It has been a busy few weeks. Holidays, the Mayan Apocalypse, wrapping up the end of the year, and now…the weather. For a minute there it looked like we might have a relatively calm winter season, but lo and behold, a few days ago the snow, icy rain, and freezing winds caught up with us.
Now, whether or not you believe in global warming, you can’t deny that these particular weather patterns spell trouble for commuters. The temperature drops in the evenings making it cold enough to snow, then warms up just enough for everything to partially melt, and then drops again just enough to freeze that partially melted snow into ice. And then pile more freezing rain and snow on top of it.
Let’s be honest- who wants to commute to work in that? Not to mention with all the holidays, offices are generally only open a few days here or there. It is definitely the season to stay curled up in pajamas with your laptop and cup of hot chocolate.
So if you are teetering on the edge of allowing your employees to work from home, we are going to help give you that final push. Working from home is easy! It can be done! Here is the list of everything you need to remember to make it so your company can keep running even if you’re away from the office.
As an important note before we get into this list, most (if not all) of these options are only available to you if you have a working internet connection. If your internet goes down, your options really dwindle down to two: catch up on TV or curl up with a good book.
Another important note: if you are running a business that involves daily face-to-face interactions with customers that can not be done over phone or email (such as a doctor’s office), you will have to take that factor into account when you are deciding whether or not to work from home.
If you are anticipating you will need to work from home and want your business to stay open, it is generally a good idea to have your phone calls forwarded. In order to make this happen, both your phone company for work and the phone that you will forwarding calls to (cell, home, etc.) need to support this feature. To get this set up you will need to talk to both phone carriers and find out what you need to do. However, once the initial setup is complete, it should be relatively easy to make the switch when you want to.
2. Accessing work from home
This is probably the most un-complicated way to work from home. Not because it is simple to set up, but because when you remotely access your work machine from a different machine, everything on your machine at work will be accessible. Basically, you will be on your computer at work, just from your home computer.
When you use VPN, you are accessing your company network from a different machine. It is really important to note the differences between using VPN and using Remote Access. While you can access everything on your work computer when using Remote Access, including items just saved to your desktop, when you use VPN you can only access whatever is on your company network, like the shared drives.
This means that if there are any programs installed on your work machine that are not on your home machine, you won’t be able to use those programs while you are at home. And, if you did not save files to the network drives, you will not be able to access those either.
3. Cloud storage
Working from home using the Cloud will only be possible if your company already uses cloud-based services. For example, at Network Depot we use a cloud-based file storage system called Egnyte. This is where all of our network drives are stored, so we are able to access them from any computer, anywhere.
This is similar to using a program like Dropbox or Google Docs.
The most important thing to do to get your business ready to operate even when you can’t make it in to the office is to prepare in advance. Making sure all employees know where to save their files, how to access their work machines from home, how to access any cloud-based programs, and setting up phone forwarding are not things that can be done in just a few hours. It takes time to prepare.
The good news is though, if you prepare correctly, you can wake up one morning, take a look outside, and decide then and there that today will be a work from home day. And all of that can happen without any worry on your part that your business will suffer any loss of productivity.
If you are unsure of the steps you need to take to get your business ready, feel free to reach out to us! We are happy to take a look at your network.