As New Jersey and Pennsylvania small businesses prepare to reopen safely, employers are facing unprecedented new challenges. Returning to the office will be more complicated than having employees report to work and plug in their devices.
Slowly but surely, society is opening up as coronavirus risks continue to subside. While those who have the ability to work from home are still encouraged to do so in most areas of the country, organizations will be taking steps to transition from remote working to an on-site office environment. Preparation for this requires additional considerations than just having your facilities cleaned according to CDC protocols.
Some employees working from home will be bringing their technology back into the office with them. This requires close coordination with your technology partner or internal IT team to develop a plan that accounts for people, process, and technology. We assembled some considerations to help guide your IT transition.
Establish policies and procedures:
- Properly and safely reconnecting all equipment
- Ensuring that documents saved locally on personal devices are stored on the corporate network prior to employees returning to the office.
- Deleting sensitive and confidential data saved to personal devices while working from home
- Performing security reviews to identify and respond to potential security incidents that may have occurred while employees were working from home
- Managing and testing the backup and retention of data on local devices before sanitizing those devices. This is particularly important for protected data on work-from-home devices that may be subject to compliance regulations
- Completing on-site processes for employee terminations that were conducted while working remotely. This may include disabling key cards, collecting equipment, and scheduling the cleanup and repurpose of those devices
- Repurposing assets that were temporarily issued to employees to enable them to work from home
- Returning technology, office equipment, and other company assets that employees took home
Reference list of items to be returned to the office:
- Computer accessories, such as speakers, headphones, keyboards, mouses (wireless receivers if applicable), monitors, docking stations, power strips, and power cords
- Printers and scanners
- Desk phones and accessories, such as a Power over Ethernet (PoE) injectors, sidecars, headsets, base units, and network cables. If call forwarding is enabled, disable this feature after returning to the office
- Reconfiguration of IP phones
- Primary desktop or laptop
- Extra companion device (return the companion device and switch back to primary device)
Sanitizing ALL technology is paramount, but cleaning technology properly is essential so as not to damage electronics. Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting. If no guidance is provided, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol and dry surface thoroughly.
All new devices must be properly enrolled into the corporate network. If a new device was purchased for remote access capability, or a device used remotely is not on the corporate domain, employees must not connect those devices to the corporate network when they return to the office.
Organizations should be establishing or reviewing policies to support an ongoing work-from-home program. Determine if employees should be allowed to keep company-issued technology assets at home in the event of a new wave of COVID-19 or other disaster. Also, incorporate the tools and licenses required by employees to remotely access resources, such as VPN, collaboration software, Microsoft Office 365, and mobile applications, into your budget.
Now is the time to explore new connectivity options that support long-term remote working. Traditionally, organizations have used a secure VPN, but many need to upgrade their network connectivity. More than simply staying operational, the right connectivity can help a business maximize productivity and performance, regardless of where its employees are working.
The transition from the office environment to remote working was abrupt leaving organizations little time to plan. Returning to the office won’t be nearly as rushed, but it still requires significant preparation and strategy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides a valuable digital resource center for businesses as part of their Path Forward initiative.
If your company needs help developing a reliable plan for returning to the office and/or optimizing cloud based remote working capabilities, contact us to schedule a free virtual consultation.