7 IT Solutions for Supporting a Remote Workforce

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While it might seem like it has been years, it wasn’t too long ago that a majority of workers went to an office every day. As we know, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic changed that. Since last year, many companies have opted to work remotely — this trend will only continue to grow. Gartner recently forecasted that 51 percent of global knowledge workers and 32 percent of all workers would be remote by the end of 2021. 

Despite either reducing their physical office spaces or eliminating them, companies — including small business enterprises (SBEs) — must still provide IT support and services to their workforce if they want to continue business. This change in the workplace mindset has led companies to outsource more of their services or departments, such as call centers, customer service, and marketing. That also means outsourcing IT services and software development.

With SBEs saving money and seeing improvements in staff productivity, the number of remote workers is expected to continue and even grow. Gartner reports that by 2022, 31 percent of the global workforce will follow either a hybrid or a fully remote work model. This remote work trend provides SBEs with an excellent opportunity to review their IT infrastructures and practices and find innovations that will benefit their workforce and bottom line.

The Remote Workplace Can Thrive With These 7 IT Solutions

  1. Supply sufficient equipment. Companies should supply workers with company assets. When employees use their own devices, the potential for data security and compliance issues can only increase. Also, this keeps IT Help Desks already running out of capacity from having to support diverse operating systems and devices.
  2. Offer IT support 24/7. Remote workers can have different working hours than before. If SBEs keep IT Service Desk support open only during regular business hours, remote users may be caught out without help. That is why SBEs should deploy a 24/7 support model with remote IT access to users’ machines.

    This can be accomplished in-house by using automated workflows that route users to FAQs for minor problems. If this is not possible, SBEs can outsource IT Service Desk operations.
  1. Deploy Cloud Infrastructure Solutions. Companies no longer need to rely on physical in-office server-based technologies that they must maintain. Cloud solutions and providers offer a more comprehensive range of options housed in the cloud or hybrid models. From productivity platforms (Office 365), virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) products (Citrix), security solutions (real-time firewall updates, unsafe traffic protection), as well as backup and disaster data recovery, SBEs can now run their businesses without ever owning a server.

    Suppose a company hasn’t gone through a digital transformation like cloud migration yet. It can always continue to use the existing intranet or do proofs-of-concept with free options like Google Docs while they decide.
  1. Maintain security and compliance. Companies need to protect against hacks resulting in intellectual property and data loss when supporting remote workers. Remote staff can work from anywhere at any time of day or night. Using a virtual private network (VPN) can keep company data and Ips protected by masking IPs, encrypting traffic, and shielding against spying or spying tracking agents. It’s important to note that while using a VPN is legal in most countries, it’s not in countries like China and Saudi Arabia.
  2. Use cloud-based tools for collaboration and management. According to Gartner, the worldwide social software and collaboration market is forecast to total $4.5 billion in 2021, an increase of 17.1% from 2020. Staff may have used email and file share servers to collaborate when working from an office location.

    Accessing those via VPNs and remote access may be limited due to bandwidth issues. SBEs can help avoid these problems by deploying platforms like Microsoft Teams and SharePoint for file collaboration. Remote managers can use apps like Slack, Trello, and Microsoft Teams to control their staff’s progress.

    Keep in mind that free apps and services will have limits; Zoom’s free version, for example, only allows 40 minutes per group meeting. It may be better to look at a platform instead of an app.
  1. Train users on security protocols and new tools. Remote workers may be unfamiliar with security risks since their IT department took care of everything at the office location. All they had to do was create login credentials for their company computer. Ensure to train employees about security best practices, such as joining other Wi-Fi networks and avoiding phishing scams.

    These users may also be new to video conferencing and the apps needed to maintain communication. Ensure they have the support and knowledge they need to continue doing their jobs without putting company devices, data, and information at risk.
  1. Engage partners and solution providers when you need them. An SBE may not have all the IT expertise in-house, or their IT department may already be near or at capacity. Digital transformations can be as big or as small as needed to address a shift to a remote workforce. SBEs can use specialized apps for singular purposes or execute large-scale migrations to move all their infrastructure and productivity platforms to the cloud.

    One of the benefits of outsourcing (and cloud-based) models is scalability. Services and solutions are designed to grow as you grow, and providers offer either tiered or hourly rates that can fit your budget. A trusted partner, like a managed services provider (MSP), can help you navigate these options.

Finding the Best IT Solutions for Your Remote Team

By all indications, the remote workforce is here to stay. Whether you have your staff working offsite or in a hybrid fashion, ensure your emote teams have access to the right IT services and support to help them perform their jobs successfully and to keep your company thriving.

The experts at Calance can provide you with customized, scalable IT solutions that will help you achieve your goals and success based on your company’s exact requirements. Contact Calance today to learn more about the best IT solutions for your company and your remote team.