Getting the right balance between remote and office based work

Friday, October 9, 2020

We take a closer look at ways in which MSPs can help their customers strike a balance between remote and office-based work, as well as the tech solutions that can help them, as we venture towards a ‘new normality’ post-COVID 19.

We’re in uncharted waters right now – no doubt about that. One thing is certain though: for most of us, a return to working in the same way that we did pre-COVID is not an option. Overnight, the home office became a necessity, not a luxury. Almost as swift was the mass adoption of cloud technology by all kinds of businesses – quickly followed by the realisation that, yes, employees could be trusted to work effectively from their own homes.

As more and more organisations now look to become fully or partially virtual organisations, can we rest assured that everything both companies and employees need is in place? What can you do to help those still making the transition?

Empowered By The Cloud

When it comes to the necessary tools and functionality remote teams need, Microsoft 365 is hands-down the right building block for most businesses. The addition of email, SharePoint, and Teams make it a fully-fledged solution for SMEs and large enterprises alike. The fact that all of these services are available as SaaS products, it’s fair to say that given how all of an employee’s necessary business functions can now be delivered in this way, a strong precedent is being set for cloud migration en masse.

Similarly, a need for more capacity and cost efficiency – particularly during periods of uncertainty when the number of staff may fluctuate – make the cloud’s pay-as-you-go model a lot more desirable than large loan-based server purchases. Through consultancy and deployment MSPs have a crucial role in helping businesses navigate these challenges – turning them into new opportunities.

Security First

Of course, security is also critical, but it’s been a stumbling block for many companies – delaying their complete cloud conversion in many cases. Therefore it's vital that protocols are in place, followed, and that users are trained. While security for remote users can be enhanced with antivirus software, DNS filters, content blockers and monitoring software, the use of personal devices to access company data introduces a whole new set of concerns and potential weaknesses.

This is where you can make a difference – advising companies on the benefits of solutions like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Single Sign On, and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) solutions – and helping them understand when they come into play. Solutions like these are not just ‘another’ cost – they’re an important part of any remote set up, and as more companies migrate to the cloud, they’ll become even more valuable in efforts to protect company data and in terms of GDPR compliance.

Benefits: In Kind

From a more human perspective, while the most obvious benefit has been freedom from the drudge of commuting; on the flip side, one of the biggest issues for many was (and continues to be in many cases) managing personal space and a better work/life balance. Perhaps the trade-off for a new super-efficient work-from-home or home-and-office mix set up, are responsible and responsive employers?

Business owners know they need to temper technology with the human touch and now, as the dust settles and it’s clear that these arrangements can work, we can all try to get the right balance and look forward to a positive new way of living and working.

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