Working from home is the new normal after the coronavirus disrupted how businesses carry out their operations. But because this adjustment was forced and abrupt, many aspects of how a company operated needed to be changed. One notable department that has experienced considerable stress with the remote employees today is the IT department. This is primarily because most companies didn’t have the necessary IT infrastructure to enable remote working. Due to this challenge, IT managers and teams needed to change the network infrastructure to offer remote workers the necessary technical support.
Here are some ways to ensure remote workers receive the necessary technical support:
1. Provide 24/7 IT Support
When working from home, employees usually have a schedule that differs from what they observed while at the office. And when they experience an IT issue, for instance, a system crash, there should be an IT expert available to help them out. Without such, they won’t be able to work, which would affect their productivity. Therefore, it’s best to ensure there’s always a dedicated team of IT support staff who can be reached any time of day.
Offering 24/7 IT support is especially crucial if your company has a distributed workforce. This is because you’ll have remote workers spread across different time zones, and they’ll also be able to get technical support. Without it, they’ll be forced to wait until the in-house IT team in the standard time zone to be present to be able to work again.
Because providing 24/7 IT support is a challenge, many companies today are hiring a managed service provider. While paying for IT services in Boston and others will cost you money, your remote workers will be productive at all times and, in the long run, boost the company’s profitability.
2. Implement Strict Security Protocols
The frequency of cyberattacks is increasing as days go by, and it’s a trend that’ll further increase with remote working as the norm. This is because remote workers are seen as more vulnerable and an easy way to access a company’s main network. Knowing this, you must put strict security measures to guarantee the safety of sensitive data such as financial reports.
Some of the best security protocols you should consider to protect yourself from cyberattacks include:
- Setting up multifactor identification
- Using strong passwords
- Installing antivirus software
- Having spam filters and malware protection
- Ensuring all data is properly backed up
- Utilizing an email filtering solution to verify both outgoing and incoming emails
- Doing audits continuously to check for phishing activity
- Instructing remote workers to avoid easy-to-guess passwords and regularly updating these
You should train your remote employees on implementing these security protocols to ensure they understand their importance and how these help keep cyberattacks at bay.
3. Ensure Regular Communication with Remote Workers
The biggest issue with remote working is that employees no longer feel as if they’re part of the organization. This should be avoided by taking advantage of video conferencing platforms like Zoom or collaborative tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. Such platforms are a lot more effective than email as they help remote workers get the required technical support when necessary.
In addition, remote workers can share feedback through polls and surveys. These collaborative platforms also boost teamwork, increasing the productivity of remote workers.
4. Supply Necessary Equipment
Employees working from the office are provided with the necessary devices to perform their duties. Therefore, it’s logical to do the same for your remote workers as many of them don’t have the equipment to execute their duties while at home. This means buying your remote workers laptops if they usually use a computer at the office as this gives them the flexibility to move around. In addition, this helps ensure better security over the company’s network and provides everyone with uniform access, which can help in easing support problems. Without the necessary equipment, remote employees might not be able to carry out their responsibilities efficiently.
You should also supply mobile phones to your remote workers, if possible. Doing this is a better strategy than letting the workers access sensitive company information using their personal smartphones, increasing the risk of hacking. The remote workers should also familiarize themselves with the Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy to reduce a company’s susceptibility to a cyberattack.
5. Have a Network for Emergency Situations
Many issues with a remote worker’s equipment can be repaired remotely. But in other situations, the hardware complications will first have to be inspected before they can be repaired. If this is the case and the remote worker can’t reach the main offices, there needs to be an IT provider to attend to this emergency. You can have an in-house team of IT experts who deals with such emergencies. Another option would be to hire a managed service provider (MSP) close to your remote worker to attend to the hardware issue and resolve it right away.
6. Educate Your Remote Workers About Cybersecurity
The home networks remote workers have aren’t as secure compared to office networks, and cybercriminals utilize this to their advantage. This is especially common for those working in finance-related matters as the criminals always try their best to access sensitive financial information.
With this in mind, you should take your remote workers through extensive training to help them know cyber threats to watch out for such as hacking, fraudulent emails, or viruses. Such training will ensure that sensitive company information would never find its way into the wrong hands.
The disruption caused by COVID-19 has resulted in a dramatic change in how companies operate, that’s why remote working is seen as normal today. Because of this, the IT departments have to think of creative ways on how to provide remote workers with the necessary technical support. This guide has outlined some of the solutions to ensure employees can still carry out their duties and not expose the company to operational and security risks. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you promote adequate technical support for your company.