By Garrett Crosier, Senior Systems Technician
We are officially one year into the global Covid-19 Pandemic. While we had hoped that things might have gone back to “normal” by now it seems that there will be a permanent change in the way we operate both personally and professionally. So, what did the Covid-19 Pandemic show us?
Well, if you kept up with the lighter side of things you learned like I did that folks like to be REAL comfortable when working from home. I don’t think we ever thought there would be a chance to see fellow co-workers (or their significant others) in their underwear but it looks like that chance has increased significantly.
People’s work from home virtual meetings were very interesting, some folks opting for no pants, picking their noses, and all the other malfunctions some not even the cause of people attending the meeting.
How could any company have been prepared for this?
The fact is that the entire world was not ready for anything like this. Pre-Covid, it did not make sense to have remote work options when most companies had comfortable and well-outfitted offices to operate from. Plus, employers had so much control when it came to their network or devices because rarely did they have to secure anything from outside their office building walls.
Then the pandemic hit. Change happened almost overnight.
Companies had to make the shift to a remote workforce and fast. Many companies were left to use nonsecure and open platforms. They had to get entire office setups in home settings and had to give up the control that they had for so long.
So a year into this high-grade work solutions are now a requirement. But what if we looked to the future? What is the benefit of upgrading moving forward?
Benefits of having a more robust work from home solution
- Having a workforce that is more talented because your team not only needs to live in the same area.
- Newer software with better security in place.
- More options for better more productive collaborations.
What can we do right now?
Right now your best options are going to be to address the shortfalls that have been highlighted in this new work from home age:
- Security: Make use of secure and organization-limited/linked collaboration tools in place of free or cheap applications. Teams from Microsoft is absolutely one of the most secure and flexible applications I personally used as there are many ways to secure it and use it.
- Issues with licenses or resources, some applications would not allow remote connections or limit access to audio-only because you needed to pay more for video options. This limited people’s options to collaborate and being productive. Options like Teams are included in many Office 365 packages (all of which Atom Creek would be happy to help set up or coach in its use)
- Issues with Ease of use, many of the free/cheap applications were complicated and difficult to use and required setup before any meeting could take place. Teams and Ring central both offered easy set up and use pulling your setup data from your account and are ready within 3 clicks in most cases.
- Issues with accessing on different platforms, many organizations reported issues with getting users on different platforms to use the same platforms whether it be a Mac or a PC or mobile iOS or Android with the same level of ease. With both Teams and Ring Central, this is a breeze. A single sign-in on either application grants access to all the same tools you see on any device.
- Complicated processes to set up as an admin, many groups posted rant videos covering their frustrations with setting up their employees on a new platform with new passwords and username and security to get implemented to match their current or new security policies. This once again is where Teams shines by pulling using the data for your users from your company’s existing set up in azure/O365 making its implementation the fastest and easiest. This same ease of setup and integration is applied to current and future products from Microsoft. Ring central as a VOIP provider is super easy to set up for work from home or mobile as once it uses the phone set up you would already have in place when you set up the VOIP system for your company.
- Lack of proper\up-to-date hardware. If your users had to worry about if your computer security met requirements for online meetings or even the age of your systems caused issues with getting newer online meeting software, you may want to look at implementing a refresh cycle on equipment. This could also cut down on support costs as warranties will cover many failures you would otherwise be paying for (this is especially true for business-grade computers VS the one you got at Walmart/Amazon). There was actually a shortage of webcams for these online meetings because so many computers/laptops/monitors that were in use (because “it works so why change it”) were so old that they could not run the software and if they had webcams they were impossible to use in online meetings.
What options are we expecting in the future?
Many options are being developed by companies small and large all focusing on the ways they each think the future could be improved.
One from Microsoft has very promising potential “To illustrate what Mesh can do, Microsoft built a sample app that runs on the HoloLens. After putting on a HoloLens and opening the app, a person can design an avatar to represent themselves and join a meeting with other people, whose avatars appear like holograms. People’s heads, bodies, and hands can all move thanks to the information the headsets capture, and it is possible to talk with everyone, like a video call. Additionally, users can import, display, and manipulate ready-made and custom three-dimensional holograms. Three-dimensional drawing tools are available, too.”
“Over time, Microsoft plans to incorporate Mesh into its own applications, such as the Teams collaboration app that has become more widely used during the Covid pandemic as a way for co-workers to meet without being in the office.”
Now doesn’t that sound like the future?
As all successful organizations are aware, you cannot expect to be stagnate and keep up with the rest of the world. There is in fact every chance that due to the shockwaves from the pandemic that we could see a major shift in the way the world of business operates moving forward, and that, with the right investments could make all the difference in your company’s ease of success. Perhaps you are looking at Office options or Azure AD, or even maybe another voice provider and this highlighted some things you hadn’t thought of?
If you’re thinking about your remote options now or in the future (or if you have any other IT challenges), contact Atom Creek today. We’ll help you identify the best solution, as well as, implement it in your entire organization.