Ashish Deb Shares Top Things to Remember When Creating Your Virtual Office
As working remotely has become a necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are scrambling to set up virtual offices for their employees. Luckily, it has never been easier and more efficient than it is now to have your team work from home. Owing to the technology and software that exists, many employers are realizing just how convenient (and possibly even cost-effective) it is to have their team work from home. That said, there are a few key steps employers need to take in order to ensure their employees can work just as productively from home as they do in the office.
Ashish Deb is a senior IT project/program management consultant based in Toronto, Ontario, and has spent over 15 years working in the Canadian and international IT industry. He shares his top three things to remember when creating a virtual office.
Equip Your Team
According to Ashish Deb, the first thing any business needs to remember when creating a virtual office is to provide your team with the necessary equipment. In order to work from home successfully, every team member requires a quality laptop that has plenty of memory and storage, a fast processor, and a built-in camera for video calling. In addition to laptops, you may also wish to equip your employees with external monitors, keyboards, a mouse, or even a printer, depending on their needs. In addition, mobile devices are also considered essential equipment for some remote workers. Smartphones and even tablets may be necessary in settings where laptops are impractical. Nowadays, smartphones and tablets can be completely synced with a laptop so that they have access to all the same data on both.
Finally, beyond the physical equipment, employers also need to ensure that their team members have the latest software on their computers and a high-speed internet connection. Relating to the former, Ashish Deb notes that software is constantly being developed (bugs get fixed, security is improved, new features are added, etc…) and thus it is imperative that people have the latest version of the software on all devices in order to maximize productivity. Further, when it comes to an internet connection, do not leave this up to your employees. Depending on the industry you work in, it’s possible that the internet connections at peoples’ homes are not going to be strong enough or fast enough to allow them to work from home on a regular basis. In this new age of working from home, it should be the responsibility of the employer to ensure that every team member’s virtual office meets a minimum standard of internet speed. You may also want to consider building an intranet in order to keep staff connected.
Introduce New Communication and Collaboration Tools
Optimizing workflows is key when transitioning to a fully virtual office, asserts Ashish Deb. That is why he recommends all employers figure out early which communication and collaboration tool they want their employees to utilize. These tools will become integral to the functioning of the company and will likely be used by all employees on a daily basis. Some of these tools you may already have, such as the basics like an email provider (think Outlook or Gmail) or an instant messaging system. However, others you may need to introduce and adapt to quickly. For example, most businesses have been turning to video meetings, which means you will need to find a video communication platform, such as Zoom or Google Hangouts. Further, collaboration tools are also a must if you wish for your different teams and departments to be able to work together as seamlessly as before. Examples of popular collaboration tools include Slack, Asana, and WorkFlowMax.
Move Data to the Cloud, Says Ashish Deb
Cloud-based data storage is a must in this new age of the virtual office. Gone are the days when it may have been convenient to store files on different computers, devices, or USB sticks. Storing your company’s data in the cloud is now non-negotiable if you wish for your workers to be able to easily access the files they need from home. If set up properly, there is nothing to worry about in terms of data security or data loss with cloud management. In fact, in many ways the cloud is safer and more secure than data stored on individual computers, as computer and hard drive failures are a common cause for data loss. Ashish Deb recommends cloud-based storage services like DropBox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.
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