Must-Have Technologies for Successful Work From Home Setup!

Several organizations globally transitioned their employees from the office to a Work from Home model during the Coronavirus pandemic. The organizations realized the importance of technology and what role can technology play in allowing employees to work from home and maintain/improve productivity levels.

Work-From-Home (WFH)

Work-from-Home can be described as the work being done remotely, instead of at the office. The advantages of working from home were known to many organizations, they were practicing partial remote work even before the pandemic. However, during the pandemic and lockdowns, when organizations were bound to adopt the work-from-home model, they learned the fundamental requirements of technology to successfully implement and manage the WFH model across the organization.

We have discussed, in brief, the technology infrastructure for working from home, which constitutes the base for optimal implementation of the remote-work model in companies.

Internet for Work-From-Home

The Internet is the backbone of major communications happening across organizations, spanning multiple countries. Internet is necessary for text communications using emails or voice calling using Skype or video conferencing using Zoom etc.

  • Internet Speed: A reliable 4G internet connection with at least 10 Mbps of download speed and 1 Mbps of upload speed of dedicated internet bandwidth should be helpful for a typical remote worker, although the required internet depends upon user-to-user on the basis of their application. For example, a software developer working on high graphics applications like gaming software may need more data speeds.
  • Internet Service Providers: Telecom companies like Reliance, Airtel, and Vodafone-Idea are offering wired, wireless and VPN solutions available under one roof, with quick deployment features. These internet solutions are resilient, scalable, and secure. They are also backed by provider-provisioned VPN and generally meet all the regulatory compliances. Customers also get enterprise-grade provisioning, delivery, reporting, and service support along with dedicated customer-care call centers.

Collaboration Platform

In a work-from-home environment, employees are generally not meeting their colleagues, partners, customers, vendors, etc. physically, rather, the communications (text, voice & video) and collaborations are mainly happening virtually. Hence organizations should consider and evaluate optimal solutions for their overall communication requirements.

  • Text communication: Employees can connect with each other via text communication through email solutions like Microsoft Outlook, webmails, Gmail, etc.. and messaging solutions like Microsoft Lync, Skype, Whatsapp, etc. Companies can also implement Enterprise Information Management solutions to ensure efficient Document Management and Workflow Management across the organization’s business including external communications.
  • Voice Communication: Employees can use a mobile phone, smartphone, or any suitable VOIP service to communicate with company peers, customers, suppliers, etc. VoIP services convert your voice into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. VoIP allows you to make a call directly from a computer, a special VoIP phone, or a traditional phone connected to a special adapter. Solutions like Microsoft Lync, Skype, etc. are very popular tools for online voice meetings/collaborations. Employees can check the availability of their colleagues for an immediate call or can also schedule a meeting for later, this helps to increase the efficiency and productivity of employees. Apart from these software tools, users will also require good-quality of headphones for voice communication. Logitech is a leading brand that offers a wide range of in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear headsets which can be used for voice collaboration for a great voice experience.
  • Video communications: Video can enhance the quality of virtual team collaboration and engagements with customers if the video experience is as close to the real in-person experience as possible. Tools like Zoom, Cisco WebX, Microsoft Teams, Google meet, etc. are the leading solutions for voice collaboration. Also similar to voice collaboration, video collaboration will also require a good quality Webcam to greatly enhance the quality of video communication. Logitech also offers a wide range of personal and business webcams, which can be used for video collaboration for a great video experience

Cloud Platform

The article in Wall Street Journal, “The pivot to working from home” highlights the benefits of cloud-based services that can quickly scale up defenses around decentralized employees. Cloud technology is vital for all businesses—especially those with remote workers.

On one hand, Cloud technology helps to reduce IT costs and improves accessibility, scalability, and security; on the other hand, it is highly effective to provide mobility to users, wherein, the users carrying smaller devices like Smart Phones, Tabs, and Laptops, are able to perform tasks requiring high computing resources, while they are in the field/at home.

  • Seamless Accessibility: Remote employees can have 24/7 access to the information they need to do their jobs. The cloud also makes it easier to control access to specific cloud resources
  • Flexible Scalability: Cloud platforms are capable of scaling resources both horizontally (adding more CPU, memory, etc.) and vertically (adding more servers) very quickly, capable to adjust a quick influx of remote workers as happened in the case of the COVID pandemic or incase of some project at its peak, similarly scaling down of resources is equally fast helping to shed resources and hence cost eg. from a near completion project.
  • Enhanced Security: Cloud solutions are designed, configured, and managed to keep cyber security in consideration. Public cloud platforms, such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure provide users the capability to designate specific security measures, eg. setting up user permissions, encrypting data, and enforcing other measures to prevent security threats.
  • System Compliance: Organizations in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare, telecommunications, finance, education, and government, have to ensure that they have taken the appropriate measures and implemented processes & systems to secure their data. Cloud services often include configurations for compliance, making it easier for organizations to manage sensitive information.
  • Cost Optimization: Computing and other resources in cloud services are shared amongst a large number of users, hence considered to be cost-effective in the longer run. Maintaining on-premise dedicated servers, manpower, etc. comes out to be expensive relatively.

Productivity Management Tools

Employee monitoring software helps track remote workers (and other off-site employees). If such systems are integrated with enterprise ERP systems, they send data directly to the HR department, hence saving time and cost and bringing efficiency to the system.

  • Collaboration tools like Microsoft Lync or Skype also help to monitor remote workers. Project management tools, like Basecamp, may also help in this regard. 

Based on the above, we can understand the importance and advantages of technology in work from home environment. We also learned the technology needed to work from home and technology advances happening in this area. If implemented effectively, both employers and employees can reap the advantages of the working-from-home model. In recent times, we have witnessed what role can technology play in allowing employees to work at home and how technology affects employment. Since this work-from-home model is to stay for longer, hence, companies should include Work from home (WFH)  strategy in their HR and overall business strategy to sustain themselves in the market.

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