19 Mar Work From Home Survival Guide
In this article I want to give you a few resources that we recommend to allow you and your team to work efficiently from home, and how you can prepare yourself for the future if we are ever faced with something like this again. If you have these tools in place already, then we can help you start to use them if you aren’t already. If you don’t have them in place, then let’s talk about the steps needed to get you going.
#1 Office 365
First and foremost, if you don’t already have Office 365, we recommend it for your email and collaboration platform. The versions we recommend include a hosted exchange service which keeps all of your email, calendar, tasks, and contacts in one place, and syncs them seamlessly across all of your devices, and makes them accessible via any web browser. This is the starting place for an efficient communication and organization platform for your business. The cost is $5.00/month/user without desktop versions of office, and $12.50/month/user with desktop versions of Office.
#2 Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is an amazing collaboration and communication tool that is included with those two Microsoft Office subscriptions. It allows for instant chat between your team members, and multiple teams within your organization to collaborate on projects. It also includes internal calling, and video conferencing capabilities, so you can keep those staff meetings going. There is also an integrated app called “Shifts” that will allow you to schedule and track your employees time. The features and benefits of this platform are vast so I have created a short video that shows how we have been using Microsoft Teams for quite some time. Click below to watch the Video.
Zoom is a third party video conferencing platform that is an excellent tool if you need to have meetings with clients or vendors. There is a free version that will allow you to meet with up to 100 attendees, but it does cut off at 40 minutes (with no warning which is kind of frustrating). If you need to meet longer than 40 minutes, then the paid subscription is just $14.99/month. The platform seems to be rock solid and is widely used by many industries. In fact if you need to provide remote healthcare services, there is a 100% HIPAA compliant version that is $199/month. It is specifically designed for the telehealth industry.
#4 SharePoint and One Drive
SharePoint and One Drive are also included with Office 365. SharePoint is an intranet for sharing files across your organization, while One Drive is your personal cloud based storage. If you haven’t already migrated to cloud storage and file sharing this is a great time to start thinking about it. Having document libraries setup in SharePoint would allow you and your team to access files from anywhere edit them, and save back to the document library. SharePoint also tracks multiple revisions, and will prevent multiple users from accessing/editing a file at the same time. One Drive allows you to save files on your computer and access them from anywhere with an Internet connection as well. We can help you setup and start migrating files to the cloud if you are ready to get started. Here is a link to some SharePoint Features:
#5 Remote PC Access
In some cases, you just need to be able to access your computer at the office, and work just like you were sitting at your desk. This is particularly applicable if you have an on-premises file server where you save important documents. When you connect to your PC at the office, all the network resources such as mapped drives, printers, file servers, etc. are available to you. We offer a Remote PC service and it is included with our managed services offerings. Below there is a link to our Remote PC service, and our Managed Services Plans.
#6 VoIP Phone Service
VoIP is a voice communication system that can be extremely flexible for remote workers. With our system, workers who are typically sitting in the office, can literally take their phone to their house, connect it to the Internet, and make and receive calls just like they are at the office. While many customers are fine with using their cell phones, many others would prefer that their customers or clients did not have that number. VoIP allows you to make calls from anywhere with an Internet connection without giving up your mobile number. In addition to being able to move desk phones around, users can also setup a SIP app on their mobile phone, which essentially converts their mobile phone into an extension of their office phone system. If you don’t have VoIP then now is the time to switch. Here is a link to our VoIP service and to the BRIA app page.
If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to let us know.