Technology Elements to Consider in Transitioning to a Permanent Hybrid Work Model
Businesses are clamoring to establish best practices to appease an impatient workforce seeking assurances of, at the very least, a hybrid work model, or in many cases, the option to work entirely remotely.
A recent report from Upwork predicts 36.2 million workers, or 22% of Americans will be working remotely by the year 2025. This is an astonishing 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels.
With the COVID pandemic as an unanticipated trial run, businesses found that a few key tech elements must be in place for productivity to be high and security to be ensured. Let’s discuss three of the most important ones.
Acceptable Internet connectivity speed at the employee’s location
Minimum connection requirements for internet services only come to mind for many people when they watch a site take seemingly forever to load or deal with a lag while on a Zoom call. But an employee needs to be mindful of whether their remote location has enough internet speed to fulfill their task requirements, even if it’s a hybrid work setup.
To accomplish basic online tasks, here are the minimum internet speeds that you can use for one person working from home like you:
- At least 10 Mbps download speed per person
- At least 1 Mbps upload speed per person
Not every work or productivity app requires a high bandwidth connection. If you’re simply typing into Slack or returning emails, even a low-grade connection (like wifi in an airport) should do just fine. Stepping up to voice and video chat, though, might severely test your patience.
You’ll need at least 8 Mbps of download speed for each person in your household who will be using Zoom, Teams, or similar video conferencing software. 8 Mbps per person ensures that your conferencing application has enough breathing room to catch up without freezing you mid-sentence.
Choosing the right internet plan
When your employees are choosing the right internet plan for their remote work access, they need to consider the online habits of everyone who will be using the internet. First of all, how many people are in the household? The more people, the faster speeds you will need in order to accommodate everyone who may be working, learning, scrolling, or playing using that connection. Secondly, even a single person on a connection must consider how many devices will be connected to the internet at one time. Some employees might be working with a range of equipment, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs, and smart home devices, such as Google Home.
Don’t allow your employees to consider their home internet connectivity in a bubble. On a typical work day, they need to ensure that they have enough download speed to accommodate all who may be in the home, all of the many devices that will be pulling from the connection at any given time, and the intensity of download strength that their work applications might need.
Reliable Hybrid Work Access Solutions
Hybrid work access software solutions let one computer view or control another computer, not merely across a network but from anywhere in the world. Remote access apps let you access your home or office computer from another location, or allow others to access some or all of your files as if they were actually sitting in front of your PC instead of a remote location. Many even let you access a remote PC from your phone or handheld device.
The two most common remote access solutions help employees reach in-office resources from remote locations, and help IT support reach remote workstations when problems inevitably arise.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
You can use Virtual Private Network (VPN) for workstation access for remote employees. A VPN uses encryption to protect company data as it passes through gateways, home routers, and other destinations in the transfer process from one employee or endpoint to another. Additionally, using a VPN requires authentication to ensure only approved remote users can access data.
Don’t become too trusting, though, for VPNs aren’t failsafe. Without proper maintenance and updates, bugs and other issues can potentially open an opportunity for bad actors to access and read even encrypted traffic.
When remote workers issue a distress call for IT help, a remote access program allows admins to access employee workstations wherever they may be located. The admin or user is then able to access the desktop as if they were in front of it—they can view and use applications, mapped drives, and other resources. You can accomplish all of these using secure encryption to protect in-transit data and authentication to ensure only the right users have access to specific devices. These solutions help prevent an employee from losing work time due to computer issues while allowing your IT team to keep a close eye on function and security with remote access.
When properly planned and implemented, secure and reliable remote access services provide the ability to work safely, effectively, and with full access to the necessary tools and company resources. Successful implementation requires deep knowledge of all aspects of IT, though. The Deskside team partners with many clients as they make educated decisions on the remote access solutions best for their particular employee and security needs.
Importance of cloud phone systems
Cloud phone systems are quickly becoming the indisputable choice for businesses with remote employees. With cloud-based phone systems, small businesses and large companies alike can operate with real-time voice calls over IP networks rather than being tethered to a traditional, analog phone line. In short, they provide all types of businesses with the most scalable and secure ways to communicate.
Not only are cloud-based phone systems more affordable than landlines, but they also offer employees greater flexibility (and mobility) with their ability to route calls. With VoIP, companies can place and receive calls from anywhere their network can connect – without any extra hardware. All they need is a computer, laptop, or cell phone to use their business phone system.
Unlike analog phone systems, setup and deployment of a VoIP phone system can be concluded in less than an hour. In a matter of minutes, most employees can begin using their new VoIP service simply by downloading an app. Most businesses can migrate their phone service from landline to digital in less than three weeks.
Special features and caller menus that landline-based companies have become accustomed to are also available in cloud-based systems.
Some options businesses can expect with a VoIP system include:
- Call recording to store phone calls and voicemails in the cloud.
- Auto attendants to direct callers to the right person or department with an intuitive phone menu.
- Call queuing to let multiple customers wait on hold while your team members process each call.
- Call forwarding to route calls to another number, team, or answering service when the right person is unavailable.
Not all cloud solutions are created equal, however – deskside can help you coordinate with a vendor who has an established track record of high uptime averages.
Technology is the key for a successful remote workforce, but responsibilities for dependable, adequate, and secure remote work systems lie with both the company and the employee. deskside can help you assess the best practices for your specific needs and help you fine-tune a remote work culture that keeps both your employees and your bottom line happy.