardless of when they are working.
There are IT support firms that can provide you with around-the-clock coverage. If you are hiring in-house, you may think about establishing multiple shifts to coverage at all times that people will be working.
It’s pricey but so are productivity lags caused by tech failure.
Provide the Hardware Yourself
Did you know that only about half the people working from home today have equipment that is furnished by their employer? This may not sound like a big deal— everyone has their preferred devices these days anyway, right? But it can have a huge impact both for you and the employee.
Providing hardware makes it easier for you to perform routine maintenance and performance monitoring in a way that is appropriate and mutually agreeable. Your IT support team may have an easier time performing remote updating and troubleshooting when you own the device.
It’s also just good for the employee. They might not have great tech on hand at home. They shouldn’t have to drop hundreds, or even thousands of dollars to start working for you.
The Cloud is Your Friend
You can’t even overstate the benefits of the cloud from an enterprise perspective. It’s been a game changer since day one, but in the remote work environment, it’s vital. Cloud-based digital technology allows you and your IT team to make changes from one location that are then seen by everyone else on your staff as well.
If IT needs to perform an update or tinker around with the settings on a digital tool, they can do it on the cloud and ensure that the change takes effect everywhere that is applicable. It’s an efficient system, and the benefits extend well beyond the purview of IT, making it much easier for your teammates to collaborate with one another remotely.
Make Security a Priority
Malware and other cyber threats are among the biggest hindrances to remote collaboration. When you have everyone working within the same digital framework, your entire system is only as strong as its weakest leak.
That sounds like a truism, but it’s quite literal. For a hacker to gain access to your business’s key data, they don’t need to hack the CEO. If they can find an opening anywhere, it will usually give them access to everything. Many of the most infamous breaches in recent history happened after a low-level employee made a simple mistake.
To ensure that your business enjoys IT health longevity, train your employees on how to handle security-related concerns. Firewalls are great, but even basic mistakes can undermine expensive security infrastructure. Regular security training is a holistic way to ensure your business’s long-term IT health.
One effective way to manage cybersecurity in a remote work environment is to partner with a managed cybersecurity service provider who can ensure around-the-clock coverage and offer expert support to your team. This is particularly important as remote work arrangements can create IT support challenges due to the flexibility offered to employees in terms of working hours and location.
A standardized VPN (virtual public network) encrypts data while putting everyone on the same network. This happens organically in physical offices and is an important step in thwarting cyber security attacks. Many services allow you to standardize VPN amongst your remote staff to accomplish that same effect.
Allow Remote IT Takeovers
There are a couple of ways that IT professionals can provide support to your team. In one version, the IT pro troubleshoots with your employee through written or verbal communication. In this case, the employee is basically fixing their own problem while following the IT professional’s advice.
Usually, this will yield fruitful results eventually, but it can be a time-consuming way to get the job done. Fortunately, there is another way.
With an IT takeover, the tech professional essentially hijacks the troublesome computer, making changes remotely. This is unfailingly the quicker and more effective option, mimicking the level of support that you can get in person.