The Return to the Office: Are You Ready?

June 03, 2020

There will soon come a point that your business has the OK to go ahead and get back to work on-site. You may already be undertaking a staged return. You want to return to the office, but you don’t want to risk people’s health by doing so. After all, some will still say it’s too soon to go back. Others predict a second wave of COVID-19 is likely.

There is lots to consider and we are not going to pretend we have all the answers. What we do know is that the world of work has shifted. Permanently. And technology will play an even bigger part in the future.

You may have had great success with remote working during the quarantine. This could position you to allow workers to stay home if they are at risk.

For those coming back, support social distancing by phasing in people’s return. Your business could also use a hybrid IT solution to allow people to come in just three days a week, and they could continue to work two days at home. This allows staggered re-entry and reduces the numbers of people on-site at the same time.

Technology to Support the Return to the Office

It will soon be time to return the office. How prepared are you and your technology?

You may be thinking you already have all the tech you need to go back to the office. Let’s face it you were already working from there before this whole thing started. Plus, now you have all the new tools you added to support remote-employee productivity.

Still, you may not have invested in a long-term remote-work solution that will now support a hybrid model. Or perhaps the on-site tech you’ve long relied on isn’t meant to handle remote working for the long haul.

To achieve a flexible hybrid model, go with cloud solutions or expand on-site IT. Do you need to add infrastructure to handle remote employees using virtual private networks (VPNs)? Both on-site staff and off-site workers might need to securely access systems at the same time.

Adopting cloud collaboration software allows co-workers to access network resources simultaneously, regardless of location. Or with virtual desktops, employees can access the same files and business applications on their work machine or on a personal device.

Bringing people back to the office, you’ll want to rethink the physical setup. Support social distancing by spreading employees’ seating arrangements out more. This will require moving around computer hardware, too.

If you were previously sharing technology, you’ll also need to add more desktops. Or you might invest instead in more laptops or portable devices. This could mean securing more software, too.

Added IT Precautions

IT security will be paramount as we return to the office

Finally, cybercriminals are opportunistic. They’re already exploiting people with malware promising vaccines or cheap masks. These bad actors are also looking to exploit the tech demands on businesses. Many businesses adapted to a new way of doing things: they moved files to the cloud, and they allowed employee access from personal devices, but they did so quickly.

Explore any new vulnerabilities from your transitions. This is a good time to double-check permissions. Ensure that accountant Jane can access staff wage data but that receptionist Jenny can’t. Also, confirm that all virus protection and security patches are current.

Active planning is the answer to a smooth return to work. While offering protective coverings and ramping up cleaning in the office is important, make sure that you don’t overlook your technology needs.

How We Can Help

The time to talk to your IT people is BEFORE you move back to the office. Here at Your IT Department we know that the earlier we are involved in the planning process the smoother any transition is.

If you’re going to change the way you work and plan to retain remote working as part of your future working arrangements then now is the time to talk to your IT people about a long-term solution, and to make sure it’s highly secure.

Our IT experts can help you adapt nimbly. Contact us today via our Contact Form or call 0115 8220200.

Bonus

Securing your network is paramount as you return to the office, especially if you’re going to maintain elements of remote working for some or all staff. To see if you have any gaps in security we recommend a cyber security assessment, which we offer free of charge. To find out if your business would benefit from an assessment with our eBook ‘Does Your Business Need A Cyber Security Assessment

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