2020 has been full of surprises. Many companies have sent their entire workforce to work from home. Entire organizations relying on a work-from-home setup is a significant shift in business operations. For some workers, there have been some benefits to working from home. No more long commute, the potential for an improved work-life balance, the ability to customize their workspace, and considerable savings on gas and auto maintenance are just a few examples of the ‘silver linings’ that may come with remote work. Some organizations have even decided that remote work, well, “works.”
For some organizations and industries, the benefits of a new ‘remote work’ world will change how they do business forever. These benefits, however, don’t come without challenges. Quickly shifting from traditional office settings into a remote work environment can create a host of challenges for both the organization and individual workers. Many of these challenges directly impact worker productivity and job satisfaction and an organization’s risk profile and profitability. Thankfully, the most common technology-related problems of unreliable Wi-Fi, slow internet, and VPN connectivity problems can be addressed quickly and affordably.
One challenge facing many workers in a post-pandemic world is poor internet connectivity. Our homes don’t have the same quality of internet infrastructure that a typical business has, making problems like weak or unreliable Wi-Fi signals or just generally slow internet connections more common in a remote environment.
Wireless internet is the backbone of any remote working operation. Without it, workers cannot access the software, data, and resources they need to perform their job.
When a business is looking to set up a traditional office setup, they will outfit the office with commercial-grade Wi-Fi equipment. This includes conducting a wireless survey to map out coverage and dead zones and then using this data to engineer the number and type of wireless access points that the office requires.
In contrast, in-home networks often rely on substandard consumer-grade products, like equipment provided by their ISP, and no one conducts a survey to determine where the Wi-Fi ‘dead’ spots may be. This can create a host of challenges if the Wi-Fi equipment isn’t well suited to managing the bandwidth needed for some remote working operations or if the new ‘home’ office happens to be in a Wi-Fi dead spot.
Now that home internet is being relied on to manage critical workloads, it may be time for a wireless survey and an upgrade in wireless infrastructure.
The massive shift to remote work and school has been felt by nearly every industry, but few are impacted as intensely as Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Major ISPs have built an infrastructure based on pre-pandemic demands. With workers and students all connecting to complete their work, there can be significant slowdowns in internet speeds across communities. The big challenge that workers and ISPs will face is based on the foundational ‘last mile’ infrastructure installed by ISPs. The New York Times described the problem well,
“cable broadband and fiber-based broadband services that pipe the internet into homes... tend to provide a very different internet service from what’s available in offices and schools, which typically have “enterprise grade” internet broadband service. In broad terms, many offices and schools essentially have the equivalent of a big pipe to carry internet traffic, compared with a garden hose for most homes.”
Slow internet can cause a host of productivity-killing problems. The solution may be as simple as upgrading your wireless plan, replacing the cable connecting your house to the ISP’s infrastructure, or changing providers away from an overburdened ISP provider.
A VPN can provide remote users with secure access to servers and network resources located behind an adequately protected office network. Many companies have been using VPN access for traveling employees or limited remote access. With the pandemic forcing many more users to access network resources regularly, there have been issues with VPN access being bogged down and becoming slow and unreliable.
Relying on VPN for everyday remote work across the entire organization can also lead to increased maintenance and setup costs to manage the VPN’s infrastructure. Bridgehead IT has cost-effective solutions that can give your team access to the resources and data they need without a VPN, which can substantially increase your remote worker performance and improve productivity. Some of these options include:
SharePoint and OneDrive allow your team to have access to the latest versions of critical documents. Both SharePoint and OneDrive are secure cloud-based document storage options that come as part of many Microsoft 365 licenses. Workers can access their documents from anywhere globally, from any internet-connected device, and review, edit, and collaborate with coworkers.
VDI allows users to access their virtual desktop from any internet-connected location or device. VDI also allows for flexibility in provisioning resources to your team. Since VDI processing occurs on the server, the hardware requirements for each user are much lower. This can not only help your organization save money, but it also makes it easier to deploy and update the desktops. You can even set up an environment that allows remote workers to use their own devices to access the company controlled VDI environment.
Bridgehead IT has experience helping organizations of all sizes adapt to the new world of remote work. We can help your organization keep its critical data like customer lists, company financials, and HR data secure while giving your team remote access to the resources, documents, and software they need to be productive. Call us today at 210-477-7900 to learn more.