Working remotely: what has – and had to – change?


2020 so far has definitely not been a good year. From an IT perspective it forced a lot of companies to quickly re-assess their way of working and to quickly come up with options to enable staff working remotely. While this may be working overall by now, what are areas that may still need to be considered or looked at?

Diaxion as a boutique consulting company has been lucky in this regard:
1. We have been fully cloud-based for some time
2. We are used to working from various locations, be that from home, remotely or a client location
3. We are used to collaboration while not necessarily being in the same office

When enabling remote working, areas should not be looked at it in isolation, but from a comprehensive viewpoint. The approach to a remote workforce will obviously vary between companies, but the following areas will need to be assessed, decided on and managed:

1.Company-provided equipment vs. BYOD (bring your own device) for both mobile and compute.
The advantage of having a company-controlled and managed device need to be weighed against the possible cost impact; people may prefer to select their own device vs. being supplied with a potentially inferior model

2.Access to data, information, files and folders and their backup and restore options
Should all data be centrally managed – on premise or cloud? Or should most data be held locally for each user? The answer may depend on the role of the user and the type of business. How often should data be backed up and what are the restore options? The latter should also be considered in light of malicious attacks like ransomware or malware.

3.Bandwidth and infrastructure supporting remote working
Is there sufficient network capacity and application capacity to handle all or the majority of staff working remotely? Do staff have sufficient network performance to work effectively?

4.Video conferencing
Diaxion recommends consolidating onto a single – or at most two – platforms to enable video conferencing. With people unable to come to the office, this will enable to keep the teams connected and allow also for not necessarily work-related interaction

5.Collaboration tools
These include instant messaging, allowing to work simultaneously (or nearly so) on documents, and similar areas

6.Security for everything, which may include
a.Multi-factor authentication
b.Enforcing of company profiles and security standards
c.Limiting access (e.g. based on a user’s profile)
f.Virus and malware protection

7.Updated policies to provide a framework for remote work and to guide people
One item that should not be forgotten or neglected, though, is the mental impact on people. Working from an office provides significantly more human interaction, be that as part of a coffee break, lunches or just the opportunity to exchange ideas or simply chat.

A random sample indicates to us that people overall like to work from home and a majority expects to continue to do so at least a few days per week. Feedback has, however, also shown that only a minority would like to continue to work from home 5 days per week – and it must be ensured that this is handled in a way to keep up team morale, team performance and overall keep people happy.

Diaxion will be able to assist or guide with the implementation or advise on the 7 mentioned areas above.