How to cope with the growing requirement to enable working from home

Enabling flexible working brings benefits to employees and employers. As an employer, you can expect your productivity and collaboration to improve, with employees no longer limited by location thanks to integrated collaboration tools. While employees become happier as they can avoid potentially long commutes and have more flexibility in their day. 

It has also been a way to attract new employees that would have not been accessible previously, either from a geographical or inclusivity and diversity stand point. Organisations have started to really embrace the capabilities of the “Modern Huddle” with the daily usage of products like Microsoft Teams hitting record numbers. 

The challenge now for businesses is how this can be scaled up – many organisations simply do not have the set-up in place to cope with a sudden surge in employees working remotely. Even companies that already have remote working policies may still not be prepared for the scale of this requirement and need to extend their policies to a wider set of people and for a longer period. 

Has your organisation taken the steps to review and test? 

  1. Remote user connections – Scale of access by broadband and VPN? Consider geographical issues where low/no bandwidths are available. E.g. India @256K may not be sufficient, so having a supply of 4G dongles may be prudent. 
  2. Network readiness – Is your corporate network infrastructure ready to provide the best customer experience both to your office and remote workforce? 
  3. Best practices – Do you have clear policies, appropriate to your industry? Field technicians are going to struggle whilst in isolation and some tools may need additional work to enable remote access. 
  4. Governance – Are the right applications and resources accessible to the correct set of users? 
  5. Security – Is everyone secure? Enablement of dual factor authentication and pen testing your environment is key – but most importantly you need well-educated, security savvy work force who are aware of the threats posed by lapses in judgement. 

The number of people working flexibly is growing every month, so this is no longer an optimal future state for organisations, but an essential component you need to plan for immediately. 

For those getting started on the flexible working journey, there are a few steps to get started:  

  • Assess your network – the first step is to ensure that your existing connectivity can deliver on cloud application performance. Colt offers this service on the Azure Market Place  
  • Get started quickly with a proof of concept  it’s something we offer as part of our Intelligent Communications proposition and helps help organisations migrate seamlessly to Microsoft Teams with Direct Routing.  
  • Prioritise cloud traffic to guarantee performance – optimise the last mile and peering to ensure that remote workers get the best experience and your applications deliver. Recently we announced direct peering infrastructure between Colt and Microsoft in 17 European cities.  

No matter how far you are into your journey to enable working from home, make sure your organisation is prepared for all scenarios. This will ensure that you do not fall behind your competitors and are able to deliver to your customers without interruption, whilst also gaining the benefits of a solution that will increase productivity and lower costs. 

Further reading – Microsoft blogs: 

How to quickly optimize Office 365 traffic for remote staff & reduce the load on your infrastructure  

Office 365 Network Connectivity Principles 

Getting the most out of Microsoft Teams

Tim Cook, Director – Modern Workplace & Voice Specialists

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