Working from home on laptop with dog

Working Remotely with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

With the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), remote work is going to become a thing. There is no reason a business needs to completely shut down their business because their staff can’t come to work. Below are some ways you can prepare now for remote workers so your business can keep running.

1. Remote Access

Remote access is going to be the easiest way to have remote workers. There are several platforms out there that you can install on each computer where the staff can log into their computer as usual and do their job from their home computer.

The only thing you want to double-check and make sure is that you have enough bandwidth to handle everyone. Most of these days, we do have high-speed internet at our offices that have a decent amount of bandwidth. However, you may have a lower plan to save some money with your internet provider. You may have to upgrade that plan with a little more bandwidth, so you don’t have issues with remote access.

Microsoft Remote Desktop – If you have a Windows computer that has Pro Edition, you automatically have Microsoft Remote Desktop built-in. By default, Microsoft Remote Desktop only works on one port or connection, but you can configure it to work with different ports so multiple users can log into their computers on the same network.

We highly recommend setting up a VPN as well to make a secure connection before using remote desktop publicly. While you don’t need to have a VPN, it is better security to login to the VPN first and then remote desktop. Most routers have OpenVPN features built-in. If you have a Microsoft server in your office, you can also set that up for VPN access.

Microsoft Remote Desktop is the cheapest way to get set up for remote access. The other options below require a monthly or yearly subscription.

LogMeIn – Logmein has been around for a while, and they provide remote access to computers via their app. Your staff members will log in to their LogMeIn account on their home computer and then click their computer to access a desktop remotely.

TeamViewer – TeamViewer is another option, just like Logmein, that allows your staff to log in to their accounts to access their PC.

2. Dedicated file storage

Windows Server – Depending on your setup, you have several options. If you have a Windows server the powerful enough to handle remote workers, you could get a remote desktop services license where users can log and access documents just like at the office. RDS is very similar to using Microsoft Remote desktop above. However, it would be best if you had a powerful server to handle a lot of users.

Dropbox / Google Drive – Dropbox and Google are also good options for you. However, sharing and permissions can get a little complicated. If your organization has documents that are for everyone, Google/Dropbox will work fine. You could have set up a central area where all the documents are located and share them with your staff.

Both platforms have the availability to limit access to individual folders, but it gets a little tricky, depending on the plan you have.

Synology NAS – Synology is a company that sells network area storage devices that have an excellent interface for users to log in and access their files. You can also set up user permissions to prevent some users from accessing folders they’re not supposed to obtain. This unit would have to be installed somewhere, such as your office, and set up so your staff can log in to the device via a web browser to access documents and complete their task.

2. Communication

Communication is a core part of a business. Luckily there’s a lot of software platforms out there that can still allow you to communicate with everybody.

Zoom – Zoom is great for video chats. You can set up your meetings with your staff to talk over video or voice only if they do not have a webcam. This way you can, continue having your Monday meetings can everyone can still be on the same page. 

You can also use Zoom to have meetings with your clients remotely. It’s super easy to use and very user-friendly.

Google Hangout – Hangout is similar to Zoom, where you can do video and audio conference calls with others. Hangout is another option to do team meetings and client meetings. 

Slack – Slack is a platform that allows you to have text-based communication, and you can set up different channels (or groups). Let’s say you have your sales team, your marketing team, HR, etc. You can set up different channels for each part of your organization, and you can restrict others from accessing different parts. So let’s say your HR department wants to have their channel private where they can communicate with each other without having someone from sales and marketing accessing it. They can keep everything confidential and their channel where they can chat about stuff that needs to get done. You can also have a channel called everyone where people with an organization can communicate about what needs to be complete. A channel can set up for each part of your organization. You don’t want your sales team to be talking on the channel everyone and have their messages get lost. You want a dedicated channel just for them.

3. Password sharing

Lastpass is an excellent solution if you want to share passwords within your organization to everyone. This way, if someone updates a password, it is updated with everyone in the organization. You can also restrict access or not even show the password to the shared accounts. 

1Password is another provider for password sharing that you may use. I use and prefer LastPass. However, I have some friends who prefer 1Password. 

4. Document Collaboration

One thing about being in an office is you can go to someone’s desk to work on a document together. The great thing is this is still possible remotely. Tools like Google Docs, Office 365, and Dropbox Paper allow you to work on documents along with your coworkers.

5. Project Management

ClickUp – ClickUp has become popular over the past year. It started as a task or project management system and has grown over the years. I highly recommend this one for your task & project management needs. One of the most significant advantages of ClickUp is how it integrates with a lot of other SASS solutions. You most likely use something that already integrates with ClickUp.

Basecamp is the elder in the task and project management world. They’ve been around the longest and are the most seasoned. They may not have all the features ClickUp has but their simple to use interface keeps your coworkers from getting lost and confused.  

Give us a call to discuss what is the best method for your business.

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