With “social distancing” becoming a buzz word in the media and government officials either suggesting or mandating that people stay home, most everyone is preoccupied with planning and adjusting to what is becoming the new normal.
The news about California and New York officials ordering residents to avoid non-essential outings, and other municipalities taking steps to encourage people to stay at home, it is reasonable to make sure that you are personally and professionally prepared. ThePrepared.com has a detailed guide to help you prepare for a COVID-19 scare or quarantine that may be helpful.
For those who run a business, a public health crisis was not likely something you anticipated. However, with some support (arobasegroup can help), you can create a safe and productive workplace. Here are some tips to consider.
If your organization takes payments from the public, consider using or encouraging the use of Apple Pay to reduce the need to touch credit card terminals!
As noted in last week’s article, we support Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and others, and we are ready to assist you in selecting the best tool for your team if you choose to encourage telecommuting. We can deploy these tools and train your staff in no time.
Don’t forget the basics. For example, be sure everyone has access to a directory service so people can contact employees they do not normally need to reach. If your organization relies on IP telephony, make sure everyone understands how to use softphones or can configure an office phone at home. If you have a switchboard, plan for it to be operated remotely.
If your organization’s email system is usually available only from computers owned by the organization, make sure webmail access is enabled and that everyone understands how to access it. Similarly, it’s worth making sure everyone has email access from their phones.
As noted, chat systems like Slack or even Microsoft Teams can be effective ways for far-flung groups to communicate because they provide real-time communication segregated into topic- or group-specific channels. If you’re not already using such a system and would like to investigate adding it to your communications strategy, contact us for advice.
Remote Access to Organizational Services
For connectivity to office-based file servers and other systems, make sure everyone has access to your VPN and knows how to use it. (Don’t have a VPN, or virtual private network? Again, call us—a VPN is an essential way to provide remote access while ensuring security.)
Are there any specialized servers or services, such as an accounting system, that have security safeguards related to specific access points? Think about what additional access may need to be provided for an employee working from home.
If most or all employees are working from home, what does that mean for your office? Do physical security systems or climate settings need to be adjusted? Do you want to set up video cameras or other remote monitoring hardware? If you have on-premises servers, make sure they can be administered entirely remotely, including power cycling.
Think about the regularly scheduled aspects of running the business, with an eye toward those that might require certain people to manage them. Can they run payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable remotely? Make sure that every key position has at least one backup, so if one person gets sick, the organization’s ability to function won’t be compromised.
Finally, consider how your clients and customers will react to the situation. Certain organizations may see an increased workload. For instance, if the number of patients in hospitals skyrockets, those who support healthcare systems may struggle under the load alongside the doctors and nurses.
As the Boy Scout motto says, “Be prepared.” arobasegroup is prepared to create and deploy the tools you need to keep your business running. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.
arobasegroup has been consulting with clients and advising the best use of Apple Technology since 1998. We listen to our customers and solve problems by addressing their specific, unique needs; we never rely on a one-size-fits-all solution or require them to use a specific product. arobasegroup is your advocate in all things related to information technology. Contact us to learn how we can help: firstname.lastname@example.org.