How to Offer IT Support to Your Remote Employees
A few months back, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, many companies had to start offering remote work to their employees.
At first, many people thought of it as a temporary transition from the usual work-from-office environment. However, with the coronavirus pandemic not likely to get over soon, most people will have to continue working from home.
So, you have to create a robust and secure remote work environment for your employees. After all, you don’t want to bring an entire project to a standstill because one of your employee’s computer has crashed or they don’t have a secure internet connection.
That’s why offering IT support to your remote employees should be one of your top priorities going forward. Fortunately, with a few simple steps, you can provide your remote employees with a highly productive, dynamic, and secure work environment.
Here are a few tips to help you offer better remote IT support.
1. Provision of Suitable Hardware and Software
One of the first things you need to do is provide your remote employees with suitable hardware and software. It includes providing office-devices, system software, and access to Web applications.
The security implications of allowing your employees to use their personal devices to access business-critical data and applications can be devastating. Most personal devices, particularly smartphones, often lack the necessary security measures that office devices have. As a result, your business data is at a higher risk of being stolen or corrupted.
These devices may also not have enough memory and system configuration to ensure more productivity. So, make sure to provide your employees with 100% office desktops and laptops. You can ask the employees within driving distance of your office to pick up their devices. You can arrange a courier or delivery for employees that aren’t within driving distance from your office.
2. Ensure Enhanced Network Security
The security of all your business-critical devices, data, and applications is extremely crucial when most of your employees are working remotely. Any employee working from a coffee shop or a public park and using public Wi-Fi is enough to cause a data breach.
Millions of records have been compromised or stolen in data breaches so far. In 2018, a security breach of sales intelligence company, Apollo resulted in the theft of 9 billion data points; the biggest data breach as of April 2020.
Without proper security measures, the sheer size of the remote work environment makes your organization more vulnerable to a potential security breach. You need to find a managed IT services company that can provide you with a robust network security solution for your remote work environment.
If not, you need to create multiple layers of digital security, including the latest firewall, antimalware, antivirus, and network monitoring applications. You can also find several AI-based network monitoring applications that can help you detect any anomalies in your data or network.
3. Consistent Tech Support
Despite your best precautions, you are going to encounter a problem or two when your employees start working remotely. From connectivity and communication issues to unexpected device malfunctions, you will have to face several different problems that will require your immediate attention.
For example, if a device crashes unexpectedly, you will need to replace it with a new one. If there is a connectivity issue, your IT support team will need to identify the cause and fix it as soon as possible.
Plenty of tools for remote software support are already available in the market. Tools like AnyDesk or ConnectWise Control can help you monitor and resolve software-related problems remotely.
For hardware-related issues, you will need to hire an IT support services provider that can make on-site repairs and replacements. However, it is possible to provide consistent tech support only when you have a well-planned remote IT support process. So first, you need to create a tech support plan and make sure every employee is aware of it.
4. Action Plan for Local IT Emergencies
With many remote management solutions available, you can resolve most IT emergencies remotely. However, sometimes, you may have to check the hardware or even software in-person.
That’s why you need to create an action plan to deal with local IT emergencies. When creating this action plan, make sure to train your remote employees to deal with the most common IT emergencies they are likely to face. You will also need to keep refreshing their training periodically to make sure their knowledge is updated.
You should also create an easy-to-understand reference guide. It will help your remote employees resolve most issues on their own. You won’t have to deploy on-site IT support services.
However, sometimes, you will need to send in the experts to resolve the issue. It is better to have dedicated in-house tech support or a managed IT services company to focus on on-site emergencies. Instead of having your employees take their computer to a local shop, sending your own IT experts can help you resolve the issue quickly and without the risk of losing your data.
When you appoint the IT support team, make sure they are experienced, professional, and have excellent communication skills. The last thing you want during an IT emergency is to deal with internal miscommunication, which brings us to the next point.
5. Constant and Effective Communication
Constant and effective communication is the backbone of a highly productive remote work environment. It helps you build trust between employees and managers and the various departments in your company. It also ensures regular feedback and recognition, which helps increase productivity.
To make sure your employees can stay in touch with each other constantly, you need to have different communication tools and systems at your disposal. For example, a chat communication tool such as Skype or Slack will help remote employees communicate in real-time.
On the other hand, a video conferencing tool like Zoom will help you organize client and internal team meetings over a video conferencing call. You should also invest in project management tools like Trello and Basecamp for document sharing, project management, and tracking your work progress.
You need to choose tools that everyone can access and use without having to invest a lot of time in training. It will help new employees get on board with your communications and collaboration structure quickly. If you are outsourcing your IT needs, your managed IT services provider can help you pick up the right tools based on your communication needs.
Whether you want a temporary or a permanent remote workplace, one of the first things you have to think about is remote IT support. You have to make sure all your employees get excellent IT support from the moment they start working remotely to ensure higher productivity and security. Hopefully, these five tips will help you take care of your IT essentials for remote employees. How do you plan to provide IT support to your remote employees? Tell us in the comments section.