Technical Challenges Working From Home
Working from can present some very unique, and possibly unforeseen challenges for companies and workers. It’s easy to say that events like the coronavirus outbreak can be handled just by sending workers home with their laptops, but what about phone calls, secure company communications, other household members, etc?
On today’s episode of the BeBizzy Break podcast we talk about these and other challenges you should at least be aware of when working out of the office.
Plan For Technical Issues Working From Home
Before you decide, or your boss decides for you, that you will be working from home due to coronavirus or anything else, there are some non-technical issues that need to be checked off.
- Do I NEED to be around other people?
- Do I have a place to work uninterrupted or will I be surrounded by daycare kids, vacuum cleaners or anything else?
- Do I have the motivation to still get up on time, still get “ready” for work, and still do my job?
If these can’t be overcome, perhaps you can still come into work but be put in an office or other small space, but you will have some familiar surroundings.
Potential Technical Issues
Now on to the meat of our discussion today, preparing for working from home technically. Some things you need to consider :
- Phone Calls – Is your phone system ready to provide easy forwarding to cell or home phones? Do your employees have plans available to handle increased minutes?
- Bandwidth – Most of us don’t have unlimited fiber or T1 lines into our homes, so an increase in bandwidth could cause traffic jams on the residential superhighway. With large number of people working from home will flood the pipes with VOIP calls, online video and audio online meetings, email, screen sharing and everything else that uses bandwidth.
- VPNs – VPNs are a great way to stay safe online, and some companies use them to connect offsite users with servers and applications that will only run “inside” the building. Some things to consider with VPNs are the technical capabilities of the users to install and use the VPN, the support side, the capacity of the VPN server, and more.
- Subscriptions to Meeting Platforms – If your business requires meetings does it have the financial stomach to purchase meeting and other subscriptions to facilitate these meetings?
- Equipment – if you’re not going to provide computers and other gear to employees to work from home how are you going to ensure their gear is worthy to be used? Is it free from virus and malware or do you need to clean or even purchase/install software? Are these computers used only by the employee or is there a potential for clients and coworkers to see things they shouldn’t see like shopping sites, games, movies… or worse?
- Passwords & Security – All work gear should require passwords. Do you have password managers that can be used on other devices? Can two-factor authentication (2FA) be used outside the office in the form of USB keys, authenticator apps or text message?
None of these issues are insurmountable if your business is flexible enough, but in the case of some these could provide significant obstacles to allowing your employees to work from home. Review your policies, equipment and processes, and when the smoke clears from this virus scare, maybe it’s time to do an analysis to see if this work from home thing should be made permanent, or if it’s better to have everyone under one roof.
What are your thoughts on working from home? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!