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It's not too late: Implementing an effective remote workplace


With the protections necessary during the coronavirus pandemic, the virtual workplace has become the new normal. Some companies are more prepared for the shift than others, but options exist for every organization. While the shift to a remote work strategy for an undetermined amount of time may seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be.

Establishing a comprehensive, collaborative platform

A key element of a remote work strategy is the maturity level of the technology infrastructure. If a company is already working in the cloud, a transition to a virtual environment is typically more efficient, but web-based options are also available. 

For example, Microsoft Teams is a workplace collaboration hub that is part of the cloud-based Office 365 platform. While it is a cloud application, companies that are not in the cloud are able to immediately utilize Teams on the web for communication and collaboration while a more extensive transition to the cloud takes place.

Back-office functions such as payroll and billing are a key part of doing business, and they can all be relegated to the cloud effectively with the right level of security. In fact, most functions other than production and manufacturing tasks can be transitioned to the cloud, and therefore, moved to a true remote environment. Even calls and faxes to a main office phone number no longer require on-premise devices; instead, they can be routed to remote devices with a few clicks.  

Productivity solutions such as Teams can create an extensive level of mobility for users to explore and embrace. The only barrier is the level of access to files and systems companies choose for their employees to adopt and utilize the technology.  

In addition, Teams offers extensive video conferencing capabilities, enhancing connectivity with fellow employees and clients. Many remote work strategies do not have a video element, but a longer-term virtual environment needs video options to be successful.  

One consequence of the rapid shift to a mobile workforce for companies worldwide is a significant shortage of laptops. The Teams platform certainly works on laptops, if they are available, but it also works on other mobile devices, whether an employee has access to a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.   

Initiating a quick, safe transition

With the right help, transitioning to a mobile workforce within Teams can literally be done overnight. For example, we recently created an environment for hundreds of users and loaded the necessary licenses and policies in a matter of hours. In a matter of time, with the right direction, companies can have access to extensive productivity tools. Security and any regulatory requirements may take longer, but the basic elements can be established quickly.

Most importantly, in the current environment, Teams can be fully implemented remotely. Neither a company representative nor a consultant needs to be on-site to establish a fully remote platform. 

Creating a framework for current and future needs

While the current, large-scale transition to a remote environment could not have been projected, those that embrace a mobile workforce now will be better prepared in the future. Whether it’s the coronavirus or a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, work disruptions will happen, and implementing a remote framework now will likely enable a quicker response the next time around.

For now, the adoption of a mobile workplace is almost a necessity to keep most industries running. Luckily, opportunities are available to quickly change how companies work and keep employees productive and, most importantly, safe.

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