Ensuring Telecommuting Success For the Work from Home Decision-Maker

Be Informed – Dig Into the Data

Unless you have the in-house resources to manage these key WFH – Work from Home – challenges, your best tactical and strategic move is to engage a trusted advisor to help you overcome these hurdles.

It’s time to bring in the experts to ensure you have the solutions and services in place to sustain workforce productivity during this adjustment time.

You may already have an enterprise solutions and services provider managing some aspect of your network ecosystem. Does this partner have the capability to expand and to meet all of your telecommuting program needs?

If yes, leverage this existing partnership, building on the intellectual property they’ve already acquired, so you’re not starting on ground zero.

If no, start exploring who might fit the bill. An industry bohemoth like Microsoft, Cisco, or Poly has the capabilities, but when can they get to you and how expensive are they?

If you choose to work without a trusted advisor, you can still use the areas suggested below – Network Readiness, Monitoring & Management, and Tech & Tools – to internally assess your capabilities.

This internal assessment can serve as your jumping off point to ensure your telecommuting program reflects best practices.

How to Find the Right Trusted Advisor for your WFH Program

The field of potential service providers is vast and time is of the essence. Where can you go to identify the options that will best meet your needs — quickly?

Look inward. Your own internal IT team is a good source of information and they likely know the local terrain.

Look around. Who has your competition engaged to manage their sudden shift to a remote work force? They likely are facing similar challenges and have comparable needs.

Look across. Ideally your service provider will offer capabilities across your organization, providing a one-stop-shop for all of your telework needs. Explore whether your candidates can:

  • Quickly assess where you are on your path to Digital Transformation.
  • Pinpoint where your telecommuting program falls on this path.
  • Identify any gaps between your current program’s (rushed) arrangement and telecommuting best practices.
  • Align your plans with the enhancements of the typical Modern Workplace, to ensure you’re positioning yourself for success.

What Should you Expect from your Enterprise Collaboration Partner?

Your trusted advisor should quickly and comprehensively assess:

  • The strength and coverage of your current network environment and its readiness to expand to accommodate your new telecommuting base
  • Whether you have sufficient monitoring and maintenance in place to support your network health
  • Your current inventory of telework technology and tools to support your telecommuting program, with an eye to advising on any existing gaps or suggested enhancements

Together, your network readiness assessment, monitoring and management evaluation, and your technology audit will provide tremendous insights into your state of telecommuting readiness.

Asking the right questions about this threesome of potential pain points will ensure you have the data you need to implement successful telecommuting best practices.

Perform a Network Readiness Assessment

Network readiness assessment heat-mapping software and bandwidth testing will:

  • Determine where both your wired and wireless network provides sufficient bandwidth and speed to support unified communication and collaboration activities.
  • Locate any points of weakness and performance gaps, especially where you plan to expand traffic.
  • >Determine how your network needs to be boosted in areas of weakness — for example, where a wireless signal does not remain strong passing through certain fixed building walls.
  • Assess where your network needs to be supplemented to support more remote users, especially if you plan to use video conferencing solutions more than previously.
  • Develop a plan recommending best practices for closing any identified gaps and preparing for your transition to telecommuting.

Assess your Monitoring and Management Capabilities

Adopting or expanding telework capabilities will increase your need for network monitoring and management. This is another key consideration to explore, both when working with your trusted advisor or taking next steps on your own.

You’ve already gathered some of the data points around this by interviewing your IT team. Now your job is to dig deeper into the nuts and bolts of your technology support needs. Take this on either with your enterprise service provider, or if you’re working independently, your internal IT team.

Your goal is to create a comprehensive picture itemizing what degrees of support and monitoring you’ll need for your telecommuting program.

  • With more remote workers, monitoring for network disruption will be more important than ever. What are the terms of your current SLA and how effectively have those been supported in the past?
  • How extensive are your internal Help Desk capabilities, and will they be able to support your anticipated growth?
  • Will you need to shift to an outside service provider to ensure you have the level of support you’ll need for your telecommuting base?
  • What degree of oversight do you need — how granular do you want your
    reporting to be?
  • Do you want straight monitoring, so you are alerted of network faults then resolve them internally?
  • Or do you want a degree of proactive management, so faults are identified and then resolved, at best before you even know they’ve happened?

Collecting the answers to these questions will help clarify your specific network needs, and identify what level of monitoring and management is best for your telecommuting program.

Review your Telework Technology and Tools

You know how your network is performing and how to keep it supported and maintained. The last piece of the puzzle is to make sure you have the right telecommuting technology and tools in place.

If your user base needs to access meetings via video conferencing on disparate endpoints, this could be a prime time to explore gateway technology.

Network readiness assessment heat-mapping software and bandwidth testing will:

  • Work with your trusted advisor or your internal IT team to do a
    comprehensive audit of all of your telecommuting technology and tools.
  • Between your network hardware and software, your user desktops, and
    your portable laptops and mobile devices, this could be more complex than it sounds.

Are you using a standard collaboration platform for emails, document management, sharing and collaboration, audio and video? If not, this is a good opportunity to leverage the industry knowledge your trusted advisor brings to the table.

What portion of your workforce uses desktops? Laptops?

What portion has access across devices to all of your network?

Is everyone using the same software to gain access to meetings?

Conducting a complete audit of your technology environment, including what is available to your workforce at home, will create a baseline for your technology roadmap.