Your office has mandated that you must work from home for the unforeseeable future. What happens now?

Considering the current health concerns across the globe (particularly around COVID-19/Coronavirus), many organizations are requiring their employees to gather any essential tools they need from their cubicles and to get themselves ready for working from home. How do you ensure your remote workstation is equipped for extended work?

Being a prepper for the worst is the best you can be. So here are 10 Questions You MUST Factor in Working from Home.

  1. Do you have all your necessary tools?
    • Here are some of the essentials you will most likely need:
      • Your workstation - A laptop, tablet, or perhaps even a desktop. Do NOT forget your power cord.
      • Any connection cords needed - Be sure to check your device for what cords you may need to connect to your device or dock. This also includes any necessary dongles or adapters you may need to connect. Here’s a handy guide to commonly used tech connections.
      • Any mobile device chargers - A USB connection may not be powerful enough so if the device requires a specific wall plug, be sure to pack it.
      • An internet connection - See below for further details on bandwidth.
      • A monitor - Or even multiple monitors if necessary.
      • A printer - Perhaps not necessary pending your needs, but still vital to have.
      • A scanner - Same as a printer, maybe not a need, but still helps.
      • A headset - A wired or Bluetooth headset for conference calls or even listening to music.
      • A webcam - One may be built-in to your device, but also good for collaboration.
      • A surge protector or battery backup - In case you have any power disruptions, this will help to keep your devices safe and shut down safely in the case of UPS battery backups.
      • A USB dock/hub - Many modern mobile devices lack having diverse USB ports for peripherals so a dock would help to connect various devices.
      • Your office phone calls are forwarded - Not so much an item but be sure your office desk phone number is routed to an available mobile number.
  1. Is your VPN installed and properly set up?
    • A VPN (Virtual Private Network) helps you and your data stay secure when using a network that could potentially be unsecure. If you are going to be working remotely, having a VPN gives you a higher level of protection when connected to networks outside your organization, especially if you are using a company-provided laptop or mobile phone. Several password manager programs offer optional VPN service as well. Contact your IT provider to make sure you have a VPN and it is properly configured.
  1. Are your Wi-Fi connections secure?
    • Going beyond a VPN, we still do not recommend connecting to an open, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot. The likelihood of your data being intercepted by an intruder through an open wireless connection could be magnified. Also, evaluate your email security and data encryption implementation before making the transition to remote working.
  1. What is your Antivirus (AV) solution?
    • Ensure that your existing Antivirus solution is armed and ready while working remotely is important, but also is verifying that your AV program is an enterprise-level solution, so your company private data is even less at risk for potential intrusion.
  1. Does your home/remote internet have enough bandwidth?
    • This is a trickier one because it varies on the type of internet usage you will require when working remotely. If you are going to be doing various collaboration and telecommunication during the day through services like Microsoft Teams, be sure your remote internet has the right speed. Utilizing video conferencing or VoIP-style phone conversations such as call center work will most likely require a higher bandwidth than everyday streaming and web browsing would. Thankfully in the response of COVID-19, many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Xfinity & AT&T have provided unlimited bandwidth and/or speed upgrades while users are instructed to work from home.
  1. Do you have a way to communicate with your co-workers?
    • As Social Distancing is being adopted worldwide, you will need a method of communicating with your teammates not only to potentially replace physical meetings but also for collaborations on documents and projects. We utilize Microsoft Teams for all our communication in and out of the office, but there are other options as well such as G Chat/Hangouts Meet, Zoom, or even through FaceTime.
  1. Do you have a chain of command to call for emergencies?
    • It is best to verify with your managers and supervisors what your chain of command is for contact in the case that an emergency arises, you may not have access to your collaboration tools, or experience an internet outage. Keeping in communication with your peers is vital for remote work, not only for an accountability standpoint but also for keeping good relationships with your co-workers during a time of distance.
  1. Do you have a dedicated space with little to no distractions?
    • We will expand on this further in our blog about The Culture Shock of Working from Home, but make sure that your dedicated space is free from distractions, has the space needed for your necessary tools, and above all, is a clean space to prevent potential spreading of illnesses. Here are some tips on keeping a clean remote workspace.
  1. Does your IT solution have a method of remotely solving any issues with your workstation?
    • What if something goes wrong with your laptop while you are remote? It’s necessary to have a program implemented for your IT provider to resolve device issues both in office and remotely. Our technicians utilize TeamViewer to provide remote support for our clients, but there are several options available. If you do not have a remote managed plan in place prior to your remote work planning, consult your leadership team.
  1. Do you have a copy of your Work from Home policy?
    • Does your business have a Work from Home policy implemented? If so, make sure you have a copy with you or have access to it before settling in to your new environment. This also includes ensure that your employees are aware of your policy and are trained to work successfully while out of the office. If you do not have a work from home policy, consult your leadership team about creating one. Our consultants can assist with that as well.

neoRhino can help you be a prepper for remote work and transitioning into a new type of lifestyle during times of crisis. Fill out the form above, contact us, or call us at 281.779.4850 and we can help make your transition to a remote work lifestyle as seamless as possible.