May 17th, 2020 by admin
With schools and office buildings closing for COVID-19, employees might need to work from home on very short notice and for an indeterminate period of time. Here’s how you can make the transition seamlessly.
They say you never get more on your plate then you can handle, and for many businesses today that statement rings true. The many changes in IT infrastructure in the last five years have paved the way for work-from-home office setups. Everything from cloud applications to home Internet speeds makes the transition to work-from-home office setups easy – and nearly identical to a professional office environment.
That said there are a few things you need to consider, and a few things your office might need help with in order to make a full transition quickly.
We’re a telecom company based in Denver CO. The purpose of this article is to help you deal with the most technical aspects of transitioning a business from office to home – setting up a professional-grade communications network across your employees’ work-from-home offices. Also, we’d like to show you how to make the switch quickly and seamlessly?.
What You Don’t Need to Worry about in Your Work-from-Home Office Setup
If you were to call us in the morning with a request to transition to a totally work-from-home distributed office infrastructure, we could have you up-and-running by end of day.
1. The Internet Connection
Most employees have connections at home that are adequate and have very low latency. That’s all due to the new fiber networks that have been built in the last five years. Your employees might still have the same old connection at home that they did ten years ago. That doesn’t matter as much because what’s behind that is a much more robust, low latency network. Unless employees are using low-speed DSL connections, which are rare these days, you won’t experience any issues with audio calls for up to a dozen people.
This means if you wanted, your sales team could literally converge all on the manager’s house and set up a temporary mini headquarters there. Up to a dozen people: no problem.
Not to give you any terrible ideas ???? the takeaway is up to a dozen people would be fine. That means almost all families, even the Brady Bunch.
2. Business Applications
We are also extremely fortunate that the cloud has penetrated the market to the extent that it has. Office 365, Salesforce, Quickbooks, almost every major business software provider offers a cloud solution part and parcel to on-premise. This means most employees will be able to use the same tools and data to do their jobs. You might need to push some data to cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, or make some changes in how you deploy/use applications.
There might be some hangups here, but they need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by DevOps/IT.
Set-up Effective Communications in Employee Work-from-Home Offices
The cloud makes transitions easy for business applications, and the cloud makes communications migration easy too. If you were to call us in the morning with a request to transition to a totally work-from-home distributed office infrastructure, we could have you up-and-running by end of day. We can forward your numbers to numbers already on our cloud network. Then we could deploy our application to employee cellphones.
That would be workable, but with only a few more days you could transition to a communications system that could become permanent.
4 considerations when transitioning to work-from-home communications
1. VIDEO CONFERENCING
If your organization is not already accustomed to video conferencing, now is the time. Video is a much better substitute for face-to-face meetings than audio calls, and with COVID-19 reducing travel your business might find a lot of use for video.
If you are video conferencing with multiple people at the same time, bandwidth could become an issue sooner. HD quality video conferencing on Skype requires 1.5 mbps for one person and 1 mbps for every additional person. Keep in mind that this is up and down. Some cable Internet still delivers 5 mbps upload even though download speeds are much better. If that’s the case the household could handle just one or two HD video calls at the same time maximum. So before you invite the sales team to the manager’s residence, ask the manager to check their Internet Speed.
Check your actual Internet Speed by navigating to your favorite search engine and searching for “Internet Speed Test.”
2. CAN THE WORKSTATION BE WIRED DIRECTLY TO THE ROUTER?
Office location is important for quite a few reasons, and there are some awesome articles already out there to help employees decide where to create their home office. But from a communications standpoint location is important. If you choose IP phones, then you will need to know whether you want a Wi-Fi or Ethernet IP phone.
3. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT BE NOISY?
If so then noise-canceling equipment is available.
You can order professional solutions from Amazon relatively quickly. Before you do that though you need to know your options.
Using a cloud network, we and many other VoIP providers offer phone apps that employees can set up immediately to send and receive calls from their office extension.
Advantages: Instant deployment, low-cost, complete mobility.
Disadvantages: Handheld. Quality can be an issue on older models. Not recommended for employees that use the phone frequently.
Softphone – Recommended COVID-19 Solution
Softphones use the employee workstation as the center of communications. You can set-up quickly by downloading an app or software like you would for your cellphone. The only difference is that most of the communications equipment that comes standard with computers will be insufficient. Employees will need a headset. These are relatively low-cost, ranging from $30 to $200. Webcams are also a great investment for this setup because you can substitute video conferencing for face-to-face meetings when necessary.
Advantages: Mid-Tier in cost make this easier to walk away from when COVID-19 passes. Significant quality upgrade over cellphones. Video conferencing is huge as a substitute for face to face meetings.
Disadvantages: Some upfront cost. Tied to computer.
IP phones operate much like your typical office phone, but instead of connecting to a phone jack they plug into the router via ethernet cable or Wi-Fi. They work without a computer, storing their own software and settings. Some telecom providers (like us) have solutions in place so that when you do return to work, you can clone your home deskphone to your phone at work, with all settings and numbers. Or if you already use an IP phone in the office, you could clone a new IP phone at home to make the transition even easier to manage.
Advantages: Highest level of professional quality. Not reliant on computer, so turn off the computer and the phone still rings. Wide range of features.
Disadvantages: Highest cost tier.
Call Us If You Need Low-Cost, High-Quality Business Communications to Connect a Distributed Workspace
Thank you for reading! We hope this information has helped you move forward with an effective telecommunications plan.
We do have a large base of telephone numbers that are already on our platform, ready to be used to help new customers make the switch immediately.
Convergence Solutions would be happy to help you transition your service quickly at any location in North America.
Posted in: Work from Home