6 Office Tech Solutions For Reopening During COVID-19

IT and Tech Solutions That Help You Seamlessly Transition to Remote-Work Without Impairing Office Collaboration

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered all aspects of our lives, including how and where we work. Last week, Facebook announced that they plan to move nearly 50% of their workforce to a work-from-home/remote-work schedule. Facebook can do this because of the evolution of smart mobile devices, cloud computing, and faster home internet connections (depending on location). Facebook is not revolutionary. Flexible work has grown over 400-percent even before the COVID-19 pandemic. In many ways, Facebook was heading in this direction well before COVID-19.

Facebook will not be the only company taking these steps. With so many transitioning to remote work, companies will need to make technical changes to empower collaboration, security, and productivity for their workforce – immediately and from any location, over any device. Additionally, traditional conference rooms and collaboration spaces in our offices and workspaces will be the nucleus of communications for the post-COVID-19 office. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg told shareholders he expects those who work remotely will need to travel to the office for select on-sites, making it even more essential to have an adaptable headquarters or home base.

The questions become: What will our conference rooms and collaboration spaces look like with the anticipated permanent increase in the remote workforce? And how can we ensure they remain safe from COVID-19, future pathogens, and hackers?

Collaboration spaces in the 2020s will enable end-users to seamlessly initiate and participate in the collaborative process – from both the corporate office and remote locations. Simple, intuitive interfaces with controls for audio and video conferencing, presentation sharing and environmental controls will instantly engage knowledge workers and allow them to meet and share on a scheduled or ad-hoc basis. Remote workers and customers will join via integrated collaboration platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, at the click of a mouse.

Not every company is a Silicon Valley tech company like Facebook, even if more and more of your colleagues are wearing hoodies. Your business may not have the most up-to-date technology that can ensure you and your colleagues are remaining efficient and productive. Many small and medium-sized companies may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to chart this new territory. We’ve partnered with our good friends at BBH Solutions, a leading information technology firm based in New York, to help identify IT solutions that will help small and medium-sized businesses transition to remote-work-future seamlessly as possible.

Here are the six IT solutions that will help you and your company transition to remote work:

1. Update Your Hardware

Even before COVID-19, companies were updating their video and A/V capabilities, so teams in one office can communicate face-to-face with teams in another office. The latest personal computers and handheld devices have built-in video capabilities. As more and more employees transition to remote work, they will be expected to communicate via video. Offices will need to ensure their conference rooms and collaboration rooms have built-in and secure video capabilities, so those in the office can seamlessly communicate with those out of the office. Updating your conference rooms may include updating flat panel displays, cameras, and audio (speakers and mics). BBH suggestions products such as Microsoft 365 with Teams, Microsoft Surface Hub, and Crestron controls.

2. Choose a Secure Videoconferencing App

Microsoft Teams has become a proven vehicle to help employees maintain the personal touch with customers and coworkers. It’s also withstood the sudden increase in demand, handling over 2.7 billion Teams meetings in March alone.

3. Invest in a Collaboration Suite

Collaboration suites allow people to work together in real-time, present ideas and share information via video and chat. Solutions such as Microsoft Teams and OneDrive, are excelling under the sudden high demand for secure and productive remote work. Employees can access these suites to write, plan, collaborate, and ensure efficiency anywhere and from any device. You can also create private and secure channels for sensitive information where only individual team members can access it.

4. Secure Remote Access

Enhancements to remote access technologies have made corporate networks safer from threats that used to be introduced via personal devices. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) protects against unauthorized logins from unscrupulous actors. Network administrators can run “pre-checks” to make sure that personal equipment meets specific security requirements. They can also regulate screen timeouts, protect against malware, and bar access to unencrypted mobile devices.

5. Steaming Apps

Streaming apps are virtualized applications that run from the protected corporate data center rather than local ones. This technology gives remote workers access to only the applications they need to perform their job functions. Workers can access these applications through a multi-factor login without connecting to the entire corporate network via a VPN. This keeps shared network drives safe from cyber-criminal acts such as crypto locker attacks.

6. Limit surfaces that need to be touched

We can’t be the only ones who have noticed during COVID-19 how frequently we touch our faces or touch random surfaces. Companies of all sizes need to do what they can to limit the amount of surfaces employees need to touch to do their jobs. Voice recognition enables employees to multitask by speaking directly to their devices: “Siri, dial into my weekly check-in with my team.” Voice recognition technology can quickly turn your spoken word into written text, so you will not need to use a communal keyboard or phone. However, voice recognition may not be for everyone. Most programs and applications can connect to your mobile device via Bluetooth and WiFi. For instance, when you want to play music these days, you look at your phone, connect it to a speaker, choose the song you want to listen to, the volume you want it to play at, and what you would like to hear next all on your mobile device. The same can apply to your office. Phones and personal laptops can pair with your conference room TV, telephone, and speaker via WiFi.

We’re here to help you think about your post-COVID-19 IT solutions and how to update your conference and collaboration rooms to ensure your employees feel safe and can efficiently and productively work from home. If you have any questions or would like to be connected to BBH Solutions Please feel free to contact Bert Rosenblatt at brosenblatt@vicuspartners.com.

Continue reading: 

COVID-19: 7 Simple Office Updates To Help Employees Feel Safe

COVID-19: 6 Office Design Trends In Post-Covid-19 World

COVID-19: How to Clean And Disinfect Your Office Space