IT office relocation

Remote work from home

Top 6 Tips for Effective Working from Home

Top 6 Tips for Effective Working from Home 1920 753 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

With the outbreak of COVID-19, we are increasingly having conversations with our clients about working from home, so we thought it timely that we share some of our recommendations to help us all get through the next few months with as little disruption to business as usual as possible. While every business is different, here are just a few of our suggestions to help enable more flexible work places.

1. Make effective communication your top priority

This is more of a leadership issue than technical, but it is extremely important for your staff to know what is expected of them. Create a detailed list of what you expect from each team member working from home. List the activities required to do their job well, then have a discussion to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Once these are in place, use the collaboration tools mentioned below to keep things running.

2. Ensure that your team are ‘work from home’ ready

It is very easy to assume that everyone has fast internet and a quiet place to work uninterrupted. Not everyone has NBN just yet, and ADSL might not be good enough to collaborate on large files, so the tools and way we interact as a team needs to be considered. Home environments are also an issue. It might be the case their partner is at work and children are at school and they can work quietly and effectively from their apartment, but circumstances can change rapidly. 

Is providing your staff member a laptop and using 4G a consideration?  Do they need a second monitor, or an IP voice handset, or even a mobile phone? The way we managed this internally was to set up a shared spreadsheet, and asked everyone to update their individual situation to finalise the logistics of what each team member needs to enable them to work from home effectively.

3. Choose and implement the right communication & collaboration tools

Having a quick chat to the person in the cubicle, or quick team meeting is now going to have some challenges. Fortunately, there are already a number of collaboration tools to choose from. Email is great, but online chat, and video conferencing tools will help even more. Many vendors are also assisting by offering free access for the next few months. Some tools to consider include:

4. Think about how you will share files

Once we solve the team communication problem, the next challenge is how do we access our documents and file shares. Unless you already have a Remote Desktop or Citrix environment, this will pose some unique challenges. But there are options:

Option 1: Configure a dial-in VPN to the office and get your IT support team to map a network drive from your file server. 

With this option, your remote workers will see their G: drive (or whatever letter you choose) from their home PC just like they would in the office.   Only downside is that accessing large files can be slow, and is contingent on the internet speeds at the end users’ home, and more importantly at your office.  If your office still runs on ADSL, this is probably not a viable option. Security is also a concern with this option as although the VPN ensures data transmission from home to office is secure, you cannot always guarantee that a user’s home PC is not infected with any number of malware or even worse – ransomware – that could easily impact the server data over the VPN. A robust business-grade anti-virus/anti-malware installed on home user’s PC is essential in this scenario.

Option 2: Use a cloud-based file sharing platform

Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business can help. They will keep a copy of your work files in the cloud and both Google Drive and SharePoint Online allow simultaneous user collaboration of files. Microsoft Teams also allows this (since it is built on SharePoint Online).  If these tools are not already in place, have a chat to your IT team about getting it set up correctly to avoid problems in the future, especially when it comes to who has access to what files, as by default everyone will typically have access unless the structure is configured correctly from the start with specific permissions.

Option 3: Take a copy of the files and try to reconcile later

Our least preferred option would be to copy a batch of files to a USB drive and take them home.  Obviously, this has major security implications if the company data is lost or intercepted, as well as the problem of merging back the changes at a later date (which would be an extremely time-consuming process). This should only ever be considered as a last resort, and not recommended.

With any of these options it is also important to consider how you will continue to back up company data once it has been dispersed outside of the normal server infrastructure to either a cloud-based platform, home PCs or a combination thereof. With cloud-based platforms like SharePoint Online and OneDrive, products like Datto SaaS are perfect for ensuring back ups continue no matter how many staff the company data is shared with. If the data is being stored directly on home PCs this becomes more difficult (but not impossible) however company data stored in this way is not recommended.

5. Think about how you access applications

Once we have access to the raw data, we need some software both for the documents and your unique line of business applications. For Microsoft Office documents, customers with Office 365 Business Premium or E3 may be entitled to download and install an instance on their home computer.  Otherwise licensing might be a problem. Talk to your IT team about your options.

