Telecommuting - Considerations for a Small Business
Telecommuting means working remotely, from home or another location outside the office. Not to be confused with self-employed freelancing, this is a working arrangement between a company and an employee. The idea is that the employee “travels” via telecommunication channels like phone, email and video conferencing when they don't need to travel to the office.
As things progress with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and more businesses are considering letting employees work from home, there are certainly some details that need to be considered from an IT perspective in order for your business to continue to run effectively, securely, and efficiently.
1. Use a communication platform
Virtual communication doesn't have to be a roadblock. Often better planned, phone- and web-based conferences cut through water-cooler chatter and impromptu meetings to get things done.
Try a video and audio conferencing tools like Cisco WebEx which is currently being offered FOR FREE. And not just to collaborate. Get creative with ways to build trust and connections in your team, like sharing wacky office photos or setting up dedicated "fun" chats.
2. Head to the cloud
It's easy to lose track of projects within a dispersed team. Take advantage of cloud-based file hosting providers like Office 365 to sync and store work online.
In addition, a cloud based phone system would be a great way to still be able to call coworker's extensions, and can easily be implemented and shipped directly to employee's houses.
3. Assess if a VPN is needed to HQ
Do you have a file server where everybody puts their company documents, project files, etc.? Does your firewall securely allow & audit employees connecting to company resources remotely?