For your business applications, generally you won’t be licensed to run them from home and you probably have a server in your office where the database resides. So your options are: Use or create a Remote Desktop Server, or potentially remote control your office PC.  There are a number of ways to implement this, with varying security considerations, so it is best to talk to your IT team about what the best option with the least risk is for you.

6. Think about your processes

Some roles are more suited to remote work than others so we might need to adapt the way we manage and allocate work. Line managers may need to have daily morning huddles with their team and potentially break work down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Goals and tasks might need to be tracked in a shared spreadsheet or an online tool like Asana. If you don’t have scorecards for your team now is the time to implement them.

With a bit of planning businesses should be able to get through the next few months without too much of an impact on productivity from your remote teams working from home. Keeping in mind government and health official advice changes daily and no one really knows how prolonged this crisis will be. However once this crisis is over the way we work may be changed forever.  If you have any questions about the suggestions in this article please reach out to us.  As always, at Greenlight we are here to help.

IT relocation

How to Make Your IT Relocation Hassle Free

How to Make Your IT Relocation Hassle Free 1000 597 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Let’s be honest: everyone hates moving. The endless cataloging of items, the drudgery of packing up your important belongings, and the fervent hope that your precious antique collection of saucers makes it to your new place can cause a lot of worry.

Moving a small to medium sized business isn’t easy either. A business has many important parts that have to be considered. Chief among these is the IT department. While moving ordinary office equipment is one thing, moving your IT equipment and infrastructure comes with its own special challenges.

Thankfully, moving doesn’t have to cause you to lose sleep! Here are five simple ways to move your IT infrastructure hassle free.

Tips for your next IT Relocation

Start Planning as Early as Possible

It’s never too early to start planning your move in detail. The more time that you take to plan, the more likely it is that you’ll have a smooth and hassle-free move. By starting the planning process early, you can avoid the last minute issues that can cost time and money when you’re in a rush and pressed for time. It’s recommended that you give your Internet Service Providers, your telephone network, and all other important providers at least 75 days (two and a half months) notice in advance, according to Cabling Solutions. That way, any and all details can be worked out without incurring any additional charges because of late notice.

Get Insurance

Before moving your IT equipment, Tech Republic suggests ensuring that you or your mover has insurance. Getting your equipment broken or otherwise damaged sucks, but it happens to even the best of movers. A simple accident while moving could easily cost your business tens of thousands of dollars in out of pocket expenses. Shop around for the best insurance plan to ensure that even if your equipment is damaged or destroyed, you’re fully covered.

Consider Space and Layout

Before moving, take into consideration the space and layout available to you. Your new office may require a totally different configuration from your previous one, meaning that you may have to design a totally different layout. The configuration also may make it difficult for any large or bulky IT equipment to be positioned for maximum efficient use. In addition, the layout of your office can impact your IT infrastructure, such as adding to expensive cabling or cooling needs. Carpets can generate static electricity, causing reboots or even equipment failure, according to Cabling Solution. It’s important to decide on the best possible configuration for your office and figure out where your equipment will go before you start the moving process

Back Up Your Data Remotely

Before moving, ensure that all your important data is both safely backed up in a retrievable location and tested to ensure that it is backed up properly. Your move may leave you unable to access your equipment for longer than you expected, or you may run into an emergency where you’ll have to access that data immediately, or an important piece of equipment may be damaged while being moved, losing all the data within. Whatever the case, having your data backed up in an easily accessible remote location means that even if your primary data storage equipment is damaged, you can quickly retrieve the necessary information.

Hire a Professional

Engaging the services of a professional IT relocation company like Greenlight is guaranteed to make your move easier, according to Green Light IT. Although we live in a DIY age, moving your IT equipment is simply too important to delegate to someone without a proven track record and experience, even if it is yourself! Relocation service professionals can quickly troubleshoot problems that you may not even be aware of and also give much needed assistance with moving both physical equipment and services from one location to another.

For some businesses, office relocation can be a nightmare. Equipment loss, extra moving charges, and data loss can have a huge negative impact on your business profitability. However, by following the above advice, you can rest easy in knowing that your IT department will have a hassle free relocation.